Baking soil?

Trish Stretton

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AND yet, under my burn pile that I removed last month was lovely garden dirt, which I moved for the base of my potato bed. The top 1/2 is 2019/2020 soiled stall bedding, removed last November, now the poo is broken down and ready to grow stuff. The ashes Will turn into soil if left alone and plants like beets like some ash.
How long do you leave your ash for, before using it?
I suppose its just a sprinkle around the seedlings?
 

ducks4you

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How long do you leave your ash for, before using it?
I suppose its just a sprinkle around the seedlings?
As long as the ash is cold, I will work it into my beet bed. I sprinkle it where I direct seed. I get good beets this way.
"If a soil test indicates that the soil is acidic, foliar feed with fish emulsion or seaweed extract, mix one cup of wood ash per 100 square feet, or fertilize with cottonseed meal, greensand or poultry manure."
Btw, High Mowing is a great place to buy seed.
THIS burn pile was old.
I hadn't cleaned it out for 5 years. It was really quite easy to do last month...WITH A TRACTOR!!!
 

Xerocles

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Ok guys. You're confusing the new people (well, one at least).
I understand that burning adds to greenhouse gases, and that is bad (I also remember in my elementary school days the scientists were warning of a coming "Ice Age"....who knows? Always something with these scientists predicting that the sky is falling.) I'm certainly not wanting to discuss global warming, but I do wonder how burning my debris compares to, say, one airplane flying from Atlanta to Charlotte.
But my confusion is more on the benefits vs disadvantages of burning yard debris. I heartily agree with "burying is better than burning" as evidenced by Hugelkultur. But for us "little guys" who, say, don't own a backhoe OR access to soil to bury the logs/limbs with. What are we to do with cleared "waste"? And, as @Ridgerunner mentioned, I have a number of HUGE piles of limbs, brush, and vines scattered about my place. It has literally taken me a year just to clear an area large enough that there is no threat of burning overhead limbs (got my burn area cleared 3 weeks ago....and now my state has declared a "no burn order" statewide because inhaling smoke can mimic symptoms of Covid).
So. Volume and lack of equipment void burying. Laws and global warming put burning off the table. Wish I could afford a chipper so I could compost it.
Potassium is a regularly included component of commercial fertilizer, and I understand that is a primary byproduct of woodash. But apparently it also makes the soil ph go to dangerous levels.
I can't compost it, bury it, and if I burn it, it's bad for the garden. Enough philosophical discussion. Real world talk. What are we to do with wood debris? Don't tell me what NOT to do. And I realize there is no 100% right answer but least of all evils...what should I do?
 

Trish Stretton

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I dont have a back hoe or rotor-tiller.

What I do, is get my lopers and trim off all the small branches with the leaves still on. I then haul them off to one side and trim them further so that they can lie flat on the ground.
these then get used to mulch, firstly, beds that have nothing in them- not just vege garden beds but everywhere.

I choose a spot and scatter them over this area. When I mow the lawn or get lawn clippings from my neighbour or mum, This gets thinly scattered over the branch trimmings.
...??
What I am trying to do here is build a living soil. This means returning as much as I can back to the land it came from.
I dont test for ph or anything else...jut cut it up as small as you can and spread it around and yes, it does look messy according to modern gardeners.

With the thicker branches and trunks, (I have had to import this sort of thing), they get partially buried, if I cant fully bury them. These break down slowly, get water logged and then retain that moisture for quite a while.

I have also been trying to incorporate mushroom species, preferably edible types. admittedly with little success to date. These help break down the wood which in turn helps feed the other microbes in the soil...short explanation.
Please try to learn about local native species, they deserve a look in before other introduced types.
Here in NZ, we dont seem to have a lot of native in ground types, but with most other countries, you do.

There is alot of information out there explaining why 'mushrooms' are so important to the soil.
Two good reads are Michael Phillips 'Mycorrhizal Planet' and Paul Stamets 'Mycelim Running'.
I would start with Michael Phillips if I had to do it again.

One thing you will need to consider if you are going to go down this track- No icides at all. No pesticides, herbicides,fungicides, artificial fertilizers, no soil amendments, mineral supplements, artificial foliar sprays.

it isnt an easy path to chose, especially if you work long hours. I have and am in the process of getting things back on track again.

Another thing is just leave the left over trunks stacked up, they provide habitats for a wide range on life forms. if you are worried about rats making a home there....i use rat bait, unashamed. In NZ, they are an introduced species with absolutely no redeeming qualities and will use your little piles for their homes if left unchecked.

If you have too many tree trunks, use the biggest ones for firewood. They may need to be dried out for a season or two, depending on when they were harvested.
 
