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Author Topic: How to resuscitate a dead field  (Read 41195 times)

ccgwebmaster

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #50 on: December 11, 2013, 08:59:33 PM »
Maybe time to put up a few of these, just in case?  ???

http://www.non-hybrid-seeds.com/survivalseedvault.html

By all means but bear in mind that:
  • even refrigerated or frozen seeds lose viability over time, requiring a periodic grow out
  • different plants require different techniques to collect seed successfully maintaining genetic vigour
  • rate of viability loss varies by species and storage technique
  • some items (tubers) cannot be stored longer term
  • some potentially valuable seeds may be illegal to cultivate (or even acquire) almost anywhere*

* I refer to certain seeds with medicinal value, a target of big pharmaceuticals just as surely as other seeds are targeted for control over food or materials.

Generally speaking there is a bit more to this than most people realise...

ritter

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #51 on: December 11, 2013, 10:43:15 PM »
Generally speaking there is a bit more to this than most people realise...
Oh, absolutely!

Laurent

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #52 on: December 12, 2013, 09:24:51 AM »
I plan to buy something like that :
http://www.leboncoin.fr/jardinage/578821258.htm?ca=14_s

but would it work with diy fuel ? Normally I would need a diesel stuff?

Better buy that so !
http://www.leboncoin.fr/jardinage/551433203.htm?ca=14_s

Laurent
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 03:12:57 PM by Laurent »

sidd

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #53 on: December 12, 2013, 11:23:06 PM »
Re: walkbehind diesel tiller

http://www.leboncoin.fr/jardinage/551433203.htm?ca=14_s

check the injector(s), filters, gaskets, put a dentists mirror in the fuel tank to look for sludge(can be cleaned out) replace hoses etc.

run clean diesel for a bit. try to run it for an hour at a time or more. then you can try blending in biodiesel  or (well filtered) used cooking oil. Easy in warm weather, harder in cold. dont leave fuel in the tank for long. dont rely on fuel stabilizer, drain the tank(s)

if you can and do put a dipstick style block heater on the thing for easier start in the cold make sure you dont leave it on there for more than half an hour. (to avoid burnt oil. good practice is to use a timer and only do right before you start the engine.)

diesel engines are donkeys. they will run forever _once you get them started_

sidd 

adelady

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2014, 04:01:42 AM »
One thing you haven't mentioned much is trees.  With 2/3 of an acre you should be able to have 20 or so trees and shrubs producing fruit and nuts - if not more depending on how much you want to espalier or otherwise prune.   Thinking about it, you should be able to manage more.  Our previous block was 1/3 of an acre with a large house on it and we had a dozen conventional sized fruit trees.  If your house is the same size as ours was, that would give you the whole 1/3 of an acre to play with.   

Me?  I'd look at 3  - an early, mid-season and late/preserving variety  - of each fruit you're likely to want.  Apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot - 3 of each of those gives you 15 trees.  Though if you're space saving, you might do some with planting 2 or 3 trees in the one 1-metre hole to restrict size to save yourself some pruning for size control/ picking access.    Or you might prefer to have them in a neat row so you can run a chicken tunnel alongside / between them when it's time to clear up fallen fruit.  I'd also find a spot for a quince - because the blossom is spectacularly beautiful and you can have a little gladdening of your gardener's heart for a few weeks, especially if you have spring bulbs beneath it which flower at the same time.  And the fruit makes the Best Preserves Ever.   The smell of a quince pudding or crumble baking on a cold evening is an absolute delight. 

Some people plant fruit and nut trees as a fence - a mere 1 or so metres apart and let them fight it out for room to grow and access to sunlight - but we don't have a problem with sunlight access in Australia so it might not be appropriate for you.  Though I understand you can do that with things like hazelnuts and gooseberries.    I realise that it would be hard to grow pistachios or almonds where you are, but you should be able to find an appropriate corner to plant a large tree like a walnut without taking up too much space - seeing as walnuts make it impossible to grow anything near them, perhaps plant one near the edge of the block where it will also shelter the henhouse or other outbuildings and not impact veg growing.  Or you could plant it in a non-productive area of the block and gradually give up on trying to grow grass, flowers or shrubs near it as the root range gets bigger. 

