Bryant RedHawk

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since May 15, 2014
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Part Nakota, part Irish. The Nakota took over long ago but still lives in two worlds, the European world and the first people's world. He lives on a small (15 + acres) piece of mother earth deep in the woods. Was trained in the cooper's arts as a child, since the family owned a cooperage. He has been a carpenter, and timber wright but love all aspects of farming.He holds a BS in Chemistry and Biology and a MS in Horticulture. Worked for the USDA for 16 years. Then PHD in Microbiology defended. Redhawk and his wife Wolf are setting up to be fully self sustaining, growing all their own foods and collecting rain water. "Soon we will be self sustaining and closer to being off the grid" he said when asked about future plans. They continue their own research both in Agriculture and soils with the hope to make the world more like it used to be, before mankind began screwing up the Earth Mother. This is the only way humankind will survive, we must fix what we have broken.
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Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Recent posts by Bryant RedHawk

Richard Nurac wrote: I use the wood chips as a weed barrier but first place cardboard or newspapers down to block the sunlight and, incidentally, to prevent the woodchips mixing with the soil and draining nitrogen.

Paper, is made of wood pulp, so it draws the nanoscopic amount of nitrogen that wood chips will. I wrote about the nitrogen miss information, surface losses of nitrogen when wood touches the soil is not enough to be concerned about when compared to the benefits they add.

2 weeks ago

Casey Halone wrote:I had mentioned the concept of mulching with wood chips to a group of folks planing on this years community garden, and the point was brought up that wood chips would be a potental egg laying area and place for problem bugs to hide and plastic sheet mulch was a better alternative.

I do not like the idea of plastics in my garden anywhere aside from hoses.

Could you help me come up with the pros and cons of each as well as any experience you might have with either method?

Plastic sheets shed microplastic particles, not good for the environment. Then there's the solarization that killed the soil microcosm which helps plants stay healthy and thriving. Then there's the ultra violet degradation that speeds up the introduction of micro plastics. All of the above are great reasons to not use plastic for anything in gardening.

Wood chip mulch covers the soil to keep the microbiome healthy from a lack of uv light, providing nutrients, attracting earthworms, creates humic acids and humus which enrich the soil as well as making the soil structure most desired in garden beds. Wood chips do not attract insects, food for insects draw them in. Woodchips can be added to with no worry about bad effects.  (Conifer chips, if the bark is present, can create allopathic conditions causing seeds to not germinate.)

I hope those help. The others have given great information too.

2 weeks ago
Mushroom slurries can be used anywhere you want to improve the soil and soil structure.

1 month ago

Mary Gallos wrote:Too many worm

Does anyone know how I could catch the compost worms (for release in the back "yard" while leaving the earthworms there?  And should I?

hau Mary, yes you can catch the compost worms. It requires a plastic box or small bin with some 0.25 inch holes in the bottom. This container also needs a lid.  Inside you ,need to have torn up paper and some vegetable and fruit scraps. Place the container on the soil, the worms will smell the food and move into the container. Just check it every few days until there are enough worms then move them where you want them to live.

2 months ago
Might I suggest you offer to help those mad gardeners learn good gardening soil building. Sharing knowledge is a good way to not only defuse tense situations but spread the knowledge.

2 months ago

Skip Smith wrote:Hi Redhawk.
My garden is recently cleared oak forest with stumps intact.  There is sc orange  clay soil that drains well. Last year the potatos grew to half an inch instead of full sized.  It has earthworms and snails ladybugs stink bugs and big black ants.  It's all on a 1:6 n facing slope.  
I need to grow food fast.  I broke up the mat of roots and decayed leaves on the surface and mixed it with the orange clay soil beneath and added lime and some wood ash.  It needs more nitrogen.  I bought some ca nitrate.  Can I put a very small amount in to get things jumpstarted without hurting the worms and good bacteria too much?  Nothing wants to grow but I have grown about 5 huge daikon after scattering hundred of seeds.  My radishes and  turnips only grew to one inch but my dads are three in high.  Similar weather.  Temperature max 65 F and min 35.  
Also I want to make use of all the leaves and urine but don't want to smell it at all.  How can I make a completely inoffensive smellin leaf compost pile that has lots of microbes?  I got molasses hoRse salt lick and can  chop the leaves with a weedwaker. Thanks


At this point I would spread that leaf heap over the soil as Hans suggested. Then I would start building wood chips on top of that to a thickness of 3 to 6 inches. Then I would make mushroom sluries and pour those over the wood chips. When you are ready to plant again, just plant inches wood chips, the roots will go down into the soil through the chips and composting leaf mulch.

5 months ago

ian labo wrote:Hello Dr Redhawk. Do you  think your super soil can equal the amount of harvest in a chemically fertilize farm. And how about  the amount of work invested. I have concerns over the prohibitive price  of chemical fertelizer in the near future due to many things but primarily due to the cost of petrol.



When your soil is in a state of good quantities of bioactivity the yield will be equal to or surpass the "modern fertilized farm". There will also be higher nutritional values in the bioactive farm product.  Chemicals tend to remain in the soil or wash away to contaminate the hydrological area. That's why many ground water and channels and streams/rivers are contaminated by field run off. The artificial nutrients, by lack of proper soil biology, simply can't be used by the plants.

5 months ago
What species of conifer? And were any of the chips from walnut or eucalyptus species. Try some turned milk poured on the chip pile. It sounds like the decomposition isn't very far along. Mushrooms won't appear until the whole chip pile is occupied by the spawn.
6 months ago
hau Jen,  the way I have handled gum balls is turn to cha r the ones you can separate easily. The rest needs to be heaped in a cone shape. Once again we want to get the heap hot enough (160)) to kill the germ of those gum seeds. It might take 2 turns and repeats to get the majority of the gum seeds. Hope that helps.

7 months ago