Nathan Watson

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since Oct 05, 2018
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Recent posts by Nathan Watson

Jeff Welder wrote:I am a world away. I am in SE Alabama.  Few people heat with wood nowadays, but on occasion, my "Ex Uncle-in-law" (Owned a logging company.)  would be approached by someone asking to cut firewood from their slashpile. He would always refer them to the property owner and a couple of times, the owner told him to NOT clean up so people could cut firewood.  You don't HAVE to push it all up and burn it if you are going to use a dozier to replant the property. But it does look like shit for a couple of years until the new trees start covering it all up..  My rambling point is,  CUT FIREWOOD. Hell, some of the wood would be good for someone with a portable sawmill..



And yet, for some reason firewood is never encouraged at all. There's no big environmental push to move to firewood as a heating source. The establishment ignores firewood as if it weresome obsolete technology from the past. My guess is because it can't be controlled and regulated by government like electricity, nor is there an opportunity for big corporations to create an oligopoly and force out small business as they have with the fossil fuels we use for heating such as natural gas and fuel oil. They really don't like this idea of people having independence when it comes to how we heat our homes. Good points and I completely forgot about firewood in my first post!
3 months ago

Fredy Perlman wrote: Very common sense and it has the ring of truth, from what I know. But the microplastics question remains, probably because that science is pretty nascent. And per your comment about toxins accumulating in plastics: since microplastic science is so new, I'd be surprised if anyone could say whether I am putting persistent toxins sponged up by microplastics into my beds in perpetuity...I doubt even Elaine Ingham could say how that shakes out. So I will stick to asparagus beds and tree mulching for now. Seaweed slug repellant can be tested around trees they find tasty.


Why are microplastics a concern if you're harvesting seaweed? Do microplastics stick to seaweed? I wouldn't expect that, given the slimy texture of seaweed.
3 months ago
The ideal place for a tree is actually at the edge of a forest. On one side, ideally the south side, your tree gets sunshine. Behind it, there is cool, moist air, reducing stress on the tree, along with a layer of topsoil, and soil that doesn't bake and dry out in the hot dry sun. The tree gets the best of both worlds, cool moist forest air and soil and lots of sunlight to grow.

It's also a question of how big your trees are to start with and how long you intend to water them. In an open space, you'll often find seedlings growing underneath the shade of a mature tree, but not out in the open. The seedlings need the shade of the mature tree, but the mature tree shades the soil over its own roots and doesn't need any other trees nearby to survive. If you're going to buy 4 foot tall bareroot trees from a nursery and space them correctly based on the size the rootstock will allow, they might only need a few years of regular watering in the open before they shade their own soil and then need little or no care. If you're starting from seed that's going to be a bigger project and take a lot longer to get them to where they shade their own soil from the baking hot sun.

It's also a question of what you companion plant them with. For example, Pines will grow a deep taproot if the soil allows it and won't compete with other trees for the same water. Siberian Peashrub isn't know for exceptionally deep roots, but it fixes nitrogen making it available for other plants to help offset the cons of any water loss, and can form a lower level canopy below apples, cherries etc. which will help stop the soil from baking in the sun. I currently have many seedling apples, pears, and wild plums growing alongside Siberian Pea Shrub in the same containers under my grow lights, and will plant them outside together when they're big enough.
3 months ago

Greg Mamishian wrote:I picked Mamishian because my real name is Soapdish.

People being afraid to use their real name has always seemed odd to me.
Llike putting a paper bag over your head and then drawing a face on it.



When you use your real name, anything you post will stay out there forever.  Someone can find it with just a simple Google search.That's just way too much information to allow just anyone to be able to look me up without even my knowledge of it. I may well maintain a Facebook account discussing things far more controversial than permaculture, but I can control who is on my friends list and make my posts private from the rest of the world. Doesn't really work that way here. It's a public forum. And even on a forum like this, sooner or later a topic is bound to come up where my answer isn't something I wanted anyone to be able to look up. Like nosy relatives for example. The ones that are on my decoy Facebook account. Or potential employers.

