Bryant RedHawk

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since May 15, 2014
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Part Nakota, part Irish. The Nakota took over long ago but still lives in two worlds, the European world and the first people's world. He lives on a small (15 + acres) piece of mother earth deep in the woods. Was trained in the cooper's arts as a child, since the family owned a cooperage. He has been a carpenter, and timber wright but love all aspects of farming.He holds a BS in Chemistry and Biology and a MS in Horticulture. Worked for the USDA for 16 years. Currently working on his PHD in Microbiology, the thesis is plant communication through the micro-biosphere network. Redhawk and his wife Wolf are setting up to be fully self sustaining, growing all their own foods and collecting rain water. "Soon we will be self sustaining and closer to being off the grid" he said when asked about future plans. They continue their own research both in Agriculture and soils with the hope to make the world more like it used to be, before mankind began screwing up the Earth Mother. This is the only way humankind will survive, we must fix what we have broken.
Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Recent posts by Bryant RedHawk

Sure James, when the H2O2 breaks down it does create one water molecule and one free radical oxygen, which, as Timothy brought up does bond to another free radical oxygen forming O2.
Our lovely bacteria, fungi and most of the other soil microorganisms are capable of using a single oxygen but it is charged so they generally wait for that bonding to occur before they use the oxygen we just injected by using very dilute H2O2.
Some of the positively charged oxygen atoms will bond with other minerals instead but once again, our micro friends will then be able to utilize those minerals better because of those bonds forming.
For us it is a win/win for the microbiome it is a win/win that also benefits the plant roots.

A freshly opened bottle of 3% medical H2O2 will break down completely into water and free oxygen within 3 months. In the lab we actually poke a hole in the cap and label when it was opened so we know when to discard it.

The dilution of H2O2 is all important since even a 0.5% dilution can destroy fungi and bacteria.
The only time I've ever seen peroxide used for cleaning a greenhouse was some orchard houses that had sealed concrete floors with included drains.
The EPA was not impressed when their testing showed this company was using 10% H2O2 for cleaning.
8 hours ago

Alex McQueen wrote:My neighbour just built herself a greenhouse where her chickens used to be housed. She informed me that she's now watering the whole ground inside with peroxide to help kill off any molds or fungi because they're very common issues in greenhouses.
I questioned her about soil diversity and killing it off. She says it's actually beneficial and also puts oxygen into the soil.

Anyone heard of this?

Timothy and Stephen have brought up not only the why to use it (H2O2) but also the all important how much to dilute it.
Hydrogen peroxide you buy for cleaning cuts is 3% H2O2, for gardening purposes or soil remediation purposes you want to dilute that by 1:10 for a .3% solution, this level will not harm the biosphere organisms and will indeed help them thrive.

I can understand wanting to scrub the coop walls but I would do nothing to the soil floor.
Excessive moisture and heat are the creators of problems in greenhouses, the conditions are perfect for molds to grow, but only a few molds are problematic to plants and humans, so wiping with a sponge is far better since it keeps the moisture level down far more than any other method.
If she is wanting to grow foods in that greenhouse, she really doesn't want to kill any fungi that is in the soil, nor does she want to kill the molds, if you kill those organisms, you have killed off all the microbiome except the viruses.

9 hours ago
The polymer in disposable diapers can be used for water holding in soil but I would not put it into the ground, It is easier to contain in container plantings and that way you aren't contaminating your soil, just the potted soil.

As Mike brought up, it is considered a plastic, so using it is up to you. I would rather see people use expanded mica (vermiculite) as a water holding component, that way you are just using a mineral found in nature instead of a manmade particle.

9 hours ago
Most pH "kits" will have a bottle of universal indicator included which is considered a "rough" test.
What that means is that it is going to get you in the ball park but it isn't going to be necessarily anywhere near accurate.

The caveat is that unless you are willing to spend a minimum of 60 dollars for a "stick type pH tester" you are not going to get accurate results.
In soil labs we use calibrated pH testers that usually cost around 200 minimum  and up to around 500 dollars by the time you have the tester, the probe, the calibration fluid the washing bottle and the neutral storage fluid and bottle to hold the probe in the Neutral solution.

Kits tend to look to me like pool testing kits, you will get "close enough" results but you might be out by a full point.

Wikipedia pH page
This url is a good explanation about pH testing.


11 hours ago

julian Gerona wrote:Dr Redhawk, Is it correct to say that we want a vigorous fungi under the soil. after all its the connection of plants to soil. then we want varieties of aerobic bacteria for the fungi to chew upon.

I would say that is correct enough.
I am glad you watched Suzanne's talk on plant communication, it isn't limited to trees only though, and there is lots of cross communication going on through the fungal network as well.

15 hours ago
Kelp powder is simply dried kelp that has been pulverized, I would prefer to use shredded fresh kelp that still had the moisture of the sea with it.
Sea water is a very misunderstood item when it comes to soil born plants, many think that because sea water is salty that it will turn soil saline, this is only true if you were to saturate the soil for a long period of time.
When I lived in Los Angeles California I did my first sea water experiments on plants.
What I discovered was that if I used sea water on my vegetable garden once a week, it would indeed start to show signs of being salinized within two months.
If I simply diluted the sea water 1:1 with fresh water and used that to water the vegetable garden, there was no build up of salts but the plants grew great and the fruits tasted far better than those that didn't get the sea water at all.

