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Antonio Scotti

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since Sep 14, 2015
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Recent posts by Antonio Scotti

I remember about Darren Doherty, having interplanted 2 tagasaste trees (heavily pruned) between every 2 productive trees (in a project he was managing a few years ago) and eventually realized that they were too close and some competition ensued between the fruit trees and the NFTs..
So I guess it depends on the shrubs/trees in use if this pattern is eventually viable (I mean the one with 2 NF shrubs in between)

2 weeks ago

For the folk who do 25% N at maturity aka NAPX

What is the rationale for NAPX? that is, using the original pattern from S. Sobkowiak, unless NF shrubs are used in between fruit trees, it seems to me that some of the NFTs will remain far away from some of the trees to have a noticeable influence, especially after the shrubs are culled.
Do you know real life examples of this arrangement?
What do you think S. Bengi?
2 weeks ago
I've seen the NAP planting pattern used in The Permaculture Orchard, where Stefan Sobkowiak combines a Nitrogen fixer an apple and a pear/plum tree in the same line and staggered in each line
I wonder if this type of planting pattern can be used to include other types of fruit trees such peaches, nectarines, cherries, loquat, figs, mulberry etc.
Also I see that he uses 2 fruit trees following each Nitrogen Fixing Tree (NFT) instead of 1 NFT after each fruit tree (to maximize Nitrogen fixation as well). I guess that since he has a commercial orchard he prefers to maximize the number of productive species. Still I think if a NFT is replaced by a NF shrub I could probably interplant one right after each productive tree without loosing valuable space. The only caveat here could probably be that NFT would last longer than shrubs, and these latter might be overgrown by the fruit trees at some point.

2 weeks ago
I am designing a chicken coop and came across the info that humidity can condense under the roof top at night in winter and a way to avoid this condensation to occur is to attach a condensation barrier just under the roof.
The type of materials that I have seen used lately are of this type: does anybody know of any alternative, more sustainable, materials that can be used instead?
3 weeks ago
Hi all
I have an update on the original post. We are into doing the loosening of the terrace ground.

I eventually proceeded with using the backhoe. I tried to hammer a piece of rebar into this soil just to check how deep down I could drive it to, and realized that it wouldn't go any deeper than 10 cm (3+ inches?) Even the backhoe is having quite a hard time loosening at a higher depth sometimes. We have found very compacted (almost rock hard but easily breackble with the machine) clay blocks in spots, not everywhere thankfully.

We have bought 160 m3 of mature compost with 55% of organic matter, which would account for some a 15 cm high layer of compost on top of the terrace ground.
In order for the operation to be more cost effective, the machine operator suggested that he excavates the first 30 cm of soil first (there was no soil as such anyway) and mix it with the equivalent quantity of compost so 2 buckets of soil mixed with 1 bucket of compost in the top part in a place where it would be easy to do so. Plus we are adding some biochar, not very much to be honest (only 4 m3) also only into this higher layer.
Then he would loosen deeper down (he reached 1.4 meters deep is some spots), rearrange this subsoil and then cover this with the mix of top soil (or rather top dirt) and compost + biochar.

One of the things that I forgot to take into account was that by loosening and digging...the ground level would swell quite a bit....but that was inevitable I guess. The machine operator said that it might take 1 to 2 years before settling down again. But I guess the original grade would be lost..and it had been already lost after all the compaction that it has endured (as explained in a previous post) in the last couple of years.

Fortunately enough it isn't raining during this operation only quite strong winds at times.

Next stage after the loosening is over is sowing cover crops and green manures, also planning to protect the border of the site with vetiver grass, and add some of the pioneer native legume shrubs I had already planned to interplant with the fruit trees (in the future).

3 weeks ago
Thanks Mark!
I am planning to use many type of grasses at once, some of them are NFs, others have strong tap roots like mustard and sanfoin (which is also a NF), others are grasses that can also work as chicken food. What I'm wondering is if I mix all the seeds together and spread the seeds by hand (or by some other means), could it be possible that some of the grasses will actually suppress some others (among the same ones that I have sawed)?
How can I avoid this? I guess it may have to do with the seeding density....any thoughts on this?
1 month ago
Dear Bryant,
thanks so much for sharing this method, I know about starting veggies in strawbales already, from my previous permaculture training but have never actually tried it myself and I think it is a great way to both grow veggies and create topsoil.
If I manage to get my hands on organic strawbales I'll definitely give it a go
Kind regards
1 month ago
Hi Bryant,
well what can I say, yes of course I'd love to see a specific plan done by you. Of course I can show these folks your soil series, although that might be a bit beyond their capacity I reckon, but I can select specific parts related to their case.
What would you need from me?
As mentioned in my initial post, I have 1,5/2-year horizon to minimally condition that soil. Given that spring is already at the door here, I reckon that if nothing fails, we should be able to start planting in fall/winter 2021
1 month ago
Hi Bryant,
again thanks for sharing your experience with me (all actually).
I may have given the impression that these folks I am collaborating with may want a result in no time at all, and indeed they would if that was possible.
I think what they would prefer is not to wait 5 more years before planting anything edible, and of course it is taking some effort on my side to explain why sometimes this can be the case, and little by little I am educating them on this. So all your suggestions are applicable somehow.
I would rather use a subsoiler instead than a backhoe, but the soil there is really hard and I fear it may not be able to penetrate very much.

Anyway now I am much more aware of the possibilities thanks to this exchange. Hope I can figure out the best course of action.

1 month ago
Dear Bryant,

Most of the people I have helped in the past, didn't understand that what I was guiding them to do was for the long term instead of the short term. It is easy to want everything Right Now! But the really successful gardener or farmer is planning 10 years ahead or more (if they are smart about their soil).  

I totally subscribe this point, and I would actually wait for as much as necessary, but the people who asked for my help want to try anyway..and I might tell them to find some other advisor if they are not willing to wait for securing long term result, but...yeah decided to help them anyway and to this end I'm trying to hold them back as much as I can, so that some more wise decisions a least can be made.

So from your explanation about the gypsum: should I gather that it is not very important if the Ca content is high because when plants will be growing there, the microbiology will buffer any Ca excesses?
I also gather that I can lay the gypsum on top of the compost layer before the decompaction starts. so it will get mixed in.

Still not sure how much gypsum should I aim for. Mollison suggests 30 t/Ha, would it be safe to assume such a figure?

You suggest to use good, not pollluted compost. What are the parameters of a good compost according to your experience (apart from what you mention already)? So that I can check the company specs and make some informed decision before buying any.
And also if it matters that that compost can be on the alkaline side seen that the soil is already alkaline.
1 month ago