I'd also plant at least 2 cherries with a garden that size.  And you can save them from the birds.   http://www.woodbridgefruittrees.com.au/woodbridgefruittrees/articles/171-spanish-bush-pruning.html   Some of the other pages on that site are worth looking through on an idle evening. 

Remember if you want self sufficiency in stuff like fruit and nuts, you have to grow enough for all the fresh eating and cooking you want as well as for drying and other preserves.  You'll never starve with store cupboards full of sauces, preserves, jams, chutneys, pickled fruits as well as the more conventional pickled vegetables. When you're growing stuff yourself you can also turn items that would be waste in a commercial orchard into good food.  Pickled green walnuts and preserves made with windfalls or immature fruit that you've picked for thinning turn apparent loss/waste into delectable nutrition.   If you have nuts and late-picked, long storage apples and pears and melons in a suitable outbuilding or cellar of their own you'll have fresh produce for much, much longer than the growing and harvest season.   

You mentioned a greenhouse, have you thought about dry storage for all your non root vegetable produce?   And you need to plan reasonably well for such storage to be near the house and/or to have a suitable inside area to keep a few days' supply.  It's not much fun having a couple of dozen pumpkins or melons or kilos of nuts and pears in storage if you have to brave a howling wind or a downpour to get to them on a cold evening.  And there are airflow requirements to the design/layout of such a cellar or outbuilding if you want to store your late season apples and pears along with other produce.   You have to maintain cool temperatures and ensure that any ethylene produced is steadily wafted away and that you don't get aromas from other produce mixed in to spoil the taste - of fruit especially. 

Neven

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #55 on: March 25, 2014, 01:03:08 AM »
Thanks for another great comment full of tips, adelady!

We planted a couple of things in October, like three walnut trees (we'll see which one does best next year, and remove the other two), elderberry, an Austrian small peach variety, a couple of Jostaberries and raspberries, and one small tree I forgot the name of.

We want to try and plant a couple more things this spring, but as we're extremely busy with the house, it might be in Fall again. Things we want to plant is 1 or 2 apple trees, 1 or 2 cherry trees, 1 or 2 almond trees, hazelnut bushes, a fig tree.

We will get the fig and cherry from my grandfather's village, and I'm hoping the climates are similar enough for them to do well, although the soils are pretty different, I think. We're trying to find almond trees from the North of Croatia, as they are sure to work here if they work there.

And lots of berries. I'm not a quince fan, but people keep telling me how great it is, so maybe we should something. We have more or less planned our zones and know where there's room for trees, but we still need to source everything.

We've just sown a mix of clover, alfalfa and phacelia this week (as it is finally raining a bit again), Dutch clover (trifolium repens) around the few trees we have, as our soil is mostly bare after years of agriculture and backhoes driving all over the place during building.

I'm starting to think about how I'm going to cut back the grass/weeds. I'm not sure a lawnmower will do the trick, as I won't be mowing every week. Doing it with a scythe would be cool, but I've done it a couple of times, and still haven't got the hang of it. Guess I will have to learn...  ::)
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adelady

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #56 on: March 25, 2014, 03:49:41 AM »
Just occurred to me as I was driving the ademan back from hospital this morning - it's a boring drive so the mind wanders.   

Your soil is obviously dreadful, with the added bonus of repeated tillage making the subsurface very unfriendly, probably compacted in unlucky spots.  Along with the clover and other fertility amendments, perhaps you should get hold of a couple of bulk packs of daikon radish seeds.  Especially for the areas where you're most likely to be planting trees, but they'll benefit all the soil in terms of water penetration and retention as well as concentrate nutrients to a greater depth.  Don't pull them.  Or at least not until they're well established enough to be self seeding.

http://www.permacultureskillscenter.org/broadcast-seeding-part-2/

If you've read Mollison, you might also have read Masanobu Fukuoka.  If you haven't, you should.  You won't be doing his throw-some-seed-stand-back-and-wait-for-20-years routine, but the ideas are adaptable.    Certainly within orchard + chooks type areas of the garden, but also for those areas you've not yet 'got around to'.  Throwing a good mix of cover, nutrient and structural soil amendment plants so that the soil is protected and the plants are working for you while you're busy with other activities or other parts of the garden means that you're not overwhelmed with things you've not yet done.  You're letting the growing seasons and the underground activities of roots and worms and decay do it for you.   

