[permaculture] arid soil building

Scott Vlaun scott at moosepondarts.com
Thu Dec 3 16:34:09 EST 2009

Sounds like a great project. I've heard of excellent results on fruit  
crops, especially against fungal diseases, with aerobic compost tea  
which can be generated on site. A good brewer is bit of a project to  
make though and a commercial 10 gallon unit goes for about 400 US, so  
no cheap fix there. I think we're going to finally buy one after  
talking about making one for a few years.

I think there are ways of making "char" fairly cleanly.

Scott Vlaun
Moose Pond Arts+Ecology
Design Solutions for a Sustainable Future

450 Main Street, Studio 2
Norway, Maine 04268
207-739-2409 Studio

On Dec 3, 2009, at 4:21 PM, Rain Tenaqiya wrote:

We live in a classic Mediterranean climate, with about 35 inches of  
rain that comes in intense bursts that usually start from the middle  
of October and start petering out in April.  I feel there must be a  
lot of knowledge about this climate given its long history in Europe.

I have started to compost in pits because it takes so long above  
ground.  I have even used tarps, as was recommended.  They help, but  
I really need to irrigate the piles to see reasonable results.  We  
have all sorts of fungi from the forest nearby, so I don't think  
inoculants are necessary.

Part of my problem could be that aside from the first year, when we  
had record floods, we have been in a drought.  Maybe this is the new  
normal, however.

We collect and use all of our humunure and urine, and I bring in a  
ton of leaves and straw from around our site.  I also have several  
long-term wood compost piles.  I finally broke down and got some rock  
dust, zinc sulfate, and gypsum, for specific areas.  I've also  
brought in forest soil from nearby for the main food forest and  
kitchen garden, which also got a layer of horse manure from a  
neighbor.  I'm thinking about spraying seeweed on trees that are  
doing the worse.  In general, however, I really want to minimize off- 
site inputs.

As far as biochar goes, the soil actually has a fair amount of  
charcoal from past fires.  I couldn't justify putting all that carbon  
in the air by burning all the wood around our site.  If I wait long  
enough, a wildfire might do it for me, however.  Hmm, interesting.


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