John Suavecito

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since May 09, 2010
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Food forest in a suburban location. Teaches grafting and helps people learn how to grow food. Involved with a local food exchange group. Shares cuttings and knowledge with schoolchildren.
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Recent posts by John Suavecito

Did you notice that this thread is called "The Joneses", as in keeping up with the Joneses?
"Normal" people inflate house prices so extremely that you can't get a regular 40 hour week job and buy a house in most Coastal metro areas anymore. You have to work too many hours in a high pressure job just to be able to get a house or pay off student loans.   "Normal" people convince you that you have to buy the Big Pharma pills instead of staying healthy by exercise, eating well and growing and gathering natural medicine.  You'll never see articles about natural medicine in "normal" magazines or TV shows, only Big Pharma because they expressly forbid that kind of information.  No profit to be gained.  "Normal" people spend so much time working and binge watching on their phones that their children need lots of therapy and expensive toys, when what they really wanted is time with you, their friends and nature to learn about life.  The point of the thread is not that everyone should homestead. The idea is that buying lots of stuff and working 80 hours a week on a job you don't like doesn't really make you happy.  We are a very greedy culture.  If we took the time to enjoy the simpler things in life, I think we would be happier.   I live in the suburbs, and that's where I want to live.  It feels like you are narrowly defining everyone on this thread inaccurately.  Heavy spending on new expensive items is destroying the Earth.  If we made fewer purchases and took care of them more, we would have a better environment and better health. Wealth inequality destroys cultures.  There is a ton of research on this. The Blue zones are areas of the world, studied by National Geographic, in which people live the longest and are healthiest.  Check it out sometime. For example, in the Blue zones, people are the healthiest in the world and probably the happiest, but they are way below average in terms of money. (This has nothing to do with US blue states versus red states).  Werner Herzog made a movie about people in Siberia who have nothing! but are extremely happy.

https://www.bluezones.com/


John S
PDX OR
2 days ago
I have just added biochar to my second raised bed.  Vegetables, on average, tend to prefer a neutral ph, like 7.0.  We have naturally acidic soils here in PNWet.  Not only does the ash remnant make the soil more alkaline, I think that the greater diversity of microbes and drainage will allow the soil and plants to move themselves closer to their best condition.

John S
PDX OR
3 days ago
I quench it twice: Once to put out the fire, and a second time when I put it in a ceramic tub to cool it off.  I don't want it to smolder for weeks.  The first, fire quenching water just drains off.  With the second, ceramic tub water, I pour it off onto alkaline-tolerating plants before crushing the biochar.  

John S
PDX OR
4 days ago
This is great information.  I've had tons of trichoderma contamination here and we tend naturally toward quite acidic soils.  Lime will also add calcium, obviously, which may also help.

John S
PDX OR
1 week ago
The videos won't play anymore. It says you need specific permission to view them.
John S
PDX OR
1 week ago
Vladlen,
Since you're in Siberia, do you know what Anastasia would say about this? PLant them near the Ringing Cedars?

John S
PDX OR
1 week ago
I agree that uninoculated char is not optimal.  I always inoculate, for the same reasons you had.

I would think that sheep manure would be an effective inoculant. You might want to leave it for awhile, especially if you have to handle it very much.   Mixing it with other inoculants would probably be more effective and more pleasant.

Part of the question is, does your pit hold water?  Compost tea is a  very common inoculant.  It could work in a pit that mostly holds water, because it is usually sprayed.

Urine is also a very common inoculant, and I think that it would need to be in a pit that holds water.  You don't live far from the sea, but I don't know if you go that way for other reasons. I am thinking that some kind of ratio between 1/5th and 1/2 should work for your inoculant, with less being fine with a longer duration inoculation, but I would wait and listen to other responses. I will learn from them as well.

John S
PDX OR
1 week ago
I am thinking like the other sources that I have read on the topic.  Clay retains moisture really well.  Biochar when ground fine has an unbelievable number of connection/attachment points.  Then the clay doesn't bunch up. It's like loam.  Microbes can get in there, because there are these tiny spaces for microbes, air, and gas exchange.

Sand dries out really quickly.  Biochar powder in dry sand is dusty and ineffective.  It can blow away.  A chunk of biochar, even if it's only the size of a marble, will retain moisture within itself.  The tiny root hairs will find the little chunk of moisture and the plant will be able to withstand the long dry hot summer.

That's how I think about it.

John S
PDX OR
1 week ago
Phil,
I  think you've got a good point about how YOUR soil interacting with the biochar is a big differential.  We have really thick clay here and lots of rainfall, so I'll grind it as fine as I can.  I don't think that the biochar will remain separated from the soil for very long. Even fine biochar mixed with clay won't drain super fast, I don't think.  It should retain "housing" for microbes though quite well I should think.

If someone had gravelly or sandy soil in a hot dry place, bigger chunks of biochar would be preferred.  I don't live in such a place, but I have read about this from experienced biochar users in such places from more than one source.

JohN S
PDX OR
2 weeks ago
One change I would make is to get a pitcher of well water, rain water, or in my case, filtered water to put in there. I don't want to kill the microbes with city system water with flouride, chlorine, chloramine, etc.   I think another is that I would grind some biochar, wait while I put in one of my inoculants into the ground biochar in the bucket below, grind some more, wait again while I add another inoculant, etc.  That gives the machine a rest so it doesn't get too hot.  It seems that you can get a small disposal at a big box store for about $50.  I think I'm going to give it a shot.  Great idea.

John S
PDX OR
2 weeks ago