Sue Monroe

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since Aug 29, 2019
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Recent posts by Sue Monroe

Tall oatgrass (Arrhenatherum elatius) is my monster weed.  If you've got larger livestock, I guess they can eat it, but it's useless, otherwise.  Well, it would probably slow down an attack of zombies approaching in the dark from your perimeter; when you mow, set the blade on a high cut, and NOBODY can walk through your field because they will be tripping over it with every step, and end up either retreating, or attacking on their hands and knees.

It has small (1/4 to 1/2") stacked tubers, which create thick clumps when they multiply, and spreads by seeds, too.  Most people seem to dig it out, but if you leave a viable tuber behind, guess what happens?

The pH of the soil doesn't bother it, it's happy in very acid or very alkaline soil.  The state ag colleges say it's even relatively impervious to glyphosate.  Their only real suggestion is to keep it mowed really short CONSTANTLY for several years and starve it out.  Maybe.
3 years ago
I'm no expert, but I think that most "odd" color changes (like the kind you would want) come from genetic accidents that alter or damage the DNA of regular plants with regular colors.  

I've read that when a very different color or appearance shows up in a bed of regular plants, the grower noticed it and saved the seed.  Then they grew the seed the next year to see if it would duplicate the "mistake".  The variation is called a "sport".

Sometimes, a few new plants show up with the new color, so the grower removes all of the new plants that have the regular old color, saving the ones with the New Color, and covers them in a group, hoping they will cross-pollinate with each other and make more of the new-color plants.

I suspect they do this for several years, continuing to weed out the old colors.  When they finally get mostly all new-color plants, they keep growing larger amounts of new seed, until they can offer them for sale.

They will usually warn that there could be some "throwbacks" to the old color.

But some mutant sports are sterile, and your breeding won't go anywhere because the new seeds (if any) won't even sprout to produce plants at all.
3 years ago
Just another one of those What-If questions.

Reading more about the benefits of feeding biochar to livestock, I strayed to wondering if it would be beneficial if ingested by humans and household pets?

I know that activated charcoal is used medically in poisoning cases to absorb the toxins, but what about small amounts on a regular and daily basis?

I've read that livestock given biochar have increased health, production and weight gain, so why wouldn't it be good for humans and dogs and cats, too? (Well, most of us wouldn't need the weight gain.). But I'm just not finding much on it for the hooman beans.

Any thoughts or links?
3 years ago

William Bronson wrote: Perhaps we should switch from bucket loos to flower pot potties?

I think that was intended as humor, which it was, but...... It is said that urine and solid waste shouldn't be mixed due to odor issues, but if you used a flower pot, the urine could drain through the hole in the flower pot, into another container.  Hmmmmmm........
3 years ago
F Agricola: "Don't know why stuff would go unharvested, that's wasted resource..."

You're speaking of theory, not reality (there's a lot of that online).  Many people who only write and talk about doing things, dwell on the expected perfection, which usually doesn't happen in Real Life.  

High winds, an early frost, an attack by birds, insects or animals, the farmer gets sick or injured, many things can cause a crop to fail or go unharvested.  Mother Nature doesn't give a fig about your plans or expectations -- she has a very peculiar sense of humor.

"Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" is a saying that is almost 460 years old, but is applicable to this day.

3 years ago
It looks good.
3 years ago
Trace, No, I'm talking about the consistency of my results.  I am burning fairly small amounts of wood, I'm going through it piece by piece afterward, and breaking up the actual biochar with my fingers, and setting the hard, solid black stuff aside. I call the hard stuff charcoal.  I think it needs reburning to advance it to actual biochar, IMO.  So, is it ALL really biochar, just because it's black all the way through?

People keep jumping from the word 'biochar' to the word 'charcoal' like both are the same.  Is it really?  It seems that if you're talking about biochar, stick to the word 'biochar'.

I am under the impression that biochar is the light, holey, black stuff that all the residue has burned off, that crushes easily.  I thought the charcoal is the harder, more solid black stuff that takes more effort to crush, and it still contains the volatile residue.

Am I misunderstanding that ALL of it is really biochar as long as it's black???
3 years ago