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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

Yes, the Hobart Buffalo chopper bowl turns at 22 rpm and the blade spins at 1725 rpm the motor is 1/2 hp. (they make bigger ones (1 hp.), I've seen them, they take up the space of a washing machine.)
Width of the machine is 31 7/8 inches, The bowl shown will hold 5 lbs. of meat. (level with the rim of the bowl) The thing will chop fine enough to make hotdogs or bologna, and it only takes about 2 minutes from whole chunks to super fine.
It made fine chopped (under 1/8 inch) compost in less than a minute out of twigs, green leaves, half dehydrated sheep manure, fully dehydrated cow manure and wilted comfrey leaves (10 lbs. total weight, and it all fit in the bowl at the end of the one minute run).

(I was kicked out of the kitchen (won't say where) for life, for using one of these to process some raw composting materials (listed above), got caught by the chef and he watched me clean it to his satisfaction)
It was worth it, I found the buffalo chopper to be an ideal machine for the purpose I used it for, even though the chef was not impressed. (It took me over an hour to satisfy his standard of cleanliness)
I was informed that it was a 10,000 dollar US machine (turned out to have been brand new, so my bad)
Interestingly enough I ended up growing most of his vegetables for that year (for free) so I would be allowed to enter his establishment.
3 hours ago
Good call Ben, I would check the soil for worm activity and probably look for hyphae in the soil.
Those are pretty good indicators of soil health.
If the hyphae are there, then odds are the fungi will handle the allopathic compounds.

Redhawk
4 hours ago
Sadly it is the bark of the Mulberry that is not fire resistant, it simply isn't thick enough to protect the cambium layer from cooking. (that is what normally kills trees in fires that don't go to crown fires)

That said, you can grow mulberry in southern California, just make sure there is adequate space all the way around the tree that is short vegetation. and that is not anywhere near the inside border of the space that is fire break.
7 hours ago
I was going to use that example Burra, but then I used balls to take the place of the glutes.
7 hours ago
The usual method is to create a keyhole garden space with the compost stack in the center of the raised keyhole bed (the keyhole gives you easy access to the stack).
In this type of raised bed you can indeed use hugel method under your soil seed bed, the compost stack continues to receive inputs and the plants derive many nutrients from the composting in place system.
To make this setup even better, inoculate your seeds/ plant roots with mycorrhizae and use some compost in the soil makeup as you are filling over the decomposing wood in the keyhole bed.
For the soil you can also add wood chips, dry or green leaves, straw to give organic material for the start up and through the years.

This system works so well that several of the TV hosts of gardening shows have featured it at one time or another.

Redhawk
7 hours ago
I would recommend against Black locust, it will do exactly the same as the eucalyptus is doing there. Once it gets established, it will be very difficult to eradicate.

Instead of going for n fixing trees you might want to look into other plant types for n fixing simply so you have the base for what ever type of food plants you decide to install.

For the soil, may I humbly recommend reading my soil threads, they should be of help. The soil threads

Since others have given really good advice, I'll hold my own to this for now.

Redhawk
8 hours ago
In a space that size you might want to consider treating the tree to espalier (pruning the branches so the tree hugs the fence line and is flat against the fence line.

Your nurseryman should be able to help you select a good variety for your space and location on planet earth..
A dwarf or semi-dwarf will probably be a best choice, the nursery will have these on the correct root stock for your location.
Many of the dwarf/ semi-dwarf nectarines are self pollenating but again your nurseryman should know and be ready to help you with selecting the perfect fit.
8 hours ago
Unless you manage to find exactly what you are looking for (plastic form mold) you will indeed have to make your own.

You can use a large block of wood and make the plug by carving the shapes you desire in that then use a vacuum bag or table to create your plastic mold (you have to heat the plastic first) since it sounds to me like you just have to have a plastic mold as opposed to a fiberglass or rubber one.

Keep in mind that the theory is still under investigation and not fully proofed at this point in time.
They do make pretty water features though.

For the simplest form get two hard balls (rubber or what have you) and place them touching and press into a wet sand bed, when you remove them you will have a reverse of a nice flow form that you can fill with plaster to get the plug for mold making.
9 hours ago
hau Denise, what a question you pose, there are perhaps as many answers as people that will respond.