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ducks4you

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Ok guys. You're confusing the new people (well, one at least).
I understand that burning adds to greenhouse gases, and that is bad (I also remember in my elementary school days the scientists were warning of a coming "Ice Age"....who knows? Always something with these scientists predicting that the sky is falling.) I'm certainly not wanting to discuss global warming, but I do wonder how burning my debris compares to, say, one airplane flying from Atlanta to Charlotte.
But my confusion is more on the benefits vs disadvantages of burning yard debris. I heartily agree with "burying is better than burning" as evidenced by Hugelkultur. But for us "little guys" who, say, don't own a backhoe OR access to soil to bury the logs/limbs with. What are we to do with cleared "waste"? And, as @Ridgerunner mentioned, I have a number of HUGE piles of limbs, brush, and vines scattered about my place. It has literally taken me a year just to clear an area large enough that there is no threat of burning overhead limbs (got my burn area cleared 3 weeks ago....and now my state has declared a "no burn order" statewide because inhaling smoke can mimic symptoms of Covid).
So. Volume and lack of equipment void burying. Laws and global warming put burning off the table. Wish I could afford a chipper so I could compost it.
Potassium is a regularly included component of commercial fertilizer, and I understand that is a primary byproduct of woodash. But apparently it also makes the soil ph go to dangerous levels.
I can't compost it, bury it, and if I burn it, it's bad for the garden. Enough philosophical discussion. Real world talk. What are we to do with wood debris? Don't tell me what NOT to do. And I realize there is no 100% right answer but least of all evils...what should I do?
You are really asking what do city people do with their yard waste. Check to see if there is anybody who will haul it away. Cities often chip and shred limbs and sell them back as bark mulch, or bagged mulch. See what Home Depot is Selling, same stuff:
If you want to invest in a chipper/shredder get a Really Good one OR rent one.
I had a cheapo one that hardly did a thing.
Local business that rents stuff like that here:
I rented a brush hogger from them, even though it isn't listed on their site.
Since your state won't let you burn sticks and weeds, like I can do in my back yard, would suggest that you toss weeds with seeds into the garbage.
You could also see if you could take your chainsaw and cut any limbs into useable size for raised beds, OR, for bean towers OR any other garden bed.
Also, consider this:
Does this help?
 

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flowerbug

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No, you cannot destroy an element like carbon. This is exactly why the Terra Preta soils in the acid clay of the Amazon became so fertile, the toss pots had as much burned firewood as nitrogen sewage and kitchen scraps.
please understand when people speak of soil carbon in agriculture they are not talking about destroying carbon itself but the breaking down of various carbon compounds and releasing energy and CO2 into the air that was previously tied up aka sequestered. as this is measurable it isn't just hand waving, it is an actual physical phenomenon.

i'm well aware of what terra preta was/is.
 

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life is a stew and most of that stew likes to cook around the neutral/central part of the pH scale. DNA/RNA are acids after all. as you get off towards either side of the pH scale life becomes less diverse in numbers and the ability to cope with the harsher environments. i'm not sure what the far extremes might be as life can be pretty creative, but i do know that it sure isn't as varied or productive at those extremes. when your environment isn't hospitable/easy then you have to spend more energy on defenses instead of living on easy street. the more defenses you have to put up the harder it becomes to procreate... this is the boundary issues all systems have from organisms to social groups.
 

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Ok guys. You're confusing the new people (well, one at least).
My thoughts on that are that in real life there are seldom any perfect solutions. For everything there are trade-offs, good or bad. Pile brush up and let it rot. You give vermin homes and shelter. I also use rat poison, in the open like that I get creative in how to keep it away from dogs. I still don't want groundhogs around. I've shot those, that's time consuming and not always easy. Briers and other stuff creates a thicket you can't mow or deal with unless you maybe use a herbicide. By the time the wood rots some growth is too big for a bushhog, if you have a bushhog. Those are the brush piles I'm familiar with, it takes some big machinery to handle them. How many mason bee houses can you and your friends and family use? Pruning one large apple tree once could give you and them a lifetime supply. My preference would be a chipper and use them for mulch, but then you have to justify to yourself the cost of a good chipper plus you have to repair and maintain it.

For everything mentioned you can come up with trade-offs. I believe you just do the best you can based on your ideals, time, room, and money constraints. Not someone else's ideals, time, room,and money, but yours. That's not always easy.

Sort of along these lines and speaking to your thoughts on airplanes and burning. You can control whether you burn or not. You cannot control whether that plane flies. The effects of greenhouse gasses (if you believe in them) is the total amount, not what source they came from. You control what part of that total you have control over. There is no use worrying about the parts you cannot control. Worry is interest paid before it is due. Control what you can and let the rest go. Again, that's not always easy.
 

Xerocles

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My thoughts on that are that in real life there are seldom any perfect solutions. For everything there are trade-offs, good or bad. Pile brush up and let it rot. You give vermin homes and shelter. I also use rat poison, in the open like that I get creative in how to keep it away from dogs. I still don't want groundhogs around. I've shot those, that's time consuming and not always easy. Briers and other stuff creates a thicket you can't mow or deal with unless you maybe use a herbicide. By the time the wood rots some growth is too big for a bushhog, if you have a bushhog. Those are the brush piles I'm familiar with, it takes some big machinery to handle them. How many mason bee houses can you and your friends and family use? Pruning one large apple tree once could give you and them a lifetime supply. My preference would be a chipper and use them for mulch, but then you have to justify to yourself the cost of a good chipper plus you have to repair and maintain it.

For everything mentioned you can come up with trade-offs. I believe you just do the best you can based on your ideals, time, room, and money constraints. Not someone else's ideals, time, room,and money, but yours. That's not always easy.

Sort of along these lines and speaking to your thoughts on airplanes and burning. You can control whether you burn or not. You cannot control whether that plane flies. The effects of greenhouse gasses (if you believe in them) is the total amount, not what source they came from. You control what part of that total you have control over. There is no use worrying about the parts you cannot control. Worry is interest paid before it is due. Control what you can and let the rest go. Again, that's not always easy.
Sage advice, I think.
 

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