And letting them go without any attention at all is a good way to find out which areas are more, or less, friendly to growing things.  It's one thing if growth is uneven or patchy, it's another thing entirely if you find that there are particular spots that always seem to have feeble or yellowed growth or totally bare patches.   A definite target area for some serious chook work. 

(If it was me, I'd also throw in some parsnip seed.  They're hell on wheels to germinate reliably every year.  You're much better off if you can get a few to succeed and stay in the ground and set seed the following year.  With any luck they'll be popping up every year - certainly if you let them go under the trees so they're not disturbed by regular digging.)  I'd also plant a few flowering perennial/ small shrub plants like daisies.  They attract and keep a stable population of desirable insects in such unworked areas and they're good at "clearing" the soil beneath them from weeds if that's what you want to do.   

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #57 on: March 31, 2014, 10:35:18 PM »
Walnut trees, my dream! Keep all 3 as long as possible. Not just for the prized cabinet maker wood. The roots go very deep, so they are excellent nutrient pumps. It is said that rotting walnut leaves are excellent aphid repellent. Alas the walnut is also a plant repellent, except for a few like Currant (which often have an aphid "problem"). The book "Gaia's garden" has some advice on what to combine with walnut (this alone makes the book worth its gold!). The ultimate companion tree seems to be Celtis (Hackberry, Zürgelbaum). That would make a beautiful little grove for hammock and tea table.

(Actually it was my friend's organic pig farm that made me think of growing Walnut. I've not yet found out if the pigs like to eat young Walnut. But I bet.)

Neven

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #58 on: April 01, 2014, 02:05:30 AM »
Quote
The book "Gaia's garden" has some advice on what to combine with walnut (this alone makes the book worth its gold!).

Yes, I read about it in the book, which is great.

Quote
That would make a beautiful little grove for hammock and tea table.

My wife said the exact same thing! Well, maybe we'll just re-plant the other two to some other place.

We planted the clover and phacelia seeds, but it's extremely dry here, as always. Hopefully the seeds will get going at some point.
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jai mitchell

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #59 on: April 12, 2014, 05:40:14 AM »
http://www.demeter.at/

This goes along with the movie I shared with you a month ago.

If you can, you should let it sit fallow for a while and allow a neighbor's cow to graze on it for a year.  You can also inoculate it with biodynamic tea. 

also know that appearances can be deceiving.  have a soil fertility test done to see what you are dealing with.

Plenty of good organic amendments out there for dealing with low nutrient.  I like the inoculation the best, gotta spread out those good bacterias!
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sidd

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #60 on: April 12, 2014, 06:29:27 PM »
if you rotate cattle through pasture, make sure not to overgraze, and also send chickens thru the field afterward, as Salatin does at Polyface. This will not only distribute manure, and the chickens will pick out undigested food left over from the inefficient digestion of herbivores, but will also get rid of ticks and other bloodsuckers and annoyances that will surely be found where grazers abound. Keep a dog out when the chickens are about, or you will lose to hawks and eagles and foxes and such.

All the best.

sidd

P.S. chickens will not get rid of all the ticks, but every tick less is one tick that will not have the chance to crawl up under both your trousers and your long underwear to lodge in your crotch. 

yan

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #61 on: May 10, 2014, 07:15:26 PM »
Neven,
I saw on your photos that your field is very large and close to neighbours. I don't know if you have links with folks living near your field but why not set up community garden in permaculture like I have done in my village ? In fact in my case the priority was note to produce a lot just my family but rather to create a local network/community of people who like to shared gardening and who appreciate to help each others; and creating the core of a Transition Town, as described by Rob Hopkins. Perhaps you have a different objective ?

Neven

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #62 on: May 11, 2014, 08:51:26 AM »
Neven,
I saw on your photos that your field is very large and close to neighbours. I don't know if you have links with folks living near your field but why not set up community garden in permaculture like I have done in my village ? In fact in my case the priority was note to produce a lot just my family but rather to create a local network/community of people who like to shared gardening and who appreciate to help each others; and creating the core of a Transition Town, as described by Rob Hopkins. Perhaps you have a different objective ?

