Melody KirkWagner

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since May 30, 2016
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Recent posts by Melody KirkWagner

Gurkan Yeniceri wrote:

Melody KirkWagner wrote:I don't know anything about these people and I'm not sure if it's a good source, but I thought it was interesting:

There is no link to the research. I've found Sarah Taber on twitter and even her entry has a broken link. It seems like Bright Agro Tech funded the research judging by her twitter entry. Google does not return anything either.

Oh, odd. I saw a bunch of links. I didn't follow them though. I does seem almost impossible - especially the way they're doing it with the long run of sponge-like filtering strata - not to have a robust biota, though. How would that happen?
2 years ago
I don't know anything about these people and I'm not sure if it's a good source, but I thought it was interesting:

TL/DR key points - they're saying that hydroponic systems are rich in both bacteria and fungi.
  • Someone measured the bacteria levels and found them similar to to the range that appears in compost.
  • They populate quickly, especially at the root surfaces.
  • People who raise mycorrhizae to sell raise them in hydro systems, according to this article.

  • Having lived with fish tanks and now this ebb and flow system, I think this makes sense. It seems impossible to me that a hydro system wouldn't have a rich microbial life unless you're dousing it with antibiotics. That said, I've only read it, not tested it - nor do I have the expertise to do make any sweeping proclamations.
    2 years ago

    Bryant RedHawk wrote:

    Anthony Saber wrote: my questions –

    His assessment of hydroponics is in my opinion superior, as he mentions, there are now available the microorganisms that are needed by plants for use in hydroponics.
    (Kudos James, super information kola)

    There is a catch 22 when attempting to use the microorganisms in a manner that allows them to work and that is that there has to be a substrate for the microorganisms to use for housing.
    In soil there are houses for the microbiota to use literally everywhere, in hydroponics they are usually doomed to free floating or attaching to the roots themselves.
    This works nicely once there are enough roots to house the quantity of needed bacteria etal. but there are rarely enough roots grown in the hydroponic situation for this to occur and you end up with only the endo-type mycorrhizae being where they need to be for proper nutrient up take by the plants being grown.
    This means that even though the grower has included the quantities of organisms needed they have no way to stay in place to benefit the plants when the plants need them, the exudates tend to be swept away from the root zone and that leads to a confusing series of signals for the bacteria leading to inefficiency of nutrient uptake, thus less nutrient density than being grown in really good soil.  The whole acceleration towards vertical farming and hydroponics has been to gain growing space and season lengthening so that fresh produce is always available from a more local source. Nutritional Value is still not near the top of the reasoning on these farms. They will most likely get to the point where they start worrying about nutritional values but currently it is all about production.


    What I don't get about this is why wouldn't the grow media - gro-rocks, rockwool, coir mats, etc. - form a substrate for microbiota just as filter media do for fish tanks? I get the point about the lack of a fungal network limiting the usefulness of that biota, but must exist or plants would be able to take up nutrients, right? Especially in systems fed by organic nutrients only. We use a small ebb and flow system in the winter and have been looking to - affordably - convert it to organic nutrients, which seem to be effective.

    2 years ago

    Robert Ray wrote: Has anybody had any experience with einkorn flour and gluten intolerance?

    I know this is really old, but I'm curious what the result was Robert? What I discovered is that I'm not gluten intolerant; I just can't tolerate modern wheat. I didn't learn until I'd already experimented with it that I should have just gotten tested for celiac.  But any of the old grains are fine.
    2 years ago
    We've been working on learning to bake einkorn bread and not doing so well. I'm looking for some non-Jovial, non-sourdough recipes that have worked for others. Even better if it works in a bread machine. I'm hoping that if I can get this going I can quit buying bread completely. Right now, I can't eat modern wheat, but my husband and son  can, so I'm stuck with supermarket gluten-free breads, while they eat whole wheat. I think einkorn could bring us together! Thanks in advance!
    2 years ago
    I assume this person got an answer somewhere, but in case someone else wants to know - no, the straw does not need to be sterilized. You can "cold sterilize" by soaking it in water (look for that online for instructions). It washes out anything you need to worry about and also wets the straw, which you need to do anyway. Just don't use rotting straw that may already have fungus in residence. I use burlap bags filled with straw to make it easy to remove and carry. I soak the bags in a plastic garbage can. The burlap releases tannins, but that doesn't hurt anything and you can use the water for watering, assuming that your burlap bags are untreated. I use burlap bags to top the bed. The stropharia love them - it greatly increases my yield.
    2 years ago

