Thanks for sharing this. I browsed through and didn't see anything on Quinoa, maybe it would be a good cash crop/calorie crop for saline soils? We need heat tolerant varieties for wider spread adoption though.
"...many varieties can grow in salt concentrations as high as those found in seawater (40 mS cm−1), and four lines have been identified with even higher tolerance."
Do we know that gypsum when added will do nothing useful in sandy soil? It has some properties unrelated to CEC or soil nutrients, e.g. making aluminum insoluble.
How do we know that anything added will be leached in a sandy soil? Isn't calcium relatively insoluble? Wouldn't dealing with sub soil problems require some leaching? Is a high CEC bad is this context? How do we know it's harmful to oceans or watersheds? Maybe there is clay in the subsoil, who knows.. There are clearly conflicting claims out there, even just regarding Al specifically :
"Gypsum can increase leaching of aluminum, which can detoxify soils but also contaminates
"The application of gypsum or lime + gypsum lowered the levels of exchangeable Al; also, the low proportion of Al in outflow solutions suggests the immobilization of Al as a solid phase. Except for exchangeable Al, the gypsum amendment increases the proportion of all forms of Al extracted (bound to organic matter, sorbed to, oxalate and citrate) with various selected reagents relative to unamended samples. The amount of Al extracted increases with increase of gypsum added. The gypsum or lime + gypsum amendments increased soil productivity."
Also, the importance of being holistic and thorough - like Coleman or Soloman are - isn't lost on me. But I never planned on using this area for vegetables; I was thinking cover crops, sweet potatoes, millet or some other easy to grow crop that I have experience with. I already have vegetables gardens with mulch and cover crops being used in other places.
"...Even after 16 yr, the gypsum effects were still clearly visible. Exchangeable Ca and SO4 were higher down the soil profile in the gypsum than in the control treatment. A complementary reduction in exchangeable Al was observed in the gypsum treatment to the 80-cm depth. However, pH was not greatly altered down the profile. This amelioration of the effects of subsoil acidity was reflected in improved crop yields of both corn (29–50%) and alfalfa (≈50%) on the gypsum treatments. Because the gypsum effect is so long-lasting, its use as a subsoil acidity ameliorant becomes highly economic because the initially high cost can be amortized over an extended period of time."
I'm wondering if an area of pure sand next to my field would benefit from gypsum. Most people talk about gypsum for clay soil, sodic soil, mineral deficient soil etc. but what about acidic sand? This soil is very deep, I dug down 3-4 feet and it only changed from brown sand to tan sand. Isn't this an advantage in that the roots can grow deeper than in a typical soil? This is where the gypsum comes in; studies show it can get into subsoils and alleviate Al toxicity, allowing roots to grow deeper and yields to increase. I'm hoping for a fertility boost, as the soil definitely needs one. I've never met or heard from anyone who has tried this though.
Is the weed mat reusable? Some are and some aren't I guess, but I've never used any. I've seen old rugs, pool tarps, rubber mulch, etc. but I don't have that sort of stuff lying around, I'd probably have to check the dump for those types of things.
That weed mat is fancy! I tried a similar experiment this spring as well; I threw approximately one hundred left-over winter squash seeds into a pile of half decayed mulch and then covered it with newer straw. I figured some of the plants wouldn't make it through the straw, so I over-planted the patch on purpose. I thought that if it worked it would be a convenient method, since all I would need would be the straw. I planted in early May and got 0% germination for a few weeks. So I gave up and dug a straight line through the mulch pile, exposed the soil, and planted into the resultant mulch-canyon. As of June 8th, the two piles of mulch to either side of the bare row have dozens of squash plants growing in them! My theory is that the mulch kept everything cool and slowed the germination, then when it got warm out in June they "woke up".
We should have a giant squash competition. I believe it's reasonable to expect at least a few 400 lb. squash on my end. Butternuts get that big for sure...
I don't know anything about desert mulching, but you mentioned legumes... If you wanted to try an experiment, then growing Moth bean as an annual ground cover might be interesting. Since it's a living ground cover it won't desiccate quickly like mulch would :
Potatoes grown without tilling; works well on bad soil in need of organic matter or un-tilled lawns :
I wouldn't worry about trying to find ways of maintaining the ground-cover, if your soil is infertile you likely have no soil life or soil carbon to lose from tillage.
