jack spirko

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since Dec 28, 2010
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Recent posts by jack spirko

Mart Hale wrote:-->

Here is that method that you don't agree with so others may know there is a way of doing this that Paul has found effective.
https://www.backtoedenfilm.com/organicgardening.html

I do believe Paul has a right to his method just as Ruth Stout named here method of using hay, she has a right to her method and her books.    

I do run a web page on Me We that talks about this non existing method of deep mulch as well as Ruth Sout's methods.
https://mewe.com/join/deep_mulch_-_back_to_eden__gardening

Mart



I didn't say I didn't agree with it, I said it isn't a method it isn't a thing.  It is just deep mulching with wood chips, of course it works that why I said gardeners have been doing it as long as wood chippers have been around.  Of course it works, but calling it "Back to Eden Method" is like say well imagine this.  

Lots of people mulch with straw, straw was in the manger, what if we start a new method called, "Back to Bethlehem Method", we mulch with straw that has animal poop on it.  Now we take this simple thing that people have done forever and we call it something and in the minds of people it becomes complicated.  

Call it anything you want it is just organic gardening and mulching.  Which absolutely does work very well.
1 week ago
Here are my thoughts you may take them or leave them, I expect some to not like them, that is okay.

1.  There is no such thing as a "Back to Eden" method.  Someone putting a name on something doesn't change what it is.  All this is amounts to compost and wood mulch.  As long as there have been wood chippers, gardeners have been putting wood chips on gardens.  I was doing it as a child for my grandfather in the late 70s.  One reason people are worried about what to do here is we stopped calling it what it is and made it a "specialized method".  If you just said use compost, organic fertilizers and heavily mulch with wood chips, it may not sizzle as well, but no one would be confused.  So just stop trying to make it complex and mulch an move along.

2.  There is absolutely no issue with wood chips "robbing nitrogen", it isn't a thing, stop worrying about it, it can't happen.  As many noted the chips break down very slowly, and there is a reason.  Only a very thin layer of the bottom chips can bond their carbon with the N in the soil and then only the very thin top layer of that.  If you have 8 inches of wood chips and 10 inches of good soil only about 1/2 inch of the two combined is even capable of the Carbon/Nitrogen bond at one time.  Further this small amount of N is not gone, it is given back over time as it naturally composts, breaks down and becomes soil.  I swear if one more of my listeners calls in and asks how to deal with chips robbing N, I am going to shoot myself, it isn't a thing, LET IT GO.

3.  In spite of #2 the best thing you can do is put down a lot of compost and a lot of organic fertility in the first few years for many reasons.  One is if your soil sucks, it is going to take a long time for just chips to change that.  So the next thing that happens is you are on the internet claiming the chips robbed nitrogen that wasn't there in the first place.  Next is the fact that in most of the US we try to get plants out as early as we can.  While the plants can survive the soil is still very cold and a lot of the nutrients that are there, can't be accessed by the plants as there is not yet sufficient biological activity to make them available to the plants.  This is specifically true in micro nutrients like Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron.  So for the first few years if you have any slow growth supplementing with chelated forms of those is a good idea too.  It is not needed but it is very helpful.  At the end is a link with my recommended fertility aids and how I use them.  I also recommend supplementing in early season with liquid kelp.  Again this is most needed in new gardens before the biology has caught up with the new ecosystem you are creating and very early in the season when many microbes are slow or asleep.  In time you need less and less even early on, you end up with a very slow composting action that gently raises soil temps.  Biology grows and a few seasons in you can only add more chips and supplement only where plants tell you to.  Compost teas are great, so are prepared products like Garrett juice.

4.  There is nothing you can do that will get this process kicked it the butt and rolling like fungal inoculation.  I always use a product called  Endo Mycorrhizae Fungal Inoculation from Sustainable Agricultural Technologies, Inc. when starting new beds.  I have trialed identical beds with identical plants with fungal inoculation as the only variable.  The results are undeniable.  Getting deep into what mycorrhizae fungi do is too complex for this post but they are amazing.  They will colonize the lower parts of the wood chips, colonize the soil, attach to your plants roots and effectively become extensions of their root systems and help with water and nutrient needs.  

5.  Be careful of the video that started this craze.  The guy is a wonderful person but his religion interferes with reality.  At one point he says something to the effect of, "Wood chips take up water when it is too wet and release it when it is too dry.  There is no way to explain that other than it is miracle."  That quote isn't exact but it is close.  It isn't a miracle and we can explain it, it is called osmosis, you learned about it in likely Jr. High School.  Here remember, "a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane."  Not putting the guy down but when someone thinks grade school science is an unexplainable miracle, don't hang on every word they say.  This is just one example of many examples where very simple science is considered something miraculous in this video.   To be fair I myself consider these things miracles of creation, but it doesn't mean we can't explain them or understand them scientifically.  