Now I'm too busy with finishing the house, etc, but as soon as that is done, I will try and do something on the community level. Either a gardening project, or perhaps an ecological centre. There are several possibilities in the region where I live. Austrians are generally open to eco-stuff.
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Bruce Steele

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #63 on: November 29, 2014, 04:56:14 AM »
Every year time comes to resuscitate the field and dead might not be the right word but winter and the promise of rain combine to offer a reprieve for the dirt. So putting out the cover crop and timing
it's planting are based for me on guessing when the weather will deliver not only the rain needed to germinate the seed but also the follow up rains at ~ future two week windows to keep it growing. We have been in a drought so the upcoming rain event is my best chance.... I think. Today I spread 200lbs. of clover/grass mix. Usually I plan on plowing it all in come spring but this year I will be attempting to run some stock and hopefully shock some pest plants , morning-glory and some rugged annuals , into submission . I own pigs and they aren't something that a garden can follow without a good long time passing first so this is a big step for me.
 Controlling invasive plants and getting some fertility back into the soil while avoiding large offsite inputs of nutrients is a very large challenge. The pigs eat grains supplied via truck and train and about a thousand miles of transport. Barley, a dry land crop, doesn't grow very well in drought and almost all commercial pig feeds are supplied from similar distance . I guess the point is I am struggling to balance , energy, weed control, and the weather with some way to make a profit.
 I don't know how to do this without animals as an integrated part of the operation. I suspect most local organic vegetable operations are slowly striping carbon and fertility from their soils annually and the fish fertilizer that qualifies them as organic is very energy intense while in the long run insufficient
at maintaining fertility, i.e. they will need more each year to maintain harvests.
 Eric Garsa covers some of these issues on his blog

http://www.howericlives.com/energy-and-the-future-of-food/
     

wili

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #64 on: November 29, 2014, 03:22:04 PM »
Thanks for those insights, and best wishes on making a go of it.

It always strikes me in these conversations that one of the missing element is humans.

We are seen as an endpoint but not generally as a source for soil nutrients. That is very linear thinking, exactly the kind that has gotten us into most of our messes.

I know it is enormously difficult as an individual farmer to close this loop. But surely as a society we have to start seeing our poop as soil, as a source to be fed back into the circle, not just flushed 'away,' no?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bruce Steele

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #65 on: November 29, 2014, 05:18:15 PM »
Wili, I think part of the problem with getting fertilizer back out of our modern waste stream is the heavy metals also present, copper and zinc from our plumbing, as well as borax and cleaners that will really screw up your garden. On a small scale it would be possible to plumb a septic system to
irrigate a farm compost system and methodology for concentrating nitrates is available at the link below.
 The pigs I own are valuable because they make fine cured meat products. Dry cured meats don't require refrigeration so when we begin into collapse mode it will require reviving old methods of storing foods. Saltpeter is a necessary ingredient in the curing process to avoid botulism. Plain old salt doesn't work .
 I suppose linking this sort of info will draw attention I'd just as soon avoid but maybe it would be wise to learn some of this info before the lights ( and the Internet ) blink out. I know most people have a hard time imagining such a thing but asking grandpa how things work won't be an option because the time period between when we quit using them and now are too long.  Grandpa was probably drinking beer and watching football ... like the docile drones we are intended to be.

   http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/lecontesalt/leconte.html

wili

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #66 on: November 30, 2014, 12:16:40 AM »
"heavy metals"

That's what I've heard, but I hadn't heard that it can come from the plumbing itself. I was thinking more of a vast adoption of composting toilets, and collecting systems much as we do for trash and recycling.

Interesting about saltpeter. Will you have a reliable source of that? (Maybe that's answered in the link that I haven't looked at yet?)
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

jbatteen

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #67 on: November 30, 2014, 05:06:45 PM »
One of the great secrets of traditional Chinese agriculture is "night soil," composted humanure.  We flush our nutrients down the drain so we can dig up the earth and mine more.  It makes no sense.