Sweet potatoes can grow well in sandy soil with little water. I've heard farmers here in Maine say they plant them in sandy areas simply because they can't get anything else to grow in such soil.
Taro and sweet potatoes might grow well for you, in the same ways as the squash and potatoes linked to above. Even though Taro is grown in standing water typically, many people use dryland techniques. You might have to water them though.
You could try seeding winter rye into a lawn. They sell it at hardware stores around here..
If you have bare or disturbed soil, then a grain amaranth could grow there since that's it's usual niche! It germinates on the surface.
"Candida infection" is more likely a general kind of immune deficiency, with lowered IgA. Various things, like inflammation and suppressed thyroid function, correlate with lower IgA and probably allow for the fungal overgrowth.
I've heard of people using sharpened shovels for this sort of thing. You could also try using nitrogen to help the roots break down faster, inoculating the hugelbed with leafmold from nearby woods, or just burying the roots very deep in the soil - those things might help it breakdown faster too.
I deal with lots of shrubs, thorns, perennial weeds etc. and I always find that if they grow through a raised bed or hugelbed that has been mulched and planted it's pretty obvious. It's like on sesame street; "one of these things is not like the other things..."
Once a large perennial plant pops though, I wait until it's put some energy into the new shoots and then I go at it with a pair of garden shears.
Also, I'm not being condescending with the sesame street stuff, this is just how my mind works.
"I even heard Paul mention in one of his podcasts about how when the water seeps through the soil it will pull fresh air in behind it! I thought this was astounding because I know nitrogen is in air. So does the nitrogen get pulled into the soil this way too Anybody I am really curious. Is air fertilizer?" - Marty
To answer your question about nitrogen from air/rainfall : "Rainfall adds about 10 pounds of nitrogen to the soil per acre per year."
Also interesting to me; anaerobic soil loses it's nitrogen through denitrification. Microorganisms convert nitrogen to it's ammonium form which can be held in place, i.e. not leached out, because of the cation exchange capacity of clay and organic matter since ammonium is a positively charged ion. Once nitrogen is in the nitrate form it is negatively changed and can leach out of the soil.
Ok, so as far as Phosphorus is concerned, what Elaine Ingham says seems to be true :
"The inorganic phosphate compounds in this fixed P pool are more crystalline in their structure and less soluble than those compounds considered to be in the active P pool. Some slow conversion between the fixed P pool and the active P pool does occur in soils."
"Soils may contain several hundred to several thousand pounds of phosphate per acre. However, much of the phosphate in soils is not available to growing plants. Phosphate in the soil solution P pool is immediately available but the amount is very small in comparison to the total P in soils."
Where is the data that shows the insoluble and soluble minerals in soils? If a soil had very low levels of minerals available in soluble forms but the parent material had lots, then the idea is pretty much confirmed, right?
The official story is that for pelletized lime it's just coated in lignosulphonate, haven't heard about gypsum but I imagine it's the same. My pelletized lime DOES look like poop though haha - maybe Thomas is right.
I am not sure that pine needles are acidic, e.g. "The third test consisted of soil that is under a ten to twelve inch layer of six month old pine straw mulch located under three 50 year old pine trees that have continually bombarded the soil with slightly acidic pine needle s. The initial expectation prior to this third test was the soil would be highly acidic with a pH lower than the results in the first two tests. The actual test revealed a pH of 7.4, the same as the area with five to six inches of one year old decomposed straw."
I think a good way describe it would be "Academic Authoritarian".
"A few patterns, formulated in language, are substituted for the processes of exploration through metaphorical thinking. In the first stages of learning, the process is expansive and metaphorical. If a question is closed by an answer in the form of a rule that must be followed, subsequent learning can only be analytical and deductive.
Learning of this sort is always a system of closed compartments, though one system might occasionally be exchanged for another, in a “conversion experience.”
