Biochar and oyster mushrooms for driveway oil cleanup.

Here is a couple photos from our small biochar plus oyster mushroom oil stain cleanup experiment.

Here’s a photo of spent oyster mushroom substrate which has been ground into a mixture of redwood forest biochar. Here you can see the oyster mushroom gleefully growing out of the biochar oyster mushroom mix which has soaked up the car oil in the driveway. We were pretty happy with the results.
Close up of the oyster mushroom doing its beautiful dirty work.

It would seem that a combination of biochar an oyster mushroom mixed with spent substrate has done an adequate job of cleaning up the oil. Although without a chemical Trace analysis we can’t be too sure that we’ve cleaned up the oil but studies have shown the likes of stamets and company that oyster mushrooms are great at dissolving and metabolizing the hydrocarbons in oil and Diesel. Some people have been known to create oyster mushroom substrate booms that they float on the top of streams to try to capture any chemical pollutants or oil. Then you can find that they are growing oyster mushrooms successfully. Supposedly they are edible because the oyster mushroom completely metabolizes the contaminants.

Sure is nice having a lot of oyster mushroom substrate since we are oyster mushroom Farmers here at the forest people farms. One day we will become forest people under an umbrella of a human sustainability project. Until then we will continue these small-scale regenerative experiments.

Soldier fly red wriggler seasonal-symbiosis

This is not the first scene from terminator two where the renegade super intelligent A.I. Skynet crushes a defeated human skull. Nope this is a different scene. This is the result of billions of years of panspermia. The microbial software of the rocky planet hardware. It’s called Life. It’s the proverbial snake eating its own tail!

We move our kitchen compost into aerated plastic up-cycled bins and partner with red wriggler worms early in the year. Red wriggler worms eat up to 50% of their body weight in compost every day.

As the days grow longer and the heat sets in, the soldier fly larvae arrive and set up shop too. Alone they are a powerhouse, together, it is truly a sweet harmony. SFL also emit pheromones which keep the common house fly at bay for a house sized radius which becomes an unintended function stacking gem.

They work night and day creating a micro-macerated paradise for an ever increasingly diverse array of fungi and bacteria. Once the macro food supply runs out we transplant the worms to another bin and start again. The original bin sits for a whole year slightly mimicking the bioreactor process.

Once, in the only workshop I’ve had the opportunity to attend with Dr. Johnson, he took samples from the class and examined my vermicompost. To my great joy he exclaimed “this is good stuff! Whose is this?” It sure made my day.

I’ll bet those worms, SFL, and micro arthropods have the perfect successional microbes in their guts which lead to the quantum quorum sensing wonder that is a fully mature bio reactor pile.

Matthew

Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management, BEAM us up Dr. Johnson

Ingredients for civilization starter kit: Microbes, Intention, Water, Seeds.

It has been said by David and Su Johnson that the whole approach to regenerative farming using the B.E.A.M method is 1% inoculation and 99% management. Using microbial inoculation with mature bio-reactor compost, cover cropping, transplants, and never leaving the ground bare we create a long term carbon sequestration environment with fertile soil for the abundant creatures that live there. The soil is a vibrant and living substrate of infinite complexity. This is so as long as you have an intact/diverse soil community of bacteria, fungi, plants, and micro-arthropods just to name a few.

We recently got around during a break in the rain to sowing a late cover crop inoculated with B.E.A.M. juice, so to speak, in some of our garden beds.

Favas and, Brassicas, and Oats oh my! Freshly coated in a Bio-reactor compost slurry.

Using a 5 gal bucket for a container, mix two cups of mature bioreactor compost into about 2 lbs of mixed species cover crop seeds and spritz with a little water while shaking back and forth. This will take some practice. Feel free to add dry soil to make the seeds balls drier and then you can make them smaller and smaller. Broadcast sow to your hearts content.

Be careful to make sure you get the seeds just wet enough for the compost to stick to them but not so wet that you end up with big mud balls. We are shooting for seed balls like those made by Dr. Masanobu fukuoka.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka) of one straw revolution fame.

Dr. David Johnson, the creator of the Bioreactor composting process (https://www.csuchico.edu/regenerativeagriculture/bioreactor/index.shtml) has a recipe where he uses milk and molasses to make a seed-water-compost-slurry. We have found at the H.S.P. that the milk and molasses are unnecessary. He is using his recipe on large mechanical tractor seeders so perhaps it helps lubricate the seed as it moves through his seeding equipment.

The compost needs to contact the seed as it germinates and begins to creates symbiotic relationships with plants, soil and, microbes. Be sure to broadcast sow as soon as you are done mixing to make sure the moist compost sticks to the seeds as you spread them into your rows/beds.

