Hello Eric Markvo
Thank you all who helped me find your posting again.
Your study is amazing, shall we call it the “Markvo Vegetable root Excavation”?
You have presented three videos and I’m surprised that our fellow permiesers let it drop from view so quickly. I think you present some very intriguing information. In the art world what I would like to do is called, “Painting on someone else’s canvas”. So with your permission let me start painting.
Using the following video as a guide, I decided to put your findings to a test, to study the biomechanics of your experiment.
Creating a carbon sinks
I took three 3500ml glass beakers and three one gallon plastic pots, cut the bottoms off the pots.
For the first study I used an 18 inch, freshly cut cedar log with the bark still placed. The plastic pot slid over the top portion of the log and filled half the pot with the wood log. The setup was placed into the glass beaker, with the plastic pot located at the top of the beaker. There was a one inch air space around the inside of the beaker and the log.
The second study I used a bundle of dead dried cedar branches some with bark on and from the same tree. Again cut 18 inches long and about inch dia. I packed as many sticks into the bottom of the plastic container as I could. Two rubber bands bound the bundle at the bottom so the shape conformed to the same shape as the first setup.
Third carbon sink I used a bundle of rolled up newspaper, rolled hand tight and forced into the bottom of the pot.
Each study was placed in their own beaker and topped with enough potting mix to be level with the top of the plastic pot. I started watering daily with 100ml of water for about two weeks. At first most of the water run through, to the bottom of the beakers. By the next morning the bottom of the newspaper beaker was completely dry and the soil in the pot was also dry. The branch beaker was damp at the bottom, but with little standing water. Using the most expensive and sensitive devise at my disposal, the finger probe. I found the soil located just above each branch end was extremely wet, like water plugs, but the soil between was dryer then the plugs.
The solid log had a one inch high water plug located above the log end, about the same diameter as the log and there was a small amount of water pooled at the bottom of the beaker.
Third week I increased the amount of water delivered to each pot study, up to 200ml. less water seemed to pour through to the bottom of each beaker, but what did was soaked up completely by the newspaper study within 12 hours, again soil is dry at top.
The branch study, the barkless pieces look like wet columns from top to bottom, with about a ½ inch of water pooled at the bottom of the beaker. Again there are the water plugs found just above the ends of each branch.
The solid log has the most water pooled at the bottom, about an inch, since I doubled the water amounts delivered this week. The outer bark at the bottom 3 inches is saturated with water and doesn’t seem to be able to draw up any more water. The bark is holding tight to the wood log.
As fate would have it, a plastic pipe on the new autoclave located above my office broke over the weekend and flooded a small part of my office, the lab next door and all the rooms located below. Industrial sized dehumidifiers were brought in to dry out the rooms. The study is located 10 feet away from a dehumidifier, running 12 hours over night. The two wood carbon sinks are holding its water, but the newspaper sink is still dry at the bottom, on the sides and the soil itself.
Following Eric Markov’s example I took the newspaper study apart, to see what was happening. The inner core of the newspaper roll is a solid column of water, with the outer ½ inch completely dry. There is no water plug located above, extending into the soil.
Observation and predictions
It’s too early to draw a conclusion from the “Markvo excavations” and my small study. But we can make an observation, Eric found plants grown above a solid vertical log with no bark, will produce a matt of roots at the top, with in the water plug. The roots will grow down the sides of the log and grow another matt below.
There is very little root penetration into the wood itself.
The pooling water at the bottom gets the soil extremely wet and slimy.
Plants grown above branches with the bark still on performs best when the wood is situated vertically. The root in one study seemed to have found the niche between the bark and the inner log.
Question: Did the root actively search out that sweet spot on the log or did the seed just so happen to be planted above the exact spot where that branch end was buried? Is there a chemical or fungus that is growing between the log layers that is attracting the root?
Paul claims in his pod casts that a Hugelkulture doesn’t start performing well, until the third year. Does it take buried horizontal logs with the bark on, two years for the bark to breakdown and open up, so the roots can find that sweet spot?
Would a newspaper roll buried vertically attract a plant’s roots or does it lack a chemical or fugal stimulant?
Thank you again Eric for your intriguing experiment.
Your thoughts Biology Bill Roan