The exploratory analogical mind is able to form broad generalizations and to make deductions from those, but the validity of the generalization is always in a process of being tested. Both the deduction and the generalization are constantly open to revision in accordance with the available evidence.
If there were infallible authorities who set down general rules, language and knowledge could be idealized and made mathematically precise. In their absence, intelligence is necessary, but the authorities who would be infallible devise ways to confine and control intelligence, so that, with the mastery of a language, the growth of intelligence usually stops."
"...with the substitution of deductive reasoning for metaphorical-analogical thinking, the natural pleasures of mental exploration and creation are lost, and a new kind of personality and character has come into existence. "
Some people who are William Albrecht followers promote magnesium for "tightening up" sandy soil and Lime for "Loosening up" clay. I haven't heard them recommend gypsum though, which seems strange since it doesn't change PH as much and just raises calcium - exactly what they are usually trying to do.
Anyway, If someone has compacted clay that needs the structural "loosening", i.e. better drainage, is gypsum a better choice over lime assuming that they both do in fact loosen the clay? Or would the PH raising effect of the lime not matter? Would the slightly higher cost of gypsum be a waste of money?
Here are a couple of typical Albrecht inspired articles (anyone with better articles be sure to post them!) but there is no mention of gypsum in them:
"The rapid degradation of juglone and other suspected allelochemicals by soil bacteria make it unlikely that these compounds are important mediators of plant-plant interactions under natural conditions. " http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24276429
And another report claimed that soil bacteria and fungi can reduce oxidative stress from drought and excess salinity (although, as far as I know, this is in plants and not germinating seeds specifically) :
"Co-inoculation of lettuce ( Lactuca sativa L.) with PGPR Pseudomonas mendocina and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi ( Glomus intraradices or G. mosseae ) augmented an antioxidant catalase under severe drought conditions, suggesting that they can be used in inoculants to alleviate the oxidative damage elicited by drought."
I plant sunflowers with grains and vegetables and the effect is minimal in my opinion. Probably just due to the nitrogen and nutrient hogging, and some shade production. I wouldn't hesitate to plant pretty much anything with sunflowers or after them, or to use sunflower stalks as mulch with other plants, but maybe other people have had crop failures they would like to share.
We shouldn't dismiss everything observational on the grounds of "correlation isn't necessarily causation". I was going to propose that the glyphosate is simply a proxy for stressful growing conditions for the crop, the implication being that it's just a statistical association rather than a direct health risk, but it turns out the glyphosate itself is possibly estrogenic : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23756170
Monsanto makes round-up and previously worked with the department :
"Agent Orange was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical. It was given its name from the color of the orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped, and was by far the most widely used of the so-called "Rainbow Herbicides". The 2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), an extremely toxic dioxin compound. In some areas, TCDD concentrations in soil and water were hundreds of times greater than the levels considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange
It's likely that the studies are engineered to produce the desired results in both cases. In-vitro studies...
"The two main classes of plant allergens are the stress-induced chitinases, and seed storage proteins, such as gluten. The chitinase allergens are responsible for reactions to latex (which is secreted by rubber trees in reaction to a wound), bananas, avocados, many other fruits and vegetables, and some types of wood and other plant materials. Intensive agricultural methods are increasing the formation of the defensive chemicals, and the industrialized crops are responsible for the great majority of the new allergies that have appeared in the last 30 years.
The presence of the chitinase family of proteins in humans was first discovered in the inflamed asthmatic lung. It was then found at high levels in the uterine endometrium at the time of implantation of the embryo (an inflammation-like situation) and in the uterus during premature labor. Since estrogen treatment is known to increase the incidence of asthma and other inflammations, the appearance of chitinase also in the uterus in estrogen dominated conditions is interesting, especially when the role of estrogen in celiac disease (in effect an allergy to gluten) is considered. Celiac disease is more prevalent among females, and it involves the immunological cross-reaction to an antigen in the estrogen-regulated transglutaminase enzyme and the gluten protein. The (calcium-regulated) transglutaminase enzyme is involved in the cross-linking of proteins in keratinized cells, in fibrotic processes in the liver, and in cancer. (People with celiac disease often suffer from osteoporosis and urinary stone deposition, showing a general problem with calcium regulation.)
