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Summary

Credit: Prepared by Cassie Rauk

In this podcast Paul talks with Ben Lawson of Cross Bull Ranch in Topanga, CA.

Paul and Ben jump right in by discussing alternatives to using newspaper and cardboard when creating a new garden bed rapidly. Paul tells Ben that it is better to add a bit of texture to the landscape and using resources you already have in the surround land. They then move into discussing HUSP and Paul's search for land.

Ben has big dreams on using a hydro-seeding techniques creating a quick seeding of permaculture approved planting. While it is an "instant farm" kind of idea, Paul thinks there may be permaculture applications in the future.

Ben asks Paul what he would do if he had a Blue Sky Budget, meaning he has unlimited money, and total public approval. Listen in for a bit of Paul's plans on world domination and plants for promoting permaculture.

Ben and Paul then discuss the movie Plastic Planet, although Paul has not seen it yet, he says he is going to add it to his list of films to watch. They then move on to discuss growing grains, to make flours for pies in particular.

Relevant Links

Podcast 231 - Listener Questions with Ben Lawson Part 1

Ben Lawson's Crossbull Ranch Website

Concerns with Using Cardboard/Newspaper as a Mulch Thread at Permies
Horticulture of the United States of Pocahontas (husp) Thread at Permies

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COMMENTS:
 
gardener
Posts: 155
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Nice! Question 1 is exactly what I'd hoped to hear someone ask. I'd not listened to all of the podcasts yet, though after a good majority I didn't recall hearing the answer! Not directly anyway.

I used newspaper prior to really thinking about it; Mostly because I'd heard from other permaculturalists that it was okay. I will say, It was paper that was collected over time, and It was the best method I had of getting rid of it.

My farm currently has "hay" without any enhancements and I've got a scythe!

I'm glad this question came up. Thanks!
-Ryan
 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
100
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I think it's probably a good thing that all but the most recent podcasts get bumped off of iTunes. After listening to 40 freebies that should be incentive to purchase the old ones. The 40 available ones can infect minds and if they don't do it the minds are infection proof (ie stupido).
 
Posts: 10
Location: St. Paul MN
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Huh! I too thought twelve would be a much better base for a number system; don't think I've ever shared that or heard anyone else say it. If only we'd evolved a few extra digits to count on.
 
Posts: 196
Location: Perkinston Mississippi zone 9a
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Paul's awnser to the HUSP on native land question, blew me away. Great podcast.
 
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 9B Santa Rosa, CA
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I found Paul's description of what happened when he discussed husp. and the possibility of doing it on a local reservation, with a member of the tribal government to be very ironic.

I really enjoyed the response on the blue sky Wheatonization of the world. I guess I have been fully assimilated into the hive mind, because my vision for the world is very similar to Paul's.

Julie
 
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The interview format with Ben was pretty tough to listen to. Sorry Ben.
 
Posts: 49
Location: USDA Zone 5
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On Salatin and seeding - if he was asked, Salatin would likely tell you that the dormant seeds
already present on his land, the 'seed bank', provided most of the seed for his farm, rather
than seeds dropped by birds. 'Bird seed' may also have been a factor, but research has shown
that seed can remain dormant in the ground for many years, decades even (some say longer,
depending on conditions and seed type), sprouting when conditions are right for that plant.

Isn't nature cool!

One reason Salatin does this, apparantly, is that he wants plants that are naturally suited to thriving
in his area on his land in that climate without being coddled. Over a period of time, the plants that
thrive on his farm, under his style of management, will be 'naturally selected' to be more and more
successful under those conditions. Seed we can buy will likely never be as suited to our land as
seed we are essentially breeding on our own properties. This is not unlike the traditional practice
of saving garden seeds from the vegetables that do the best in that garden.

 
Lm McWilliams
Posts: 49
Location: USDA Zone 5
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On the 4" - 8" of soil instead of newspaper or cardboard, or without the newspaper or cardboard layer
underneath- in places I have lived (not Montana) the pampered lawn grasses might not survive under
that soil layer, but there are plenty of so-called WEEDS that would easily come up through that amound
of soil. (And/or sprout from it, but the paper/cardboard layer would not prevent that!)

Paul Stamets, PhD (mycologist aka 'fungi/mushroom guru') is concerned about the massive amounts of
cardboard and paper that are disposed of each year. I cannot speak for him, of course, but I think he
sees the use of these materials in bio-systems as a preferable way to dispose of them.

I wonder if making new paper and cardboard from recycled material might be an even better way to get
rid of it. His work with fungi in bio-remediation of toxic sites is awesome, but I do not know enough about
what chemicals may remain in cardboard or paper to be comfortable relying on 'sheet mulching' techniques
to break them down. Concentrations of heavy metals are a particular concern, especially in the inks on
newspapers, even just the black ink.

Would like to know if anyone here has more info on what chemical /heavy metal issues we might need to
be aware of if we are considering using paper or cardboard in compost or mulch. If not, what is the best
way to dispose of these materials?
 
Lm McWilliams
Posts: 49
Location: USDA Zone 5
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It is difficult to blame the Indians* for wanting to buy back their land, isn't it?

*Columbus was impressed by the first people he met in the New World, remarking on
their generosity and harmony with nature, and said they were a people 'en Dios' or
Indios - a people in God. (The country we now call 'India' was then called 'Hindustan',
and was not known as India for at least a couple hundred years after Columbus'
voyages.)

 
steward
Posts: 3576
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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Thanks Lm for the information about Salatin's seed management. Selecting for the adapted plants in ones grassland definitely sounds to me like the best way.