Now I know that this was because freshly dehydrated sea water yields sea salt that can have up to 97 minerals in its composition, land only has around 69 minerals (not absolute but close enough), that means that even the best land grown foods will be probably lacking some of the nutritional values possible.
That doesn't mean that we should go crazy and buy sea water, but it does show that by using sea salt that hasn't been purified as an amendment (similar to using Epsom salts) there are bound to be benefits to us the consumer and the plants.
It also helps the microbiome organisms since they can now get the minerals that they would be lacking without the addition of a little sea salt.

Since you have access to fresh kelp, I'd use it as long as I chopped it up both as a mulch and as an in-soil amendment.

16 hours ago
I have to agree with fearless leader here, 90% to 95% loss of mass volume seems spot on.
I compost mostly manures mixed with lots of straw, twigs and leaves.
A 4 foot cube will reduce in 90 days to a 4x4x2 foot area, the soil under this mass will be totally awesome soil, very soft, full of worms and with a microbiome that is hard to measure because it is so stacked with bacteria, fungi and all the other good critters that it is very hard to count them.
Because of this I usually build heaps where I want to plant once the compost is ready, most of my compost goes around the orchard trees, except for the small amount (2 inches) that I leave for mulch on the new garden plot.
Over the years I've tried lots of methods and finally settled on this one for best fit all around.

If you use a scale and weigh your starting heap and your finished heap, the mass retains about 70% by weight dry, but volume shrinks tremendously no matter if you turn it or not.

I did a side by side way back in 1983 with two identical heaps that were 4' cubes, one turned and the other left alone.
Starting weights were 115.76 lbs. and 115.78 lbs. end weights were both 80 lbs.
Both heaps were layered with each layer being compressed with a 40 lb. flat tamper, then allowed to spring back for 1 hour before the next layer went on, this was repeated until the cubes were level full.
Layers were 14 inches thick before compressing with the tamper.
The components were; dried cow chips, fresh from a square bale straw, fresh cut grass clippings.
Each layer was misted via watering head and hose after compression.
The trial went on for 90 days with the turned subject cube being turned once every two weeks throughout the trial period.
At the end of the 90 days neither cube was sieved.
cubes were 1 inch thick pine lumber and they were weighed at start and finish with a certified truck scale.

I was actually surprised at the end results, I had anticipated the unturned cube to be less completely decomposed and to weigh more than the turned cube, I was wrong in that anticipation.

Error, I said mass when it should have been volume (the strike through)
2 days ago
silica gel and silica packets are not pure Silica (mineral) these are products used to adsorb water molecules in packaging.

The easiest to find source of silica is beach sand (find the crystal clear particles and you are looking at pure silica).

Steiner wanted us to grind quartz (second hardest mineral on planet earth) into fine particles, this is rather difficult at best and the equipment is expensive to do enough of it.

While I appreciate those who want to follow Steiner to the letter, my own experiments with the preparations has shown that my methods work and produce a similar enough material that all the difficult to find items can be eliminated unless you just have to follow his methods exactly.
I don't operate within those constraints simply because the science shows it isn't necessary to go by what a trademarked company says. (biodynamic is nothing more than a company that registered the name and only they can use it, so if you must limit yourself, be my guest).

I would locate some good cow manure from a cattle station or perhaps even a sheep station, use mason jars and give the preps a go. You might like the end results.

hau Cesca,
Why rice? well the IMO techniques come from Korea and Korea has a lot of rice being grown every year.
Rice is also very starchy and when you cook it those starches gelatinize and then the bacteria can turn those starch molecules into sugars.

Rice eating organisms happen to be good for soil since they are mostly the right bacteria, fungi and molds which we want in our soil.

Mycorrhizae are not as species specific as many questionable sources will tell you they are.
Most of the really good (made by mushroom people) mycorrhizae products will have a broad spectrum of species of both exo and endo mycorrhizae so that you will most certainly have several species that will work with your plants and trees.

Now, yes you can use oats, wheat, barley, even corn that has been cooked as gathering mediums for IMO purposes and they will work just fine.


Ralph Kettell wrote:I am curious if anyone here on permies has done any comparisons on the available varieties of comfrey.  I have acquired both the Bocking 4 and 14 strains and they are getting started nicely.  I am still trying to figure out how best to keep them segregated. Also  how to allow the deer to eat some of the growth on the Bocking 4 stain which supposedly can be used for fodder while not allowing them to kill it.  I realize that once it is established even a large herd of deer probably couldn't kill it, but I am talking about until it is well established.  I have some ideas about cages to allow it to grow through but protect it closest to the ground.  I just haven't come up with what I yet consider a really creative and reliable means of doing this.


Instead of just planting comfrey you might want to consider a mixed planting of alfalfa, field peas, rape, buckwheat, hairy vetch, sweet clover, crimson clover (no red clover for deer) and maybe even add in some annual rye.
This sort of cover planting will withstand feeding pressure faster and over a longer period of time, plus you will have lots of roots working their magic on the soil.

2 days ago