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s. lowe

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since Jul 05, 2017
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Recent posts by s. lowe

James Sullivan wrote:Not sure if anyone has looked into Rose Geraniums for oil. I was told it's a base for perfumes and can get $100 per liter.

That is for essential oil which is steam distilled from the flower, not pressed from the seed. There is definitely a potential income for someone who wants to invest in a nice still and process essential oils. It's a very delicate process and requires a bit more intensive harvesting than a lot of crops but because of that the finished products are extremely expensive. But it's a totally different subject than seed oil for eating

Antonio Scotti wrote:Thanks S. Lowe
well the effect is described in the sentence from the book I quoted: disease and pest prevention mainly

I think that in addition to the various other plant oils like corn and soybean that can 'smother' the insects, you can get the disease and pest prevention effect from compost teas and KNF style plant juice ferments. Alfalfa, nettle, and comfrey have pretty solid growth promoting and health enhancing qualities. Also insect frass teas can help stimulate plants natural immune defense systems against bugs.
1 day ago

BeverlyR Seavey wrote:Well everything is temporary. Humus sticks around longer than a whirlpool where the same water molecules are temporarily rearranged. It is more that the complexity-  the randomness/diversity of molecular structure that , in a certain time frame, defies
breakdown. Various enzymes must chance upon the molecular bonds in order to attack whatever is at a free end of a complex molecule; a peptidase, then a cellulase or other polysaccharidase. The mixed molecules comprising humus do slowly break down into much smaller molecules but this is reflected in a change in the chemical covalent bonds.

What do you think the molecular structure of humus is? My understanding is that it is, like lignin, it isn't a set structure and it's this dynamic character that makes humus so persistent
2 days ago
Products that have gained a lot of popularity out here and largely replaced neem oil are based on corn oil, soap, and isopropyl alcohol. One apparently popular example you can see online is called "green cleaner".
One place to start might be asking why you use neem? What effect are you looking to replicate?
3 days ago
Just to protect Mr Kempf's good name, he was explaining what you would get if you purchased a liquid labeled humic acid. I don't think his company produces humic or fulvic acid and he doesn't seem to advocate it's use.

The question that is coming up for me is this,  if humus is the remains after complete decomposition, what differentiates it from mineral ions?
3 days ago

Travis Johnson wrote:

Tyler Ludens wrote:

Dillon Nichols wrote:

The newest regrowth and the open fields are full of deer browse.

I think logging or creating selective clearcuts would be vital to providing feeding areas for deer.  Old growth forest typically harbors most wildlife in the high canopy - birds, squirrels, but no deer!  Native people burned forest and grassland to increase game for hunting.

Martin Crawford talks about how the forest garden must be maintained as a young forest, because a mature forest won't provide much food:  

You are right regarding this. I had a lot of mature forest, and while there was wildlife, it was limited compared to other landowners around me.

One thing a person can do though, is "Circle Cut". It is not a clear cut, and not a selective harvest, you just go into a spot in the woods and cut a small circle of the wood out. Not a huge area, maybe a 50 foot diameter circle to let light in by opening up the canopy in one small spot. In a few years it just pops up with diversity. This is when the deer, rabbits, and all kinds of other animals come in. You can still leave the mature forest on the outer edges of it. I got some pictures some where of this technique, and it is actually pretty mind-blowing how effective it is.

As a member of the American Tree Farm System, I MUST manage for air, water, soil and WILDLIFE, and this was a technique recommended to me by the Maine Forest Service, and it really works.

Something that I've been thinking about lately as far as a way to monetize some otherwise costly work like this kind of 'circle clearing' you're talking about that has tremendous ecological value but isn't necessarily traditionally valuable, is to find a wood worker to partner with and market and produce 'single tree furniture sets'. I haven't really fleshed it out much yet but I think the idea has some potential to be an income source for forested land holders looking to cover costs/profit while maintaining/ improving the vitality of the land
3 days ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:

Elizabeth Geller wrote:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Humic Acid life is fleeting, which is why you can't go to any nursery store and buy some.

You can buy some stuff in a box that's labeled humic acid.  What's that stuff?

I would not know what anyone selling "Humic Acid" is actually marketing.

According to John Kempf of advancing eco agriculture (an eco ag input manufacturer and ecological farm consultant), the 'humic acid' (dark brown liquid that stains just about anything it touches brown/black and is labeled as some %humic acid) is made by taking super high humus soil, usually from ancient dry lake beds, and agitating it in a tank for several day with a very strong acid (he said pH of 2 or 3). Then the liquid is siphoned off and packaged (maybe diluted first?). He said the remaining solids are then agitated for another day or two with an extremely basic substance (pH 12 or so) and that liquid is siphoned off and packaged as '0.6% humic acid' and sold to customers as fulvic acid and has a light golden color. He said that the remaining solids in the tank is almost entirely humin, which seems to be the source of humus' stability in the soil.

I really appreciate your input on this subject dr. Redhawk and I'd like to offer up an aspect of my understanding of humus and hear your thoughts. I understand soil humus as a dynamic matrix of mineral ion colloids 'passing' through a mosaic of biology. It is such a valuable soil component because it constrains leeching by 'holding' the minerals (including nitrogen and other notorious 'mobile' elements) within the living biotic web. It also keeps these minerals completely accessible to plants through this same process, it's not rock dust molecules that require biological action to deliver to plants, it's those available forms of the myriad minerals suspended within the cycle of bodies/excrements of microbes.

Also, I've been reading a book called Humusphere by Herwig Pommersche, written in 2014 or so and just recently translated from the German to English. It doesn't delve as deep into the 'what' of humus as I had hoped be how raises some interesting theories of the 'how' and generally poses a compelling theory to undergird sustainable agriculture
4 days ago
It's a great idea and a total possibility. I think there are a couple questions you need to answer;

First, do you want this to be your primary/sole income source or a seasonal/side hustle type of thing?

If you just want a side hustle, you can focus on finding and testing a few local options as they come available during the year, try to figure out the cost+time to harvest some amount and get it to market and the cash value you can get for that amount. You could potentially use your early experiments as the foundation of your blog/video channel/etc...

If you want it to be your primary income source you're going to, most likely be a semi mobile harvester and you're going to need to do some further ranging research. It's not super likely that there are year round wild foods that are widely known and desired and/or extremely valuable right near where you live, but you might have something like morels or ginseng or something that can provide a big pay off if you are super diligent during it's harvest window.

There are likely private landowners that would be fine with you foraging, there is also legal foresting in all kinds of state and federal land, you usually need a permit at a commercial scale and there are usually some guidelines like legal harvest windows and extra protected areas. But it's definitely an option and the more flexible you are with your location the more harvest opportunities you'll have available to you
4 days ago
so how did it look as you split it up? a whole week with temps staying in the 140s should have seen some pretty serious decomposition
6 days ago
Another free coffee resource, if you live near/know any small roasters, the roasting machines gather chaff during the roasting process (i guess it's like residue of the shell of the seed?) and it is a waste product to the roaster. The person I go to will happily give me a contractor bag full of the stuff. It is super light and papery and I have used it to make bokashi but he told me that he has composted it and used it as mulch and used it in thick layers under woodchip pathways. It's another potential free source of organic material and has interesting physical properties that folks might find good uses for (mushroom substrate?)
6 days ago