Bryant RedHawk

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since May 15, 2014
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Bryant RedHawk currently moderates these forums:
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

Hau Michael, I use ammonia because it activates the bacteria that convert it into nitrogen forms that plants require. As for your soils defects mineral wise I would recommend trying to find some sea90, this produce contains over 90 minerals and can be applied around your plants. Most soils only contain 70 to 74 minerals. Sea90 is air evaporated seawater from the sea of Cortez, one of the most mineral rich waters on the planet. When applied at 1/2 cup per sq.ft. it will not salinify soils.

3 weeks ago

Tim B Smith wrote:I am working on a class project following nitrogen fixation and this thread has had more useful information than anything I have found to date. Thank you all for your input in the past. Hopefully this is still accessible to you all.

We are testing hypotheses, so we don't need to be right but we need to make good, testable guesses about how nitrogen and nitrogen fixers might be moving around in plants. The underlying goal is to transfer the maximum amount of nitrogen possible into our tree targets.

I have past student projects that found "pools" of fixed nitrogen (N15 depleted) around sweet clover and lupine. Currently we have a cover crop of hairy vetch and winter rye. We are still working toward the experimental design, but we want to test various ways to transfer rhizobium (and nitrogen) in a garden plot.

It's mid March and the vetch has nodules but is not activated. I have found patches of activated vetch on the school grounds. I have permission to move the soils and the vetch for experiments.

I think we are going to plant small (very small) trees in the plot so we can follow them for a year or two (the point right now is to understand nitrogen fixation, not to grow a crop). I think we have time to put down inoculated vetch. We can also move soil from the area where we have activated vetch. I can also move the wild, activated vetch.

The kicker is that we can trace the movement of N by measuring the level of depletion in N15 in plant tissues. For a couple of hundred dollars we can map the whole process with replicated experiments. We have a small budget so that is possible.

Since they are long lived we can follow the trees for over a year. New growth will contain recent sources of nitrogen.

So...where are we likely to mess this up? What hypotheses would you absolutely test? Where are you curious and what would you warn us away from?

Hau Tim, what hypothesis are you currently investigating? I didn't see one listed, or did my aged eyes just not recognize it.

I've been using ammonia as a kick starter for N fixation (35 ml to 2 L H2O dilution) on some green bean plants and the nodules reacted well. Note: I always inoculate seeds with mycorrhizae prior to planting.  Currently I'm working on the interaction of tree root interaction with N fixing nodules via mycorrhizae interaction. My test plot incorporates new trees inoculated with the mycorrhizae and non inoculated bush bean plants located 1 m from the outer edge of the new trees root ball. My goal is to measure the amount of time it takes the tree mycorrhizae to reach the bean root system.  

The biggest problem (for my test) might be any mycorrhizae being present before the experiment. I created a sterile zone to prevent pre test contamination. Let me know how I can be of help.
3 weeks ago
Hau Dennis, I have started using wheat and barley for winter fodder for the deer and quail that share the land. Those are easy to no till, grow to around 6 - 8 inches and stay that height all winter in spring you can crimp or wait and harvest grains.

In my deer area I rotate through Wheat and barley then soybeans 7top, rape, crimson clover, yellow clover. I usually mix seed passes and over seed.

Hope that helps

7 months ago
Good point, all that saragasso should be gathered and composted with all the other compostable materials. That way the resulting compost will have as much of the building blocks of life as possible with the added benefit of clean beaches for tourists.

7 months ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:So far I'm not impressed with these Superworms.  I had a big die off (low temperatures?) and the bin became infested with small flies.  I had to move it outside, so it may soon become colonized by Black Soldier Flies.
Seems like after a decent start the Superworms have stopped eating the styrofoam and are now mostly eating their fallen comrades.  I've added some Red Wigglers to the bin to see if they can clean it up some.

Still have not found a lab to test for styrene residue.

Low temperatures will indeed create a die off of super worms(they aren't as hardy as regular meal worms. For super worms the temp needs to be at least 75f  80f is pretty ideal.
Sorry you had such a die off Tyler.

7 months ago

Anne Pratt wrote:So lovely to come back to read this thread again, having checked in before, and before that 4 years ago!  I'm on a new property this year and have two large deliveries slowly being spread where needed.  In the coop, on prospective gardens, surrounding the raised beds, and in two winecap-specific areas in the shade.  The limiting factor is my physical ability:  I just turned 70, and have a limited number of wheelbarrow loads each day, not to mention the mowing and gardening.  (The housework is a distant third, very distant!). I do realize that when I get the gardens up to size, I will have much less lawn to mow, which is all to the good.

I have trouble with clay soil in a low-lying front yard.  There is a shallow pond on the lawn much of the winter, and it flooded again in spring, and again recently.  I need to pile those chips high.  Trying to find plants that will be happy with occasional standing water, and will live through a drought (most of June) is quite a challenge.  

Bryant, thanks for your patience in answering SO many questions!  Your advice is always valuable, and is a major reason why I have just read this entire thread again.

Hau Anne, I would fill those depressions with chips then pour on some mushroom slurries, that will jump start the chips turning into soil. Fill the depressions anytime the chips seem low. (I have 3 tree root ball holes I'm doing this to, they started out 4 ft. deep and are now only about a foot below the grade. It's taken 3 years to fill in 3 ft. of those pits.

8 months ago

Wally Jasper wrote:Good to know that. Will save the mycogrow for more plantings. As for mushroom slurry, there are no wild mushrooms around right now. We've had a "nonsoon" summer instead of our expected summer monsoons. So I'll have to buy the mushrooms. And the challenge will be to keep myself from eating them instead of blending them up and throwing them on the ground. I assure you that will be a very big challenge.

My grocer saves the packages that go bad for me. I pick these up on a weekly basis where I am, no one else even asks him about the mushrooms. There are 3 hog farmers that pick up ruined fruits and veggies. You might ask your grocer about spoiled mushrooms.

8 months ago

Wally Jasper wrote:Thanks Redhawk. Will do. I only now saw that I replied to your reply to Douglas and saw the message about mushroom slurry. A couple of years ago I bought some Mycogrow from Paul Stametz. Would that serve the same function as the slurry? I used to when I was planting my fruit trees, pouring it around their roots. Still have some left.

Mycogrow will be a fair addition, it's best used on growing trees, veggies and grass though. Mychorrhizae are fungi that help growing roots take up the nutrients they need to supply to the plant leaves.

8 months ago
Let me know how your experiments with chip layering go, I like your methodology, I just don't have any pine straw to duplicate your experiments with.

8 months ago

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Wally, there are no simple answers to this. Where are you located? What is your rainfall? How long is your frost free season?

I only mention this because in my dry, cold climate it takes 3+ years for green chips to start to break down on their own. I have grown impatient, and am taking aggressive measures to incorporate them into various other malodourous mixes, with a long soak and then application into growing zones.

But if you can get by without this labourious process, you're fortunate!

(Edited for spelling.)

Mushroom slurries are your friend when it comes to breaking down cellulose quickly.

8 months ago