I will break this down so that it is easier for me to make suggestions that would be viable to this situation.

Restoration of the great prairie lands, for this it would be feasible as long as you have plenty of land to work with or you have connecting neighbors that also want to create a broad area of restored prairie.
Now to do this right, you would also need a herd of Bison since these are the animals that helped keep the prairie in good shape for thousands of years.
There was a great diversity of grass plant species on the great prairie, so you would need buffalo grass, sweet grass, sages, plantain and a host of other plants (the great prairie was where many medicinal plants grew along with the grasses).

Planting trees,  While there was the odd tree scattered about, they tended to be very spotty and in clumps of same species, these were far between each other (miles between clumps of trees).
The species were oaks, pines and cedars(juniper until you got near the now Canadian border where true cedars could be found along the western border of the prairie.

Fire was (and is) the main disturbance factor, today humans strive to put out the rejuvenating fires as quickly as possible, thus depleting the soil of nutrients that used to be recycled because of the fires.

Since it was cattle farming that changed the plant kingdom of the prairie and that created the disappearance of animals habitats, the animals left to find spots where they could live.
Wolves were abundant according to prey availability, cattle are convenient prey since they are fenced in so naturally the rancher's decided that the wolf was the enemy and proceeded to kill all of the wolves they could.
This means the animal diversity is also gone and to do a proper restoration of prairie, you have to be able to bring back the whole system, not just parts of it. Bones of prey are an important part of an ecosystem, they give calcium and other minerals back to the soil.

Since we are human beings (as opposed to beans (like the ranchers are for the most part)) we want to bring back what nature had selected as the ideal ecosystem for this area.
The question is "if we don't have hundreds of thousands of acres to do this on, can we still manage to do a restoration.
We can do Restoration of prairie lands but we will never be able to restore the great prairie, that would be impossible without full cooperation of all the people living in the great prairie.

Now to doing this sort of thing on an individual basis.

If you have enough land to support your family with food and there is acreage left over, then you are in the position of being able to do both, feed your family and restore a bit of the prairie for animal habitat.
The more left over land you have, the bigger your restoration of prairie and that means there will be more animal diversity habitat available for them.
Since we have to be able to live at least mostly like we want to live, we need to take our own needs and put these at the top of our list so we don't become discouraged later on and undo that restoration we did in the beginning.

For a homestead to also be a restoration project area usually requires a minimum of 10 acres if you are not going to raise animals larger than geese (goats, hogs, sheep, cattle, all will need a minimum of 10 acres for best pasturing practices).

Personal observations.
I have worked with only a few farms that did meaningful restoration projects that lasted, these were farms of 10,000 acres and up to 1 million + acres of total land area.
On each of these farms a 5% portion of the farm total land area was set aside for the restoration project and these projects are still in place. (this is probably because they get an "allowance" from the USDA for keeping the restoration in place)
On the few farms that were smaller than 10,000 acres, none still have their restoration area in place, all have been either sold off to developers or the area was reincorporated into working fields.

Conclusion.

Doing a restoration project on a homestead is possible but only with completion of a total, overall plan on paper for determination of viability so that the restoration work isn't undone in later years for need of that land for food production/ living spaces.

Redhawk
10 hours ago
Nicole do you have any apple orchards (commercial type) that are near by? You might be able to check with one or two of those to see if they had any problems this year.

I'm fortunate enough to have several commercial "you pick it" orchards close enough (around 25 miles) that if I have an issue with any of our varied fruit trees I can usually go ask a grower about how their trees are doing.
This sort of information can either help you out or unsettle you (like the peach orchardist who has severe leaf curl problems) some times you can be their salvation by offering something to try that they probably haven't thought of or didn't know.
The peach orchardist I mentioned is now using compost tea to spray his trees with and the microbes have almost totally gotten rid of his leaf curl issues.
Since I had approached him about what he did to get such lovely trees established, and I noticed his curl problem, which lead me to ask if he had ever heard of compost teas and he had not.
That allowed me to tell him about what they are, how to make them and use them, at that point he asked me where I heard about this, when I told him my background I got the chance to work with him for a while to help his soil get better.

Funny how some things can work out, I was there to pick some peaches on the recommendation by a friend, and ended up with a client for a year. 
11 hours ago