Kai Walker

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since Dec 30, 2017
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Recent posts by Kai Walker

Some biochar info:
about one gram properly made has a surface area of nearly 10,000 square feet.

Putting a thick layer of untreated biochar (aka plain charcoal) on the surface will draw nitrogen from the soil and reduce weeds.

Treated biochar is recommended to be mixed in the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches with 2 inches of regular coil covering it.

When making biochar, it helps if you add in come sulfur free molasses for the soil goodies to eat and populate it.

If you use Epsom salts in the mix, it can lock up phosphorous.
It can still take from 1-3 years for it to show great results.

Human urine to charge it with the NPK it contains is a good idea (with the molasses in the mix if you feel froggy).
Or charge with a compost tea for 6 weeks to 3 months.

Biochar also helps stabillize soil moisture levels.

Most sites say to start with 5% mix of biochar to soil.
Add in another 5% if results are not as anticipated.
12.5% seems like a good level for tomatoes.
20% is good for some plants but not other.

Patience is a virtue.

If you have the setup, you can mix plain charcoal into your compost bin and turn as scheduled. It will become the biochar you desire.

I made mine out of oak heating pellets. Perfect size for the garden.

Larger sizes do not yield as good results.

Oh and some plants do not like biochar at all. I think it was carrots that didn't like it much. But you might want to research it further.
2 years ago

Dave Bennett wrote:

Robert Ray wrote:
For those of you interested in humanure, composting toilets, urine diversion.


My old toilet looks just like that.  Hopefully the property manager won't ever discover that some of the compost I give him for his flower beds is partially composted humanure. 

And here I thought that was a picture of MY toilet....
2 years ago
I ran across some youtube videos where people are using diapers (the crystals in them) in their soil for moisture control.

Some say this is not an organic way, others say it is OK since you are not introducing chemicals like fertilizers, herbicides, similar and that the crystals are inert.

Has anyone tried this method?
Any pros/cons?

Or is it just a bad idea and why?

If it does what it is claimed to do, it sure would make the watering chore less of a chore.

Oh, if it is OK to use, will it absorb compost tea and feed the plants automatically too?

I cannot find 'clean' manure or 'clean' straw where I live. ALL are contaminated with herbicide chemicals.
I have to hand water everything due to my situation.
300 plants is a LOT of work.
2 years ago
Out of curiosity, what did women wear before underwear was invented?

3 years ago

Catherine Windrose wrote:If you don't mind learning a different operating system, I suggest Linux Mint 18.3.

There are so many benefits over MS that it's hard to know where to start.  Though really that is determined by what is important to you.  Time, simplicity, and nosiness are my pet peeves, and where MS fails most by comparison, imo.

Since you have two laptops to work with, you could give Linux a try on one.  If this is a consideration, you can find details at https://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=248 for Mate.  There are other editions though I've found Mate to be most appealing.  Maybe you know someone local who uses Linux who can discuss it with you?  

Linux OSs are free, open source, and have become so 'made for anyone' that the learning curve is next to nothing.  A friend who is not at all computer or internet savvy was actually excited after using the Mate desktop interface on my laptop.  More so after I installed it on hers because Office Libre converts Microsoft Office products.  MS subscriptions can be optional unless you're tied to using those products.  She said that was helpful with homeschooling.  Her laptop is about 7 years old and now it moves like a kid again :.)  (Mine is so old there is no bluetooth!  About 8-ish years old with the hard drive signalling it's close to done.  Still the Linux OS works like a champ.)  Her kids love it and have since learned more about Linux than I have during the past 10-ish years ^.^  

GIMP is way cool and comes free with the standard install.  It's a slimmed version of Adobe Photoshop.  There's thousands of free apps, games for kids (not all junk), and educational tutorials for typing, math, etcetera.  I used the Tux math tutorials to help with saggy math skills.  The Software Manager allows searching for and installing free open source apps, so there is no need to be concerned with anything other than installing apps for your Linux version.  It works or it doesn't.  Super easy install / uninstall with the Software Manager.

Windows is so slow on older computer models.  Tweaking can alleviate that but if a reinstall becomes necessary then all that tweaking has to be done again and those instructions become quickly outdated.  Cortana... ugh.

If you know how to partition drives, you can multi boot to use both OSs.  I use a thumb drive to download the OS install.  This allows viewing prior to install and without obligation of any kind, because it's all on the thumb drive.  If you don't want it, just remove the thumb drive and reformat for other use.  If you do, select install and follow directions.  Easy as eating pie

Just remembered one thing that could slow things up some, not terribly so.  These days UEFI (interferes with installing other OSs) is a factor and dealt with according to the model.  The steps are simple if sometimes long-ish.  This is for computers on which Windows was 'factory installed'.  Afterward you can install nearly anything you want in the future and be almost 100% MS free.  Or completely if, like me, you avoid MS junk at all costs  It's been easy enough to do that.

There is also an app called WINE that liaisons between Windows and Linux apps.  It's not an emulator, rather a kind of virtual sandbox environment for apps to sit in without touching the Linux OS.  There is a sentiment that MS does not cooperate sufficiently to allow WINE to work with more apps, though some users say WINE is worth the bother specific to their needs.  That's a toss up for me.  Haven't needed it.

All in all, about the same amount of time is spent including circumvention of UEFI to prepare for a Linux OS install.  Unless you're a developer, in which case there are probably all manner of fun tweaky things to do :.)

MX Linux is VERY fast.
Worth a look-see!

I use it on a 15 year old desktop and it works very well!

It barely uses 2GB of ram too.
3 years ago
Doesn't potatoes love high potassium?
If so maybe plant those for a year?

3 years ago
Know anyone with a lot of goats?
High nitrogen, slow release.

Many goat owners have trouble getting rid of the stuff they have so much.
Once dried, it makes nice little smell free easy to spread fertilizer pellets.

3 years ago
Ty for your suggestions Trace.
Where I am, the property owner won't let me dig holes.
I found a barrel in craigslist but not the smaller inner one.
I do wonder how I would lift the heavy inner one though.
3 years ago

John Suavecito wrote:Yes, pretty funny.  Now that I know I 'm ok.

Check out the other threads in this forum. They're all there.
John S

Tap tap tap click click click grumble grumble grumble
You mean I HAVE to do something? LOL
When I get a chance. I will try
Thanks again!

3 years ago