Actually it already has, the recent post about having children or not, but I haven't got enough apples to post in that thread yet.

What I've done is kept my first name, even my last initial the same, but not my full real name. And just respect the rules regarding names.

Hope that helps you understand why people don't use their real names.





Fredy Perlman wrote:

1. Is any kind of seaweed acceptable for micronutrient accumulation?
2. Do any accumulate more, or a better balance of, minerals for garden/food forest use?
3. Do contaminants in seaweed outweigh potential benefits? The Puget Sound isn't exactly clean, but it isn't the Baltic Sea either. I'm not in a hurry to spread some persistent toxins around my land. We're careful with manure but seaweed seems a black box. Maybe a sweep with a Geiger counter is enough!



The worst persistent environmental toxins are all oil soluble. Anything water soluble just passes out with urine or gets broken down by the liver. Because oil and water don't mix, environmental toxins in the ocean tend to be found with other lipids in the ocean, not just fish oils but even plastic trash in the ocean. Most seaweed contains very little fats thus it won't accumulate many persistent toxins. Even then, the real issue with environmental toxins is that they get concentrated up the food chain. A 100 lb Tuna fish ate 10,000 lbs of smaller fish, which ate 1,000,000 lbs of even smaller fish, which ate 100,000,000 lbs of seaweed. Just guesstimated numbers but you get the idea. The seaweed itself isn't going to have many on these persistent toxins, it's just that Tuna fish near the top of the food chain where it becomes a problem.

As per concerns about Fukushima etc. radioactive iodine is really only a big problem when its the only iodine around and then gets taken up by life forms. In a fallout zone simply giving people non-radioactive iodine prevents the absorption of radioactive iodine. With all the billions of tons of non-radioactive iodine in the oceans, that radioactive iodine in the seaweed is so diluted a lab probably couldn't even measure it.
3 months ago
Living in Southern Oregon, I get to watch logging operations happen and what I've found is few people realize just how much biomass is wasted. They take the biggest logs and everything else is pushes into giant piles with bulldozers, doused with diesel, and lit on fire. Unless they're doing an unnecessary clear cut, I don't blame the timber companies for burning waste that has no market and cleaning up after themselves. The real question is, why is there no market for this? And what could be done to change that?

We burn huge amounts of biomass in the forest to get rid of it. Then we dig up coal out of the ground to fuel the power grid. Apparently, using logging slash just isn't an economical alternative to coal. Nobody wants to invest in this and it's too far to the nearest existing power plants where this could be burned for carbon neutral fuel.

Even if there isn't a way to burn this slash, or at least not all of it, we could be burying it under the ocean.

Finding new uses for logging waste would not only reduce global warming, it would also revive a struggling industry. We could be responsibly thing our forests, reducing fire danger, and creating new jobs all at the same time.

The sheer volume of co2 captured by wild plants and trees is staggering and far exceeds the energy harnessed by humans. Every year when it's summer in the Northern Hemisphere, global co2 levels actually drop significantly, then goes back up as biomass rots in the winter. If we harvested enough biomass out of the forests, the long term increase in co2 could actually be reversed.

When people think of carbon farming they think of farms growing hemp or something like that. Case in point, the name of this section where I'm posting. Maybe instead of thinking about carbon farming, we should be thinking about carbon harvesting instead.

A great place to start with this would be the forests around Paradise CA, and all the other powder keg forests waiting to go up in a fireball. We could create new forestry jobs at the same time.

What are your thoughts on this?



3 months ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:

. Don't get me wrong, I use similar plants, but for deep recovery of the minerals I have applied because I don't want to do it again. Minerals are not created in situ unless you are an alchemist (nitrogen and carbon excluded).

The main hypothesis that seems logical to me is that plants are well designed to function in a large range of minerals. But to play you have to get in that range. Organic and regenerative practices cycle but don't create minerals.



Actually, organic practices do create bioavailable minerals out of rocks. Scientists have observed rocks with microscopic tunnels in them that were dissolved by fungi. In a forest, the trees and the fungi connected to their roots are literally dissolving rocks and adding those minerals to the cycle as they need them. Organic systems aren't just cycling the same minerals over and over, and they aren't waiting for weathering processes to break down rocks over eons of time either.