About the bio-remediation, I have heard that some plants and fungi will chelate heavy metals rendering them non-bioavailable. Yet, I am not sure I would be comfortable with using newspaper anyways. To prevent grass from growing, I think creating conditions where it does not thrive is a better approach. Newspaper and cardboard can then be used to make cellulose for insulation or recycled!


Lm McWilliams wrote:
*Columbus was impressed by the first people he met in the New World, remarking on
their generosity and harmony with nature, and said they were a people 'en Dios' or
Indios - a people in God. (The country we now call 'India' was then called 'Hindustan',
and was not known as India for at least a couple hundred years after Columbus'
voyages.)



wow! I had never heard that. Is this a quote from a book?
 
Lm McWilliams
Posts: 49
Location: USDA Zone 5
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Yes! Yes!! YES!!!

One of the lies that contemporary society is based on is that we have a choice
between 'shivering in the back of a damp, drafty cave', a life that is 'harsh,
brutal and short' (which is actually a description of life in war) - or polluting our planet.
Polluting ourselves, actually.

How many people are aware that when people began to settle in larger cities with the
beginnings of exploitative type agriculture, humans actually began to get shorter? Or
that the Europeans were greatly disturbed by the native people of various places they
colonized, considering them 'lazy' because they did not work hard enough and enjoyed
life too much. In some ways, we may have the highest standard of living ever (?) yet
we are more sick, more polluted than any people ever in the history of history.

Spreading the word, and DEMONSTRATING (capiltals for emphasis) that a good life
can be lived, a comfortable life, without killing the bio-sphere that sustains us all-
is there a more worthy cause?

Kudos to you, Paul, for your efforts to do this!

(I saw a wooden keyboard for sale somewhere... but am using one that qualifies as
a techno-antique instead.)
 
Lm McWilliams
Posts: 49
Location: USDA Zone 5
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:Thanks Lm for the information about Salatin's seed management. Selecting for the adapted plants in ones grassland definitely sounds to me like the best way.

About the bio-remediation, I have heard that some plants and fungi will chelate heavy metals rendering them non-bioavailable. Yet, I am not sure I would be comfortable with using newspaper anyways. To prevent grass from growing, I think creating conditions where it does not thrive is a better approach. Newspaper and cardboard can then be used to make cellulose for insulation or recycled!


Lm McWilliams wrote:
*Columbus was impressed by the first people he met in the New World, remarking on
their generosity and harmony with nature, and said they were a people 'en Dios' or
Indios - a people in God. (The country we now call 'India' was then called 'Hindustan',
and was not known as India for at least a couple hundred years after Columbus'
voyages.)



wow! I had never heard that. Is this a quote from a book?



Totally agree with you that there has to be better uses for cardboard and paper than
taking the chance of putting (more) pollution into our soils. Recycling them into new
paper and cardboard seems like a good idea, but it would be wonderful if our paper
manufacturers returned to less chemically intensive methods of making paper.
(Look at how long Egyptian papyrus can survive; paper made without help from Dow
or DuPont or...)

There are a number of plants and fungi that will accumulate heavy metals, as you say.
While the natural bio-sphere continues is undoubtably more marvelous and capable
of rebalancing itself than people generally give it credit for, I had not heard about
plants or fungi making heavy metals unavailable through chelation, or other means.
Dr. Paul Stamets, fungi expert, warns against the consumption of otherwise nutritions
and safe mushroom species if grown on sites contaminated with heavy metals. (You
may be aware of his bio-remediation work with oyster mushrooms which break down
toxic petro-chemicals yeilding edible mushrooms, but only IF there is no heavy metal
contamination; and most petro-chemical waste sites will contain toxic levels of these
elements.)

Other experts caution against the consumption of edible plants growing where heavy metals
may be found. Water hyacinth, for instance, is edible but when growing in polluted water,
it is not. (This demonized plant is a real resource- it can clean up polluted waterways,
it grows at an amazing rate with nearly unequaled bio-mass potential, apparantly it can be
used as livestock feed, and is edible by humans- the later two only IF grown in clean water.
And, it is beautiful.)

'Greene Deane' of EatTheWeeds (dot) com, says in his intro video on YouTube - Why Learn
About Wild Plants, that he had never been made ill by eating a wild plant, except when he
consumed plants that were growing in a polluted location. Since more and more of our
planet is polluted, it is pretty sad to see a natural abundance of food which survives that
pollution being made inedible by the man-made toxins they take up.

Which is not to say that some plants or fungi cannot help remedy the heavy metal situation,
just that I have no information on that; only the opposite. Livestock are also prone to poisoning
by eating plants which concentrate metals, like selenium (essential in micro-trace amounts),
even plants which are ordinarily edible by livestock, but which tend to concentrate metals
more under certain conditions, like drought (which is common in the areas of the US where
soil selenium levels are hight).

Yes, the info on 'the people in God' or Indios, aka Indians, came from a book; sorry
I cannot recall the title or author. It is easy enough for anyone to verify the information
for themselves. It is an interesting twist on the history we were taught, eh?!

 
master steward
Posts: 28582
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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More on the newspaper/cardboard as mulch stuff:

https://permies.com/t/2157/organic/concerns-cardboard-newspaper-mulch


 
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