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s. lowe

pollinator
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since Jul 05, 2017
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Recent posts by s. lowe

Glen Kowalski wrote:Sorry for the lack of updates work and life have been hectic.  The new recipe was/is 40 lbs of alfalfa pellets 40 lbs of coffee grounds about 12 lbs of bananas and kitchen scraps and an equal amount by volume of pine wood shavings.  The pile got hot in 2 days and stayed around 135-145 degrees for almost 3 weeks.  It has since cooled and I haven't been able to get it to reheat yet.  



Just to put it in perspective for you Glen, NOP standards say that compost must be held above 131 F for 3 days, and I have spoken to large scale compost producers (100s of cubic yards produced per year) and the general sense is that the piles should heat up within 72 hours and should be kept above that 131F for 2 weeks. So it would seem that this last experiment of yours is functioning very well, way to go!
8 hours ago
My first thoughts on this are that to have a stem of dino that was able to survive the grafting you would have to already have a pretty substantial dino plant. So at that point what is the benefit of grafting?
Second thought, I'm not aware of anyone ever having done this or tried it so, hey, you might be on to something.
Third thought, why not try breeding your dino kale into your tree collards and produce a tree collard type grower with dino kale type flavor?
you can run the breeding and grafting projects in parallell and see which one works out better first?
4 days ago
you've truly gone to another realm. what a bizarre place, especially to find a fruit.

Did you only eat the two? have you eaten it before? Super interesting, thanks for sharing a new-to-me species
4 days ago
I appreciate all of the great suggestions in here. I found some 30% acetic vinegar at the hardware store and will try that first. If it doesn't work we can just dilute it and use it as a cleaner in the house. Flame weeding is out because there is fuel storage in the area and it is semi enclosed behind a residence. Tilling is out for similar reasons, it is a small crowded space and while hoeing might be adequate it would be a real pain in the arse. Like Su Ba I imagine that I won't be spreading tons of the stuff all over but rather targeting small shoots as they emerge. It's primarily a problem of blackberry vines coming up from the neighbors completely unkempt yard, impinging into what is basically our tool shed.
1 week ago
[quote=Bryant RedHawk]You can buy higher percentage acetic acid at places that supply industry (up to 90% concentration acids can be found from some industrial supply companies).

Other places to locate higher molar acids and bases are scientific supply companies, If you have a local high school, you might be able to locate where the science teacher orders supplies from. If you have a local college, bingo, the chemistry department will have a source for certain.

All acids that are 2 molar and higher concentrations have the ability to do serious damage to human skin, eyes, clothing, etc. Wearing a rubberized apron, boots, gloves, eye shield, head cover is advisable any time you are handling such corrosive items.

Redhawk[/quote]
Yikes Dr Redhawk, as a rule I try to keep caustic substances out of my garden, I think I'll seek out some 20-30% acetic vinegar and experiment with dilution. Although it's good to know where to look for a true "nuclear" option!
Adding on to that, with any extreme acid or base effectively destroy foliage? I've sprayed ph 10 water as a fungicide before and it didn't seem to harm to leaves
1 week ago
There's an interesting book that acres USA just published recently called "humusphere" and in it the author (who lives and gardens in Norway) talks broadly about building so organic matter. The most interesting suggestions he put forth were using "green mulch" (basically grass clippings and the like) as mulch during the summer and then covering your beds with a thick layer of green mulch (in this case small tree branches that still have their leaves and longer pieces of grass) before the frosts come in earnest.
Exactly like you surmised, he claims it makes a bit of a refuge for school biota and provides some food through the winter. He also recommended blending up your uncooked kitchen waste with enough water to make a slurry and spreading that over the dormant beds.
It's definitely an interesting read for anyone interested in that sort of thing and it aligns broadly with the most common winter garden advice that I see which is basically to mulch heavily. The major difference is that he advocates using green material as opposed to brown
1 week ago

James Freyr wrote:The vinegar trick does work, and I'll share my experience using it. I have used not grocery store vinegar but 10% and 15% acetic acid vinegars, with a little dish soap as a surfactant. It works, it's non-selective, burning most everything it contacts. "weeds" tend to die, grasses on the other hand seem to relentlessly recover, requiring regular reapplication during the warm months. I have come across in the past a few things that seemed to have a particular sort of waxy leaf surface, and my vinegar spray just beaded up and rolled off the leaves. It seems to work best when applied late morning on a bright sunny day having a full afternoon to wither and dehydrate.


Where do you find these higher percentage vinegars?
1 week ago
My instinct is that you want as much diversity in inputs as reasonable with a compost pile. Each of the particular items will offer a slightly different compliment of minerals, cellulose, moisture, etc.. so to get to a balanced finished product you would want a balance of inputs. Beyond just switching it up what you set aside to bring home every day the other major consideration seasonally might be moisture content, you may want to bring home more of the wet stuff during your dry times of year and more of the drier stuff during the wet times of year, although I'm not certain how much of a difference that will really make. In general though, it seems that having a diversity of inputs is the best approach.
1 week ago
The title pretty well sums it up, I have a fairly large, partially covered, gravel area for storage of lawn and garden things. I managed to convince the landlord to skip the weed fabric since it really just delays the inevitable rise of plants but adds a weird petroleum based fabric in to the mix. I am now sworn to keep the greenery at bay so I'm looking for any recipes anyone has experience with that will destroy the growies without involving serious toxins.

I've heard you can just use vinegar or a mix of vinegar and dish soap. I have also seen it suggested that you just salt the plants. I'll probably experiment with the vinegar simply because it's on hand and I don't worry about it getting into the soil at all. but I'd love other suggestions or confirmation that vinegar with do the trick.

Thanks
1 week ago
Dr. Redhawk,
In your opinion, what distinguishes these fleeting humic substances from simple ionic minerals formed biologically and in transition between beings in living soil/compost? Also, what role do you think that clay colloids play in the humus process? I have heard that stable humus compounds are formed when biologically ionized minerals are bound up with clay colloids forming a sort of dynamic but stable system. My understanding is that this arrangement does form in healthy soil, the debate seems to be whether this is 'humus' or if this is some other unnamed substance.

This discussion has made me think that the current formal definition of humus doesn't really have much of a use. While there is also this other soil phenomenon that is often called humus/humic but doesn't have a formal name that I'm aware of. That situation certainly makes me think that we would be best served by our language if we shifted the word humus from a theoretical and amorphous substance/phenomenon to the one denoted by the more colloquial usage.
2 weeks ago