From https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/the-world-s-largest-mining-operation-is-run-by-fungi/


What if ectomycorrhizal fungi were not just passively sopping up whatever nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron they could scavenge from the soil? What if ... what if ectomycorrhizal fungi are actually mining hard rock for their trees?

One clue can be found by looking at thin sections of fungus-enveloped root still embedded in soil. In this sample, probing hyphae sprouted from the mantle have wrapped mineral particles in a fungal embrace.


A scanning electron micrograph of branching hyphave that embrace and penetrate a mineral particle. Fungi seem to enter the particle at upper right and center right. Scale bar = 10 micrometers. Fig. 1b from Landweert et al. 2001.
As you saw in the image at the top of this post, thin cross sections taken from tiny pieces of feldspar and hornblende – common minerals in conifer forest soil – reveal tunnels inside with rounded ends, curving paths, and constant 3-10 micrometer diameters that also seem to finger fungi as their drivers.

Scientists speculate that secretions of organic acids at the tip of the hyphae driving the tunnels release potassium, calcium, and magnesium ions from the mineral, simultaneously excavating the tunnel and releasing these valuable elements for absorption.

From https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/fungi-root-trees-weathering-rock-calcium-climate-carbon-1.198559

Ground breaking study:
• Mutually beneficial partnership between the fungi and trees sees the fungus receive all the carbon it needs – in the form of sugars – from the photosynthesising tree, and in return, deliver plant-essential nutrients including phosphorus from broken down rock.

• Process drove soil development and calcium export from land into the oceans creating ocean chalk and limestone like the White Cliffs of Dover that lock away carbon for millions of years that would otherwise be in the atmosphere

• Forest root systems and their fungal partners intensified rock weathering as they evolved over millions of years, shaping the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 and climate history
3 months ago
[quote]

. Don't get me wrong, I use similar plants, but for deep recovery of the minerals I have applied because I don't want to do it again. Minerals are not created in situ unless you are an alchemist (nitrogen and carbon excluded).

The main hypothesis that seems logical to me is that plants are well designed to function in a large range of minerals. But to play you have to get in that range. Organic and regenerative practices [i]cycle[/i] but don't create minerals.[/quote]

Actually, organic practices do create bioavailable minerals out of rocks. Scientists have observed rocks with microscopic tunnels in them that were dissolved by fungi. In a forest, the trees and the fungi connected to their roots are literally dissolving rocks and adding those minerals to the cycle as they need them. Organic systems aren't just cycling the same minerals over and over, and they aren't waiting for weathering processes to break down rocks over eons of time either.

From https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/the-world-s-largest-mining-operation-is-run-by-fungi/


What if ectomycorrhizal fungi were not just passively sopping up whatever nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron they could scavenge from the soil? What if ... what if ectomycorrhizal fungi are actually mining hard rock for their trees?

One clue can be found by looking at thin sections of fungus-enveloped root still embedded in soil. In this sample, probing hyphae sprouted from the mantle have wrapped mineral particles in a fungal embrace.


A scanning electron micrograph of branching hyphave that embrace and penetrate a mineral particle. Fungi seem to enter the particle at upper right and center right. Scale bar = 10 micrometers. Fig. 1b from Landweert et al. 2001.
As you saw in the image at the top of this post, thin cross sections taken from tiny pieces of feldspar and hornblende – common minerals in conifer forest soil – reveal tunnels inside with rounded ends, curving paths, and constant 3-10 micrometer diameters that also seem to finger fungi as their drivers.

Scientists speculate that secretions of organic acids at the tip of the hyphae driving the tunnels release potassium, calcium, and magnesium ions from the mineral, simultaneously excavating the tunnel and releasing these valuable elements for absorption.[/quote]

From https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/fungi-root-trees-weathering-rock-calcium-climate-carbon-1.198559

Ground breaking study:
• Mutually beneficial partnership between the fungi and trees sees the fungus receive all the carbon it needs – in the form of sugars – from the photosynthesising tree, and in return, deliver plant-essential nutrients including phosphorus from broken down rock.