On a small scale if you're bringing in stuff from the outside I can see where heavy metals might be a problem, like if you ate a lot of fish with mercury or something, and then put that poop in your system.  But once you've got a closed system I don't think it would be a big deal.  In India they store water in copper containers intentionally for the health effects.  As long as your plumbing is all modern it should be fine.  Stuff from cleaners can be a legit problem but one easily solved by using friendly soaps.

But on a city scale I can see where getting the nutrients out and filtering out junk would be difficult.  I think Wili is right on in mass adoption of composting toilets.  That way hopefully a lot of the junk wouldn't be in there in the first place.

Laurent

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #68 on: December 01, 2014, 11:10:33 AM »
In this video, it is not clear how do they make salpeter from urine.

Andreas T

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #69 on: December 04, 2014, 11:20:16 PM »
There are composting toilet systems operated on a fairly large scale http://www.oursoil.org/

Csnavywx

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #70 on: December 27, 2014, 05:39:00 AM »
I'm late to this thread, but I can offer a small piece of advice on the clover.

Use some yellow clover. My father plants it in his fields for rehabilitation for a few reasons:

It develops a massive and deep root system and resistant to drought.

It fixes nitrogen, but can also draw up nutrients from deep in the earth.

It is literally crack for honeybees. They seriously love the stuff. I can often stand up my father's fields in the spring and early summer and feel the fields hum with the buzzing from all of the honeybees. It's almost surreal.

Neven

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #71 on: December 27, 2014, 10:29:34 PM »
That's another very interesting clover, Csnavywx, thanks.

I planted a couple of different clovers last year (mainly Dutch clover, crimson clover and some clovers in a mix). There are still some patches on our plot that remain bare, mostly where the soil is dry, but things were growing pretty rapidly, also because Summer was pretty wet.

This Fall we planted some more trees, two apples, a cherry, more berry bushes and a couple of hazelnuts. Hopefully we'll have more time to garden this coming season, but I think we'll really get that going in 2016. Our house is nearly finished enough for us to move in, but there's a lot of stuff that needs to be done, like a shed for our bikes and gardening stuff, etc.

I'll order a pack of that yellow clover. The clovers we had and a large abundance of phacelia made our plot a pollinator hot spot.
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Martin Gisser

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #72 on: January 16, 2015, 08:04:37 PM »
Quote
I'm starting to think about how I'm going to cut back the grass/weeds. I'm not sure a lawnmower will do the trick, as I won't be mowing every week. Doing it with a scythe would be cool, but I've done it a couple of times, and still haven't got the hang of it. Guess I will have to learn...  ::)
Quite possibly you got a modern scythe, perhaps even with an aluminium handle? You can forget about most of the so-called scythes sold in the garden supermarkets. If the handle is not wood it is most probably ridicu-lousy junk. That's my experience here in Bavaria. (and also you don't get a decent axe easily.) Best you get a hand-crafted antique one :-)

I just discovered Paul Kingsnorth: Here's a video where you can see him using a real scythe:

All you need is Gelassenheit: Locker durchschwingen. Don't force it, swing it.

Quote
The longer Levin went on mowing, the oftener he experienced those moments of oblivion when his arms no longer seemed to swing the scythe, but the scythe itself his whole body, so conscious and full of life; and as if by magic, regularly and definitely without a thought being given to it, the work accomplished itself of its own accord. These were blessed moments.
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #73 on: February 23, 2015, 02:49:23 AM »
Yesterday's Farming Today on BBC Radio 4, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05329jj

Quote
Anna Hill travels to Cranfield University where scientists are studying the properties of soil - both on the farm and in the lab. This is the UN's International Year of Soils. Today we look at some of the threats, including erosion and degradation from intensive use, and what farmers can do to improve their soils. Anna visits the large-scale experiments set up to research the effects of things like climate change and farm machinery on soil.

28 days left to listen, 27 minutes

Soil health is becoming noticed by the mainstream.

Key participant, Professor Jane Rickson, Professor of Soil Erosion and Conservation, Cranfield Soil and Agrifood Institute. http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/about/people-and-resources/academic-profiles/seea-ac-profile/professor-jane-rj-rickson.html

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Jim Hunt

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #74 on: February 23, 2015, 10:37:47 AM »
I'm afraid Radio 4 aren't in my good books this morning Geoff!

