Bryant RedHawk

garden master
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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. Currently working on his PHD in Microbiology, the thesis is plant communication through the micro-biosphere network. 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.
Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Recent posts by Bryant RedHawk

Tj Jefferson wrote:Josh,

No where near Fairfax, I'm in central VA about an hour out of Richmond. If you have contact info I would be interested. I am willing to wait a year on the stumps if it saves me that kind of money. I have a huge pile of rotting wood chips with lots of mycotic activity I can make a slurry from. I am even thinking about just making a pile of chips over each stump.

Bryant, would that be as effective? This has rotted for a season and there are fruiting bodies all over the place. It would sure be easier, I have no generator and I am trying to limit acquisition of "stuff". I have a tree service giving me a quote for the section with the power lines and hangers. That is beyond my comfort zone.

That will work Tj, if you can make a few axe cuts at the stump rim the mycelium will be able to really get a good foot hold and invade very quickly.  ( you can do a burn and dowse of some of those trunks and branches so you get some charcoal for the soil too! )
1 day ago
Capsaicin in a spray bottle will do the trick for most damaging insects. You want to use a blender to make this spray and you need Habanero thru ghost peppers to get a best result.

Twenty or more habanero, serrano or ghost peppers in a blender with water to fill, blend to puree then filter through a paper coffee filter into spray bottle, spray plants and their surrounding soil. (you can dilute it more, to one gallon with water)

Here is a recipe from the SF web site.

Put 1/2-pound fresh habanero or Scotch bonnet hot peppers in the blender. (ghost peppers work super too)

Add 2 cups of water. Liquefy the peppers. (I use puree for two minutes)

Pour the mixture into a bucket. Use a long-handled spoon to stir in 1/2-gallon of water. (use a metal spoon, wood will soak up capsaicin and never let it go)
Cover the bucket tightly with aluminum foil and allow the solution to steep overnight.
Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or coffee filters into a 1-gallon container.
Add 1 teaspoon of non-degreasing liquid dishwashing soap and enough water to fill the container (milk jug works great). ( I like Palmolive dish soap for this part)
Cap it tightly and upend it several times to gently combine all the ingredients without creating suds.
The soap serves as a surfactant and increases the solution’s ability to adhere to the plant.

Funnel the pepper repellent into a plastic spray bottle.

Spray your plants generously with the solution to coat all surfaces thoroughly.
Apply it on a calm day during the morning or at dusk when the temperature isn’t expected to exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
This will prevent the leaves from sustaining sunburn.
Homemade pepper repellent will kill any insects that you happen to spray it on directly, and will effectively repel newcomers even after it dries.

Repeat the application once weekly throughout the growing season.
Reapply it after rainfall in between weekly treatments.

As mentioned above (can't really stress this part enough)
You want to use this either early in the morning or about an hour before dusk (wet leaves in the south will mold if not dry before sundown) so you don't blister your plants leaves by sunburn.
1 day ago
I would suspect that this one tree is root bound and thus feeling established and so is producing fruit, it also sounds like you need to thin the fruit to save the tree from overload, which will split the branches.

Fruit trees usually take two to three years from the date of planting to start producing fruit.
This is because they first settle in by sending out roots to gather the nutrients needed to produce fruit.
If a tree's roots circle around the original root ball, the tree will think it has established its new root system and this results in fruit set.
The problem can be high winds, for a tree that doesn't have a wide spread root system can be blown down far easier than one that has the wide spread base of roots.

I would 1. reduce the numbers of fruits per branch to a number that each branch can support well. 2. this winter, after the tree has gone dormant, dig it up to check the root ball and see the roots are circling. (I had this happen to a plum tree a couple of years ago and once I fixed the problem it has taken off)
1 day ago

Tim Kivi wrote:Some permies say "there's no such thing as a weed". My gardening books all day that weeds rob the soil of nutrients meaning other plants can't access them.

What's the deal?

I've been putting on a mulch of pie seaweed on my garden bed. I top it with large dried whole maple leaves. Weeds and vegetables are all thriving. I have no problem with the weeds, unless my veggies could do better without the competition.

Now and then I simply pull a weed/grass out while picking my veggies, rip off the root from the leaves and drop it back on the ground as a mulch. Am I doing the right thing?

Now that I have a little time, I would like to address Tim's original question(s).

First let us look at the statement "there's no such thing as a weed" while true because all plants have their place in the workings of nature (which is to make soil rich enough to support life forms like microorganisms, worms, plants and all the other forms of life found on terra firma),
This precludes the term weed.  Humans call plants growing where they are not wanted "weeds" even a rose could be considered a weed if it is not in a place we want it to grow. 
All plants take nutrients from the soil, this is how they make their living and what allows them to grow, water is considered a nutrient.
So yes, "weeds" will take nutrients from the soil and since the plant fits the description of a weed when it grows where we want something else to grow, it could be considered a "robber" of nutrients.
Gardening books, for the most part, subscribe to the "modern agriculture" model, promoting localized monocrop growing (flower beds, etc. are usually designed to grow groupings of specific plants).
In gardening, most people forget that growing a single species of say Nasturtium in a garden bed, is indeed mono crop growing, even if it is so localized as to be a 2 foot square piece of a garden bed.