This means that estrogen and stress cause the appearance of antigens in the human or animal tissues that are essentially the same as the stress-induced and defensive proteins in plant tissues. A crocodile might experience the same sort of allergic reaction when eating estrogen-treated women and when eating commercial bananas." http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/milk.shtml
Holzer and Fukuoka generally have different views regarding work; Fukuoka seems to like Low labor, low risk, low reward techniques like scattering seedballs and Holzer has a preference for lots of direction and labor and big projects, though that might be a generalization on my part. Their approaches aren't mutually exclusive in my opinion; I like to have active projects and passive observation going at the same time, all the time.
Even in my relatively short teaching career I've noticed the difference in the students who come through - shortening attention spans, addictive and compulsive behaviours...
There are some experiments showing that various neurotransmitters and hormones can cause/contribute to, or block, excitotoxicity, which kills nerve cells and causes behavioral, learning, and motor impairments. In the animal studies, early life excitotoxic lesions in the brain can make rats run around in circles or develop states similar to schizophrenia. It's a pretty general thing, so I don't know all the details.. but it seems like children are increasingly excessively stressed, stimulated, compulsive, etc. and it might not just be the abundance of stimulation from phones and such, but an increased susceptibility to develop, or have already, pathological changes in their nervous systems. This comparison is speculative, but interesting to me..
This is all theoretical, but here it goes: Bitcoin will probably be a victim of intense speculative influence. Paper currencies associated with a government will have backing by that government's allies and trading partners, with the intent of keeping the currency, and subsequently it's government, stable. A wealthy country might bail out a smaller one, so that it doesn't have to default on it's debts. I'm guessing central banks try to give currencies at least an appearance of stability as well. The USD is a good example, because it's the global reserve currency. The US is *relatively stable* compared to some other countries, and so by default people invest in the USD. It's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy; with more influence comes more wealth to influence things with. Without all the influences that a regular currency has, bitcoin seems kind of untethered.. Who knows what it will do.
I don't really know what intrinsic value is exactly, just to let y'all know ahead of time:
I think fiat currency has an intrinsic value, as a medium of exchange, regardless of it's current, past, or future buying power. This money stuff is not entirely arbitrary; gold and paper currencies have been used not because of some large scale mistake or misunderstanding, but because gold never rusts, it's identifiable, it's rare, and so it makes a good store of value compared to other things, and paper money works great as a medium of exchange, much better than gold. Could be the morning caffeine speaking though.
I don't think there is an understanding of the etiology of autism. Autism is often diagnosed by symptoms alone. So it's probably not a good place to look if we want to be objective.
The idea that we've been exposed to toxins for generations and so it's probably not a big deal, doesn't take into consideration trans-generational and epigentic effects. Barbara McClintock showed that in Maize the expression of genes would change depending on the environment it was grown in.
"How do these companies get to poison us and our children?" It's probably because people are assumed innocent until proven guilty, and so these companies simply deny that there is evidence of harm until it's not deniable and people are dead. Caution is relatively unprofitable I guess? If the choice is protecting long term health vs. having jobs, people almost always choose to have jobs.
When I used squash as a ground cover last year, sometimes planting enough to cover the ground between rows of Maize, it became impossible to walk through in places. Unfortunately we have Squash Bugs (Anasa Tristis) that would breed in the areas that I couldn't get to and they'd ruin/kill a lot of the plants. A better choice is to use the bush winter squashes, like Golden Nugget, you can actually have paths and rows and get at the Squash Bugs easily since they have less vine to hide on. I haven't tried yet, but a shorter type of Maize might provide enough sun to allow alternating rows or Squash and Maize. I'm thinking popcorn or Mandan Bride Flour.
When I planted Beans at the base of my Dent Corn last year, the Beans died. The soil is acidic here, so I think that's the problem.
Due to the stratified layers of the beds, the long time frame of decomposition, fungal activity etc. they will be hard to measure and analyze - however, comparing the nutrients in a crop grown in a hugelbed to the same crop in a control bed might be practical, no?