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2015/02/the-greatest-scandal-in-the-history-of-science/
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #75 on: February 24, 2015, 09:08:18 PM »
Jim

I've been complaining about the BBC for years but perhaps SmugBastardsAtTheBeeb.org.uk was a bit OTT. I also tried TweetsToTheBeeb (see http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/tweets-to-the-beeb/).

I'm now trying to be a bit less wild and angry but the two latest BEEB complaints are

http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/complaints-to-the-bbc-about-business-vs-green-bias/

http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/more-complaints-to-the-bbc/

Not sure I succeeded. Unfortunately shouting at the BBC can seem a bit unhinged, even when they are in the wrong.

The Booker piece, "Expert team plans to examine 'adjusted’ temperature data" says

Quote
Although I cannot yet reveal any details, I gather that a responsible foundation is gathering an expert team to do just that. If the results confirm what has already been unearthed by Homewood and other analysts, from the US to New Zealand, this may indeed turn out to have been the greatest scandal in the history of science.


I wonder if the "foundation" is the GWPF?




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Jim Hunt

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #76 on: February 25, 2015, 12:16:01 AM »
I wonder if the "foundation" is the GWPF?

Do they count as "responsible"? I was pondering whether the likes of Rohrabacher and Inhofe are what Booker had in mind? I doubt that they count as "responsible"!

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2015/02/bbc-radio-4-swallows-bookers-bait/

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Bruce Steele

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #77 on: March 09, 2015, 08:04:04 PM »
Nice piece of agriculture science... Changing typical tillage/ farming methods can add carbon to the soil. With the use of a winter cover crop and no-till cotton , tomato summer rotation soil carbon increased from 8.8 to 12.9 tons per acre . On average about a 4.2 tons of carbon increase after eight years.

 http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/conservation-practices-can-help-sequester-carbon-farmland

So crops can still be produced with substantial carbon sequestration results with off the shelf technology.

sidd

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #78 on: March 10, 2015, 04:03:47 AM »
cotton ? cotton ?! cotton !!

stay away from cotton, corn or sugarcane in anything less than a multi multi year rotation. just looking at fertilizer and water requirements for yearly crop sends chills up my spine. hell i'd grow corn b4 cotton or sugarcane ...

Bruce Steele

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #79 on: March 10, 2015, 05:03:25 PM »
Sidd, I believe crop choices would make a difference in the carbon uptake potential of the methods used in this study. That is especially true if you include fertilizer, water, and herbicide uses. The important part however is that methods exist to rebuild soil carbon while still producing crops. Composting would also increase soil carbon but to get decent numbers the energy costs of producing and transportation need to be subtracted. Coppiced trees and char will also increase soil carbon but you lose farmland in the process to grow the trees. There are weather and rainfall constraints on winter cover crop production in many places and many farmers would balk at putting in a cover crop instead of a second food crop in areas that allow year round farming. With all that said the study does quantify carbon uptake and at about one ton CO2 per acre per year with existing crop rotations. We at least have some numbers to work with. Why at this late stage we don't do side by side comparisons of the various methods that we potentially might use with all ff inputs quantified is a mystery to me. This study ran eight years so any future work will need a decade or more to reproduce some better constrained energy input/ carbon sequestration numbers. Growing trees will require even longer timeframes to get good numbers.
 I do put in a cover crop EVERY year although I see very few other farmers doing so. The organic farms around here are slightly more likely to put in a winter cover but I would put the number of those at less than 10%. I don't know anyone who puts in a cover and uses no-till planting locally. I think that method of farming necessitates select sprays for weed control but if that is what's required to get good soil carbon uptake then switching away from organics might be a good idea. Good for the planet IMO but everyone has their priorities and the planet's health isn't really up there on most peoples list.
   

sidd

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #80 on: March 10, 2015, 09:46:48 PM »
I think Rodale has some good data on best ag practices for carbon sequestration

jai mitchell

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #81 on: March 19, 2015, 04:00:00 PM »
In northern California a farmer combines no-till agriculture with heavy (over) composting to produce amazing production and soil water retention results.

http://craftsmanship.net/drought-fighters/#lightbox-soil

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Drought Fighter Could a controversial farmer in California have found the most effective way to grow food in a warming world?



