John Suavecito

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since May 09, 2010
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Food forest in a suburban location. Teaches grafting and helps people learn how to grow food. Involved with a local food exchange group. Shares cuttings and knowledge with schoolchildren.
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Recent posts by John Suavecito

Paul Wheaton has said that he believes biochar is effective in warm areas and hugulkultur is effective in cold areas.  

I think that both can be effective in both places.

John S
PDX OR
1 hour ago
I agree with you, Sam Rellim.

I have posted this elsewhere in this forum.  In your case, larger clumps makes more sense.  When it tends toward dry, large clumps are better, to retain moisture in the soil.   I wonder if the biochar gets inoculated more slowly this way,  and if it becomes effective and helpful more slowly this way.  I am extrapolating from how when you put uninoculated char into your soil, it is less effective for the first year or so, before eventually becoming biochar and helping the soil.   It seems that the inside of a large clump would become inoculated more slowly.  

I live in a frequent rainfall area and we have clay soil, so my strategy would be different than yours.  

John S
PDX OR
1 hour ago
I think that's a valuable observation, Trace.  I have read that and I think about it while using my biochar.  I guess old wood is the same way.  Drains in  excess water situations allowing oxygen exchange, but retains some moisture in a drought. Optimal both ways.

John S
PDX OR
7 hours ago
Book Review for "The Edible Ecosystem Solution" by Zach Loeks
I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.

By John Saltveit

This is a very intelligent book.  It gives a big picture view of edible ecosystems.  As the title suggests, it shows several ways in which we can develop our resilience. By increasing the ability to feed people well, limiting toxins, finding work for people, and organizing our culture, we can live well in harmony with the planet.  It talks about the situation that we are currently in relating to our soils, the oceans, and our food.  It explains various ways in which many of our required actions for us to live on this planet in a healthy way can be created through environmental stewardship. One of the big contributions of this book is to highlight the many positive benefits that viable ecosystems can do for us. They will benefit us not only in our health and environmentally, but in our abundance and even financially as well.  There are several different sections of the book.  They involve such topics as design, our current problematic model, and how we can work through these roadblocks in ways that will be enjoyable and fulfilling.  Several examples of both positive and negative responses are listed.  It is not only an informative book, but it is also inspiring.  The illustrations help the reader to conceptualize the ideas that the author is promoting.  The only criticism I would make of the book is that I would have made more in-depth lists of possible guilds for each major ecosystem, such as for taiga, temperate,  Mediterranean, maritime, and subtropical.  This book will help you understand how we can solve the problems we have, but it will also help you explain to others how we can make the world a better place together.
2 days ago
I also live in PNW.  I have heard people say that they use an old fridge or freezer, above ground. It closes solidly, you can probably get one for free.  Stays cold outside. Animals/bugs can't get to it.  Like Skandi said, meat and veg might be better in different locations.  

John S"
PDX OR
3 days ago
I would start with using your search engine to seek mills or wood mills in your area. Then ask around, like at hardware and builders' supply stores. Talk to an old crochety guy like me. Be nice to him or he won't help you.

John S
PDX OR
1 week ago
If you're going to cut the Douglas fir, try to find a local mill that you can sell it to.
John S
PDX OR
1 week ago
People use different supplements.  I usually give it worm compost, regular compost, rotten wood mycelium, whole wheat flour, rotten fruit, and crushed oyster shells.  Then I soak it in urine. Some people add seaweed, compost tea, or any other nutritious organic material.  Some people will put it in the compost pile and leave it for awhile.

John S
PDX OR
1 week ago
I usually drench it when the flames are just 3-4 inches above the char. I find that to be the best timing.   I have tested it empirically, and that way I don't get a lot of pieces of unburned wood, which happens when I drench it when the flames are too high and active.  I also don't get a lot of ash, which happens if I burn it too long.   I get very light, jet-black metallic, musical sounding char.  Then I crush it and give it nutrition, and it becomes biochar, ready for the garden.
John S
PDX OR
1 week ago