• Process drove soil development and calcium export from land into the oceans creating ocean chalk and limestone like the White Cliffs of Dover that lock away carbon for millions of years that would otherwise be in the atmosphere

• Forest root systems and their fungal partners intensified rock weathering as they evolved over millions of years, shaping the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 and climate history
3 months ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:https://permies.com/wiki/77424/List-Bryant-RedHawk-Epic-Soil#637639

Many times I get asked (here and other places) about adding minerals to our soil for gardening.
Minerals are a fairly hot topic in my world of soil microbiology and many believe that all the minerals needed are abundant in all soils.
Recent studies shows that while this is mostly true, there are a few minerals that can only be found in the oceans.
These minerals are not found in our soil base, anywhere, this might not be such a horrible thing except for the needs of the human body, which require these minerals from plants so the body can make use of them.
These minerals have been recently discovered to be necessary for vital body functions, and the lack of them is looking to be one of the reasons for many health issues we are seeing today.



It's mostly just the highly water soluble halogens such iodine that leach out of the soil. Most other elements are less water soluble and are present in soils, unless missing from the local soil for geological reasons (they were never in the rocks in the first place).

The biggest issue with minerals lacking in our food is actually caused by the use of NPK fertilizer, not geology. Only 3 elements are typically added to our crops, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The plants just take the other minerals out of the soil, year after year and these minerals are never replaced. Then the crops are harvested and the other minerals leave the soil for good. It's no surprise studies have shown organic foods higher in these other minerals.

I'm a bit intrigued by the idea of adding rare trace minerals into the soil, and a lot of good information and ideas have been brought up in this thread. However, just by choosing organic farming methods as opposed to NPK fertilizer, you're actually 95% of the way there in terms of minerals in the food you grow.

I'm also not completely convinced that adding sea minerals to soil is absolutely necessary for human health. As mammals we've been living on dry land for hundreds of millions of years and evolution has found ways for us to survive and even thrive on dry land and the foods that are found there. However these trace elements in the sea certainly may hold the potential to improve human health, especially considering the toxic, nutritionaly deprived world we live in. Great post Redhawk, thanks for sharing.
3 months ago

Oddo Da wrote:A

Does anyone have experience with this? Questions such as the following come to mind:

1) Planting fruit trees among poplars, oaks and maples? The non-fruit trees are scarce due to select cut so plenty of light. Berries would go on the edges of the forest.
2) Planting fruit trees on a slope? Slope is facing south, is not horribly steep and ends in a creek at the bottom.

We are in SW Virginia. I have been thinking about plums, peaches, persimmons, cherries and paw-paws. Also would like to plant some chestnuts.

Thanks!



Maples are an indicator species. They only grow in soil that has at least some moisture year round, as opposed to conifers which tolerate dry soil in summer better. Here in Oregon, wild plums often grow alongside Maples in the same places. I would recommend plums alongside your maple trees. Don't plant your trees completely in the open on a south facing slope. The soil will bake in summer. Plant them on the edge of the canopy of existing trees, where the soil won't bake and the air will be cooler in summer. You'll generally find indicator species such as maple trees lower down the slope. Rainwater that fell months ago can still be moving down a hillside and the soil there will be last to dry out in late summer.

I'm also wondering why the hillside is your choice place for planting trees. Wouldn't the creek be a better place? You shouldn't remove trees that directly shade a creek, it hurts the fish, warms the water up, and is possibly even illegal. But somewhere maybe 20 feet away from the creek and maybe 10 feet uphill is perfect for fruit trees. The water in a creek doesn't actually stay in the creek you see, it flows through the soil and may even get wicked uphill through the soil. Here in Oregon,  the most productive native trees bearing the most fruit are always near the creeks, whether it's barely edible port orford cedar berries or madrones. In your East Coast climate with more summer rain and humidity that may make less of a difference though.
3 months ago