    Here in Portland, I have clovers, prunella, veronica, violets, wood sorrel, chickweed, scarlet pimpernel, poppies, scotch moss, (yes) mints and strawberries, field madder, arugula, radishes, beets, cilantro, borage, quinoa/millet... all (near)self-propagating every year.  I keep a shaker of collected seed that I sprinkle on every bare patch of dirt.

    You gave me the vapors! I'm also in the PNW, near Seattle, and keep my veggies compost-only - no mulch, no understory - to discourage the slugs. They loooooove understory plants, especially if they have some weak leaves. I already need to clear out the aging bottom leaves of my veggies to avoid putting out a siren call; I'd hate to have to start maintaining an understory! I have a very biodiverse community everywhere else, with lots of groundcovers, but not under the veggies.

    I have to say that my groundcovers - blue star creeper, eunmonious, lime, creeping and elfin thyme, alpine strawberries, bugle, sorrel (which overwhelmed the bugle), sweet woodruff, creeping phlox and probably some others I've forgotten do very little if anything to fend off buttercup and bindweed. The weeds I liked - fewerfew, dead nettle and dandelion - disappeared as the soil improved.
    3 years ago

    Marilyn de Queiroz wrote:If you don't want to feed your dog dogfood, is it better to feed him raw meat or cooked meat? If raw, I would worry about E coli 0157 or Salmonella. But in the wild, animals eat raw meat. Maybe their lifespan is shorter because the meat isn't cooked first?

    There are lots of advocates for raw food and pretty good evidence for health benefits. I think it's worth trying with a sickly dog, but having done it for two dogs for awhile with no perceptible improvements, I felt that it wasn't worth the disgust factor and inherent risks - and there are some. Dogs also gain something from cooking, just as we do, so you can go either way. I'll say that my dogs lived long and prospered on their cooked food. Your dog *might* do better with raw food and might not, so it's really up to what you think is best.
    3 years ago
    Just to be a devil's advocate (and believe me that I'm empathetic about the amount of money it costs to get permits - it's absurd) - I'm the daughter of a building inspector and I have to say that there are very good reason for building codes and respecting that process. I completely agree that people can be dinosaurs and I have no empathy for jerks - and jerky cities -  who won't look at a new idea. I get that you're in the middle of nowhere and if you do anything dangerous (which you probably won't but zillions of people do), you still can be a hazard to public safety. So many fires are started by illegally installed electrical systems and exploding hot water tanks. Even if the fires don't spread, it's public money that funds the fire department, so the cities feel it fair to ensure that there are no avoidable fire, fall, drowning or collapse risks. I  grew up in a recreational area that didn't have a permitting system for many years and saw lots of that kind of thing. In your position, I think I would build a mobile tiny house. There aren't nearly the number of rules for anything mobile, and you don't run the risk of being forced to take down the safe if the city condemns it.
    3 years ago
    Hardwood chips are hard to get here. They do exist, but you have to wait to get them from the service that the arborists all use. Then you have to agree to take 14 yards worth of mixed chips (which will be mostly softwood) on a moment's notice. Not the thing for a suburban, aging family. What I did was innoculate straw I'd soaked in a garbage can full of water, coir, a few coffee grounds,and  softwood shavings in alternating layers with sawdust spawn, and topped with compost. Mostly straw. Two patches did OK, but third, which I'd mostly covered with wet burlap bags, did great! They barely came back in the second year, however, even with added straw and burlap and I doubt they ever will without hardwood.

    This year, I'm stuck in the house and have no straw. I'm kicking around the idea of substituting shredded cardboard for straw. I might be able to get the shavings as curbside delivery and I still have burlap. What do you think? Would it work? Its so expensive to order spawn - I don't want to waste it.
    3 years ago