The Drawbacks are that traditional agriculturalists believe that his methods leads to increased N2O Runoff, however there is significant anecdotal and peer reviewed evidence that increased woody pulp material in compost reduces NOx runoff see:  http://www.fondriest.com/news/cornell-scientists-wood-chip-filters-ould-key-cutting-nitrate-runoff.htm

and there is new and growing research that suggests that biochar will work to completely remove the NOx waste issue.   see: http://www.nature.com/srep/2013/130425/srep01732/full/srep01732.html

http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/v8/n3/full/ismej2013160a.html

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0038071712004142

http://www.iuss.org/19th%20WCSS/Symposium/pdf/2363.pdf (pdf)

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/229060169_The_effect_of_biochar_addition_on_N2O_and_CO2_emissions_from_a_sandy_loam_soil__The_role_of_soil_aeration

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Martin Gisser

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #82 on: March 19, 2015, 11:21:24 PM »
In northern California a farmer combines no-till agriculture with heavy (over) composting to produce amazing production and soil water retention results.

http://craftsmanship.net/drought-fighters/#lightbox-soil
Excellent article! The man has 2 important visions:
1) Drown weeds in mulch and compost! (But, well, it's not easy to get enough of it.)
2) Networks of small-scale farms close to the city! (Unemployment might not be a big enough problem in California. But there are  other, poorer places where an enlightened return to the small-scale farms of old could be hugely beneficial to society plus environment.)

The paradigmatic example for 2) is linked from the article: http://craftsmanship.net/cubas-harvest-surprises/

johnm33

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #83 on: January 17, 2018, 07:26:54 PM »
Interesting post on conservation agriculture, could also be called recovery agriculture, i particularly like the intense grazing period introduced into the system. http://mtkass.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/conservation-agriculture.html

Bruce Steele

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #84 on: January 17, 2018, 08:38:35 PM »
Johnm33, I agree with most of the soil health recommendations in the article you posted. There are of course issues with how to economically run a farm if you try to employ these techniques. 1) If you put animals on your crops to consume the cover-crop or vegative plant fodder you can't legally harvest any crops for nine months. It used to be three months but the rules changed due to food safety concerns and now you basically loose an entire season if you graze animals.2) Seed drills are currently used in commercial agriculture but they invariably also utilize herbicides to control weeds. GMO's are designed to be sprayed with roundup so farmers can avoid cultivation. It is probably more energy efficient to drill and spray and our dependence upon corn and soy GMO's would be far less had we continued with something closer to conventional farm practices of fifty years ago. 3) Controling weeds without  herbicides, select sprays, pre emergent sprays, or cultivation is virtually impossible unless you hire people with hoes to scour your fields every few weeks with hoes. Labor costs are preventative. Yes you can pull off weed control on a garden scale but even then crabgrass, devil grass, morning glory or any weed that spreads with rhizomes will crush even a very dedicated gardener.
 I think food safety , the USDA and squeamish picky consumer preferences are far larger concerns to commercial ag than soil health. I can't even find an insurance company to cover my farm if I raise both vegetables and pigs on the same farm. The consumers and the insurance industry have prescribed the chemical dependence that defines modern agriculture. As long as the fossil fuels hold out farmers will pour on the fertilizers ,fungicides and pesticides. The groceries will appear in the picture perfect grocery store abundance we are all so used to and the soil carbon sinks will continue belching out CO2
 Grow your own food and become responsible for the soil that supports your sustenance. Learn to farm without fossil fuels. Love your animals and sustain the health of your little piece of paradise.

https://gaps.cornell.edu/educational-materials/decision-trees/soil-amendments

See FSMA signed into law 2011
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 10:04:14 PM by Bruce Steele »

sidd

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #85 on: February 06, 2019, 07:22:10 AM »
Re: If you put animals on your crops to consume the cover-crop or vegative plant fodder you can't legally harvest any crops for nine months.

