charlotte anthony

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since Mar 12, 2010
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Recent posts by charlotte anthony

this type of science is more complicated than it needs to be.  john kempf and AEA are inoculating with microbes.  they are now working with farmers on 4 million acres in the u.s.  without deciding for the plants what microbes they need, using rather a pan microbe concoction.  plants and their microbe partners have been the method nature uses for fertility for billions of years.  by using this, AEA drasticallty reduces the amount of external inputs (fertilizers) needed increasing the productivity of the plants and thus increasing the farmers bottom line.

10 months ago
i was just at a 2 acre orchard in cottage grove, oregon where she has many, many trees, at least 100.   this is her third year in ownership and she is regrafting all her gallen trees because they are covered with scab.  i do not know where you are, but serious scab deforms the apples.   in places like eastern washington this is not such a problem.  she uses horsetail tea to help with scab and this works with her other varieties but not the gallens.   i have another friend who has a lot of scabby varieties who used EM from TeraGanix and MycoGrow from Fungi Perfecti which cleaned up all the scab as well as coddling moth that had plagued his orchard for 47 years.  also he got larger apples.  i like your spacing this allows a lot of "companion plants."  what is your spacing between the rows?  regrafting the trees is easy (if you know how to graft).  you can even put 3 different types of apples on one tree.  most people want their varieties to cover all time periods between early, late and winter keeping aoples. this friend in cottage grove is starting a hard cider business which means she needs some bitter tasting apples.
1 year ago
r. ransome.  a great thread. made greater by your observations.  

there are a huge amount of variables that need consideration.  per gabe brown (from the video mentioned above) the organic matter in the soil, with extra emphasis on  the mycorrhizals in the soil will determine how much water the soil holds.  he uses the figure of 250,000 gallons of water per acre with 10% organic matter.  in india where they have been gardening for 10,000 years sustainably using no irrigation (where they have not been "sold over" by the green revolution), they have no problem growing mangoes, tomatoes, cucumbers and many other crops with no irrigation and no rain for 6 months.  part of their sustainable practice is gevumreitum (a fermented concoction from cow dung, cow urine, legume powder and molasses).  in most parts of india, they have higher temperatures than we usually do, with 40 C to 50 C being normal temperatures during part of the year.  

they have a favorite tree sesbania grandiflora that they plant with their vegetables that they trim off at 8 feet tall, turn into a single leader and have dancing shadows.  they use what they cut off for chop and drop, for animal feed and also it is a kind of spinach for humans, with very good nutrient density.  they plant these trees every 4 feet.   a comparable tree for us in all these respects is is toona senensis.  korean natural farming shows us lots of concoctions that we can make to increase our microbe populations.  It turns out according to the Bionutrient Assocition that plants have their intestines in their microbe partners.  Plants grown without microbe partners do not develop full protein layers, full lipid layers or the secondary plant metabolites need for both insect protection and to feed the human biome.  with food properly feeding our human biome we are are susceptible to cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc.

bare soil is the worst thing for the soil life as gabe brown mentions on this same video.

elaine ingham also did a video in an arabian country where dew from the plants was the only water the plants got.  i have not found this video.

in the u.s. dryland farming involves tilling and as they are decimating the microbes with the tilling they compensate for that by gently scratching the surface with a hoe, making what they call a dust mulch.

i  admire your looking at the plants with an eye to what is making them collect water.  it reminds me of my time in the chiropractic world where the more i learned the more i did not know.  the human body, like the plants and the soil has millions of variables and only with our nonlinear thinking can we begiin to grock it.    i also want to refer you to an interview with tony renaudo, who started a project near the sahara in africa which has now reached 5 million hectares, mainly by self organization, meaning people saw the results and started doing it.    I was especially struck by him being in one village for years, being made fun of for his western ways which were not working.   one day he realized that this shrub that he saw was a tree resprouting, an ah hah moment.  he then protected these shrubs which then turned into trees and these trees reestablished the hydological cycle and their agriculture would work.  a lot of land has become healthy again.  Tony Rinaudo talks at the Tenth International Permaculture Conference (Sept 2011) in Amman, Jordan, about the massively positive impact Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) has had on the world, and his vision to see the benefits of FMNR enjoyed by a great many more yet.

the change in tony from coming from his head to learning to work with nature is what i believe toby hemenway was talking about in his video why agriculture can never be sustainable.  the horticulture paradigm  involves  living inside the egosystem rather than laying our vision onto the earth.

this might help with how you determine what is the right time to move the animals.

also as horses and donkeys are not ruminants, you might want to consider adding in microbe teas to help increase microbes on your land.  if you want to grow your own microbes please see korean natural farming.
1 year ago
major contributors to simple solutions which you might not know.