6.  Sometimes, okay a lot of times people in our space want to be purists they consider "products" bad.  They don't want to use kelp or manures or organic fertilizer, etc.  They want no outside inputs.  Okay well ignoring that chips are most likely outside inputs, you can do that, it will work, the question is only when.  And where are you now.  Some say all I did was mulch with chips and look at my garden in the first year, it is amazing.  Great well you already had good soil, that is why it worked so fast with so little.  So if you want to only mulch, you can, it may take a few seasons to really make things happen though.  

7.  Feeding worms and microbes works, you can talk to your feed store, often they have feed they can't sell full price because wevels got in it, it got moldy, etc.  Just a thin layer of this on the soil will bring in worms like a dinner bell at a work camp.  I don't care what Dr. Ingam says, molasses works and works well.  Old moldy left over sweet feed is great.  You don't have to do this but it works.  We have trialed this also with beds side by side and after a season the worm count is 4-10x higher where feed was added.  As an added bonus as nuts as it sounds molasses especially dry molasses repels fire ants.  It does so indirectly, yea they eat it but it kicks up the nematode action and they hate that.  We have horrible fire ants in Texas and in spring when they boom I can litteraly see the outline around places we mulched with molasses, by the mounds going around those areas but not into them.  

Again you can do it all with just chips or just chips and compost but a layered approach will go faster.  If you are interested in the specific fertility products I use they are here http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/tag/fertility and as I add new ones (a very cool one is coming soon) I tag them so they are always here and always updated.  If anyone has any questions about this post just ask.  If anyone is upset by it, I apologize in advance but it is nothing but my opinion backed by about 35 years of growing gardens and over a decade of designing and implementing permaculture systems.  

1 week ago

J Hymay wrote:
Also, Jack, as a FYI.. I tried watching your other Aquaponics & Aquatics playlist, but the list plays backwards in time..  It starts with the most recent, then plays the day before, then the day before that... so you cannot start at the beginning and watch forward.



Thanks for pointing that out, I have changed the settings on that list.
1 year ago
Episode 8 is 30 minutes long, mostly Q&A if you have questions for future episodes ask away.  

1 year ago
Episodes 6 and 7 are live.  8 should be out soon.  




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


1 year ago
So guys and gals I had a desire to overwinter a few hundred tilapia fry this year so that my final size next year would be bigger.  I was going to just toss a heater in a 100 gallon tank and call it good but decided to do an educational project along with it.  This is rapidly turning into a full on course in Aquaponics for free.  Here are the first five episodes.  











Episode Six and Seven will be out soon the full playlist can be followed at http://bit.ly/indooraqua
1 year ago
So for the past several months my property IN NORTH TEXAS has been sitting most days under at least some standing water.

My question, has anyone learned anything from this?

There was a prediction, 9 years of drought and a lot of people were very concerned. The source was MSN. Sigh.

Last year we were told there was also a drought, I didn't see a drought last year.

The two years before you bet.

My points...

1. We really should not listen to such long term predictions
2. We should design our systems based on low averages and with plants that can handle a zone higher and lower, etc.
3. A lake man made and then drained is not proof of a drought, simply that we take more then we capture
4. Trusting main stream media and modern science is generally a big mistake
3 years ago
So much for 9 years of drought.
3 years ago
Rhys Firth,

This is because too many people keep trying to even judge permaculture (which is decentralized anarchism) though the socio/economic/geopolitical lens of modern day politics.

It is quite simple really now that I get it. So many want to impose their will on permaculture, and it just will not allow any imposition upon itself. No one is in charge, and based on how it was founded no one can ever be. There is no hierarchy, there can't be any. Leaders are selected by those that follow them, for a time and cast aside if said leadership becomes weak, arrogant or simply deemed no longer necessary. Leaders are true leaders, they have NO AUTHORITY, only positive social capital.

Again what the purples really are is bureaucrats. They want committees, rules, forced "social justice", government involvement, a place to sit and have a job whether it is necessary or not, equal results vs. equal opportunity. It must be maddening, a bean or an apple tree doesn't care if you are white or black, rich or poor, smart or dumb, ugly or handsome, well liked or despised, etc, etc, etc. No committee or governing body can order a pear or a persimmon to produce!

Permaculture isn't even really about plants it is about a scientific based design and troubleshooting methodology. It is a tool to be used, you can impose about as much of the state or societies will over permaculture as you can over algebra. This must be absolutely maddening to the person that got involved to fight climate change and provide social justice when they learn that they are free to do that, but no one else is required to do it with them or more accurately for them.
3 years ago