Mmm. depends if you intend to sell those crops for human consumption. And i think chickens are a shorter period.

sidd

vox_mundi

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #86 on: February 11, 2019, 04:38:02 PM »
Regenerative Agriculture Can Make Farmers Stewards of the Land Again
https://phys.org/news/2019-02-regenerative-agriculture-farmers-stewards.html


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Bruce Steele

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #87 on: February 12, 2019, 02:04:57 AM »
Native prairie sinks carbon but it was always dependent upon grazing pressure from bison or other species prior to 15,000 years ago to really preform well as a functioning ecosystem. Take away the ruminants , mastodon etc. and I don't believe it would sink carbon as effectively and likely would switch to scrub, or forest or something else. Forests also sink carbon but support a whole different set of animals and in my opinion less animal biomass and less carrying capacity for humans.  So too a healthy farm that can support healthy soils are dependent upon animals or they transform into something closer to the food forests that biodynamics promotes with the same reduction in human food potential.
The current agricultural norms support huge human carrying  capacity at the expense of most other living species and the carbon retention capacity of the soil.
 I have tried to be a vegetable farmer and honestly even with annual cover crops the soil was in decline. Composting from farm sourced feedstocks is very very difficult and energy intensive. It works at a garden scale but scaling it up to acreage isn't really feasible and I can't think of a single example of anyone doing so. Every farm I know uses either fossil fuel fertilizer or purchased organic fertilizer and neither option is energy inefficient.
 Animals offer an alternative and for my farm they help improve the soil and provide a better wage.
Idealists would prefer another option without offering any working examples. Our challenge as farmers is how to run a farm with minimal fossil fuels, sink carbon, maintain native plants and animals , and make some kind of monetary gains( or just stay even ). Vegetable farming is none of the above.
 As an aside I really like animals and for the most part they like me. Humans are a different breed, so hard to satisfy, so hard to please, so demanding, and so out of touch with nature.

Martin Gisser

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #88 on: February 15, 2019, 02:22:01 AM »
Help! Niederbayern, Germany: Spring is coming, and my landlord plans to once again hire a farmer to plow over the almost dead field and sow nonnative annual flowers for his bees... Time to stop this madness. -- But I have no idea of beekeeping and what to sow and where to get good seeds in quantity. Are there any native seeds we could simply spread without disturbing the soil? It's clay soil, so we could make seedballs in the concrete mixer, but I bet it's way too much work for 3000m².

Recommendations?

vox_mundi

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #89 on: February 15, 2019, 04:26:34 AM »
In the U.S. I've found Prairie Moon nursery to be a good source for pollinator friendly seeds mixes. They include larval food sources along with grasses and perennial nectar sources.

The seed mixes are targeted for specific soil types with the goal of improving the soil ecosystem. They also sell in bulk

https://www.prairiemoon.com/seed-mixes/

https://www.prairiemoon.com/tallgrass-exposed-clay-subsoil-seed-mix-prairie-moon-nursery.html

https://www.prairiemoon.com/insectopia-prairie-seed-mix-prairie-moon-nursery.html

https://www.prairiemoon.com/pollinator-palooza-prairie-seed-mix-prairie-moon-nursery.html

https://www.prairiemoon.com/pollinator-favorites/

The Xerxes Society is also a good source for info and sources ...

https://xerces.org

I don't know what is available or native in the E.U.

Hope this helps, Good luck

Edit: Depending on the seed, simply spreading seeds is usually an expensive way of feeding the birds. It might require raking them in a bit.

For E.U sources  http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/pollinators/documents/ieep_2017_pollinator_initiatives_in_eu_member_states.pdf
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 04:47:17 AM by vox_mundi »
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Sebastian Jones

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #90 on: February 15, 2019, 05:53:25 AM »
Planting for bee food seems fairly innocuous. Perennials of course would be better, if bee raising is his aim. Somewhere upthread, or elsewhere on the forum was a suggestion of Mellilotus Albans- wait, they said Yellow  Clover, but white and yellow sweet clover are basically the same. Strictly speaking it is a biennial, but as was pointed out, it has strong roots and fixes nitrogen. The main caveat is that it can become invasive if it is not native to the area. It produces so many seeds that you would never need to plant again. But, the simplest solution would be to leave it fallow, and allow native forbs to grow.

Neven

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Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« Reply #91 on: February 15, 2019, 08:21:48 AM »
I'm sure you have checked Reinsaat. Don't they have anything?
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