In nature what we call weeds are really primary or secondary succession plants, they have the job of putting roots into the ground, activating bacteria through their exudates which causes release of enzymes that dissolve minerals from rocks (dirt is ground up rocks).
So, when growing where we want them to grow, they are the good guys, if they are growing where we want something else, that isn't able to out compete the "weed" then they are a nuisance plant and are typically removed, taking with them the nutrients they have incorporated into their bodies.
If we just toss them to the garbage, we have lost those nutrients. If we do something else with them ending up back on or in the soil, then we have recovered those nutrients, thus saving the need to make an amendment to put back what we threw away.

Every one who has contributed to this thread already has brought this up in an excellent set of ways to put back the weed goodies. Bravo!

It is always the right thing when you use what you removed (plant material wise specifically) to make something you put back to the soil from which it was removed (recycling or closing the hoop of life), this works regardless of whether we keep some of it for our own food supply or use the whole plant as the new mulch, tea, or compost.  Nature wastes nothing, neither should we. One way or another we should always be trying to close the hoop when it comes to our soil, the more we succeed the better our soil becomes and the more life it will support for us.

1 day ago

Tim Kivi wrote:Seaweed mulch I collected from the beach. Although it's rinsed I still fear it'll add too much salt to the soil, but hopefully not.

Homemade IMO made from rice under the mulch.

Mushroom slurry using mushrooms growing in my local park. The land's contaminated though so I don't know if that would affect the mushrooms and then my soil negatively. I could delay it until I find another source.

Leaving all weed and plant roots undisturbed but chop n' drop the tops.

Occasional use of worm tea, manure tea, and horse manure.


I don't want to harm the soil and plants/trees from too much kindness (like when I over-manures my soil last year, resulting in no cucumbers, zucchinis etc.) But I also want to give the best they can have.

Rinsed Seaweed will not add salinity to the soil, Sea water can be used on farming soils at a rate of 1 gallon per sq. ft. with no ill effects, so use that seaweed.
You can use IMO but unless you already have some decent microorganisms growing in your soil these will end up being the only ones present.
If you only have access to already contaminate fungi, use only the gills (scrape them out with a spoon) to make your slurries, this will prevent you adding contaminants to your soil through the use of whole, contaminated fungi fruits.
Chop and drop plants are great.
Horse or other manures must be composted before you incorporate it into soil in any manner. The option would be if this is fallow (un used at the time) land, then it could be allowed to rot in place, but this is going to take a full year to become ready for planting.

If you haven't already found them, I have given lots of information here The soil threads
1 day ago
Figs are not tap root trees so cutting produced trees will do fine.
I'm not really sure what you mean by "strong root system", all trees have roots that will find the cracks in rocks and use them.
As the root grows it will exert pressure on the crack in the rock and eventually the root wins and the rock cracks.
This is true of all tree root systems.
The deepest roots found are over 400 feet long (deep) they grew through rock and their tips are now at the floor of a cave.

The strangler fig is the tree you see in photos growing over ancient buildings and ripping them apart.
1 day ago
It should do fine in areas like Spain, Portugal, Southern France even, just not in the Alpine region. The upper range would be the N50 degree latitude, the lower end would be N30 degree latitude.
Good observations Susan, Down spouts are going to locally isolate anything that comes down from the gutters.
Acidic rains will leach the tars from asphalt shingles and that is going to stay near the exit of the downspout pipe, it sticks to the soil particles and that seals out air.
If roots can't breathe they start dying and if you add to that the poisonous effects of the components of tars then you have a soil disaster for any organisms in that area.
1 day ago
Method A, for readily rooting weed use, make a green weed tea maker, it is almost the same as a compost tea set up, gives back most of the nutrients asap and leaves compostable, non re rooting stems and roots.
Bag the weeds for easy removal, brew for one week (this drowns the roots). The safe side would then lay the brewed weeds on some sort of screen in the sun to dry completely before adding to compost or using as mulch.

Method B, sun dry root systems of readily rooting weeds for one week before using as; a, mulch, b, compost material, c, worm food.

Method C, feed to hogs, they love most any weed and will process them for you.

(just some ideas)

1 day ago

Anthony Saber wrote:Hi All,

I would like to learn how to identify the microbial life in the soil/compost/compost tea.
My understanding is, you have to try and get the right mix of microrganisms to get the correct results.
Example – make more fungal compost/compost tea and see what type of compost tea is being produced etc.

I know I will need a microscope to analysis soil/compost/compost tea but needs the steps and how to identify the different microrganisms.

I know of Elaine Ingham’s courses but they are too pricey for me.
Where else can I find the information to help me on my journey of discovery?

Thanks in advance

First thing to do is gather some text books on microbiology, these are easiest found at your local public library, far cheaper than building your own library, unless you are taking the college courses, this is the best way to have access to a wide variety of knowledge with micro-photos of the organisms.
Some where on the site, in my soil threads, I've listed some not so expensive microscopes and some of the equipment that goes along with one to be able to use it well.

Perhaps one of the best resources you have is right here, just ask and I will be happy to guide you along the journey.

2 days ago