Adam Sachs, Bio4Climate.
Didi Pershouse, Ecology of Care. . . see previous post
Narsanna Koppula, Aranya Agriculture Alternatives
Rajendra Singh, 10 rivers back in life in Rajistan, India.  
Brad Lancaster for his work in the Tucson desert with 11 inches of rainfall
Gabe Brown
Christine Jones, soil biology australia
Walter Jehne, microbiology as applied to the rain cycle, australia
Neal Spackman, dryland restoration in Saudi Arabia, facebookn
Matt powers, the permaculture student
Subhash Palikar, 18 books about zero budget natural farming
Bhaskar Save, ghandi of natural farming in india subject of book by bharat mansata
John D. Liu, Ecosystem Restoration Camps
Vail Dixon,(female), Simple Soil Solutions,  gardener in toby's ecosystem tradition on more than 2000 acres in virginia, mentor of gardeners.

Simple solutions

As I read this thread I see that Paul is saying that he wants to take a rest from the fray and he wants others to shoulder the responsibility he has been carrying.  Many people do not hear this message.  They are encouraging Paul not to give up.  

I feel that I am shouldering some of this responsibility.

If you would please watch this video from Toby Hemingway you will understand the paradigm shift that Toby has long been describing.  

this is a keystone video.  the solution that he recommends is horticulture or I will call it ecosystem gardening to not confuse it with the science of the current horticulture. . there are 3 ways that I know of to quickly grow an ecosystem 1) with a lot of mulch, no bare soil, no tilling and cover crops, 2) holistic management including ruminant rotational grazing or 3) microbe inoculations. see on facebook microbe teas, a quick way to regenerate soil as well as a story of microbes how they can accomplish seeming miracles on Permies site.

I was feeling a lot like Paul is feeling.  Not because I have made anywhere near the contribution that Paul has, and not because I have spent anywhere near the time and effort that he has.  More because I am a woman and like most women, I need to see that my contribution is not only needed but being received.  I am wired to need feedback to know that I am on the right course.  In Toby’s video he describes that a major problem with agriculture (or industrial agriculture as I will call it) is that it takes 100 or more years to see how the soil has been decimated.  Actually to deplete the soil so much that farming is no longer possible.   In tropical countries it only takes 20 years to decimate the soil.  So this need of mine and other women for feedback can be a very good thing.  If in a mothering roll, the child does not respond, we know to change what we are doing.

I am spending this winter on the East Coast because Adam Sachs from Bio4Climate had seen my crowdfunder on facebook and  wanted me to speak at the Bio4Climate conference where he is bringing practioners together with scientists who want to find solutions for our planet.  I might not have come except that Didi Pershouse who wrote

The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities.

invited me to attend a workshop with a famous microbiologist Walter Jehne where we would brainstorm on solutions with a lot of movers and shakers.  Feeling myself surrounded by 30 other people who are as committed as I am to simple solutions is giving me the foundation to continue my work.   I have seen that using microbes in ecosystem gardening covers at least 10,000 acres in the New England area and if we enlarge that to include holistic management, then we are probably up to 200,000 acres minimum  in the U.S..  Around the world there are at least 5000 holistic management type sites some of them with 50,000 acres.  Holistic grazing has been reversing desertification and alleviating drought wherever it is practiced correctly with concomitant humus and ecosystem regeneration.  Whoopee there is hope for our future, especially if these small and large scale solutions can continue to grow.  It is starting to sound like we will reach the turning point soon.

Because of my presentation at the Bio4Climate conference I have made connections with many women running organizations in this area including SustainableBrattleboro, BioConcordcan, Sustainable Arlington, etc.  They are adding to their current projects a movement to convert their lawns to natives and perennials.  the BioConcordCan group calls their project YIMBY.  Yes in My Back Yard.  They want to create humus as quickly as possible as they have been hard hit by drought and uderstand that the carbon in the humus can hold up to 250,000 gallons of water per acre and thus the beginning of the solution for drought and desertification.   I am working with a team here to write a manual for how to do this, hoping that this will take off around the country.  With 41.5 million acres of lawns this can make a significant difference.

These technics have the benefit of reversing desertification, and alleviating drought because they allow the water to go into the soil, (as opposed to running off it) filling the deep aquifers and drastically slowing the water returning to the sea that is causing increased rises in the ocean levels.  With the addition of trees there is bacteria from the trees which seeds the clouds causing rain in that area, which can mean that the water does not return to the ocean for 10 years.

I believe that everyone of us (people) including every bacteria, every plant, every animal have something to contribute to what Paul calls simple solutions.  We all need to let the creativity that Toby says is the heart of an  ecosystem gardening practice (love and abundance vs. fear and scarcity)  to fill us with the contributions that we can make.  Our creative contribution leads to our own health as well as that of the planet.