We are only in year two of implementing serious inoculation methodologies. So far we have used the compost extract on nursery trees, perennials, annuals, vegetables, herbs, transplants, root drench, houseplants, and so much more to discover! Never having to fertilize again sounds like a good deal to me! Pics when we observe germination upcoming!

Have fun out there!

H.S.P. infographic and reflections on Biosphere 2

Core focus areas of the Human Sustainability Project

Remember Biosphere I, II and other similar projects? (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2) (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS-3)

The H.S.P. is essentially an open air biosphere project within a semi stable terrestrial environment. All of the previous biosphere projects were fantastic failures. They were essentially a cybernetic research project. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetics)

“The essential goal of the broad field of cybernetics is to understand and define the functions and processes of systems that have goals and that participate in circular, causal chains that move from action to sensing to comparison with the desired goal, and again to action. Its focus is how anything (digital, mechanical or biological) processes information, reacts to information, and changes or can be changed to better accomplish the first two tasks.[3]” – Wikipedia

The aim of the technological Biospheres being how to make technology become suitable habitat for human beings. The goal of the research was for humans to use these experiments and lessons learned to take it to the stars so to speak and colonise distant Biospheres into human habitat. Those projects were jumping the shark though because it turns out we have still not found a way to live in closed loop systems even within an intact terrestrial environment like the earth. In fact one of the main reasons for the failure of Biosphere 2 according to John Jeavons of ecology action was unfinished compost. The gases produced by the immature microbial community threw off the balance of the whole artificial Biosphere. They might have succeeded if they had fully mature fungal rich compost.

Food forests, permaculture, and organic farming are a step in the right direction. We still have not seen a demonstration though of a truly closed loop farming and habitat system.

The aim of the H.S.P. is to conduct cutting edge research into the means and methods of building small scale appropriate tech regenerative farms. They must be accessible to all humans. The research done should transfer anywhere microbes can survive. Instead of using cybernetic tech to create a simulation of habitat we will use symbiotic micro biology (compost systems) to alter our environment and create true lasting living habitat and refugia for others in the ailing Biosphere.

Before skipping out on earth and heading to mars we might benefit from showing how closed loop farming systems can be created in the first place. As it stands now, in regards to human survivability even the most dire and horrifying climate change projections pale in comparison to the relative lack of habitability of the Martian environment. Geo engineering and terra forming have been accomplished by microbes for billions of years, we are just now starting to catch up. Time to get to work and become micro symbiotes!

Matthew

“We stand on the ceiling of an unknown universe” – unknown

V.A.S.A. finds water!

Brandon of boontberry community farm found the cotton vertical array of strings built at H.S.P. catching water in the Anderson valley! What a sight for sore eyes during this drought in NorCal. Brandon created a quick makeshift setup to run a quick test on the VASA. We will be building a more systematic approach using t-posts and found gutter pieces.  For our appropriate tech approach form and function are equally loved just not always equally available. Farm bone yards shall become treasure forevermore.

All photos credit to Brandon.

It will be interesting once we can set up a system for harvest and measurements that don’t take too much labor. Rock on Brandon, we will be building many more!

Partnering microbes with plants where they are needed most.

Instead of adding large volumes of compost try instead to add the compost directly to where it’s needed at the plant’s roots. Plants and the compost microbes work together. Dr. Su Johnson once said that if you have a whole bunch of money in the bank but no one to spend it this makes the money useless.

Let’s try to spread our valuable compost over the soil areas where seeds or plants will be grown. We spread it only exactly to where it will be needed which is at the plants beginning, transplant, the seed, or vegetable propagation matter, and even soil-less media…

Spanish Roja garlic cloves on approximately 4 in. Centers. Gently coated with mature 2 year old Bioreactor compost-microbes.

Photos of prototype organic materials based “Fog Harp” or Vertically aligned string arrays for atmospheric water harvesting

Here are the two prototype Vertically aligned string arrays or what shall be known from now on here at the H.S.P. as V.A.S.A.’s. I believe that the fog harp is going to be a trademarked and protected idea that they hope to market to the world’s thirsty farmers. (Hopefully for as cheap as possible with maximum access for third world peoples)

This V.A.S.A. was made using reclaimed wood, and polyester sewing thread. The vertical strings are a commercially available polyester sewing thread. It used approximately 1500m of string. It is 3′ X 3′. This whole array could be made not including labor for under ten dollars. I used metal fasteners due to my lack of knowledge about wood joinery but I am confident that this could be made using dowels and other sorts of organic connectors. Conversely this thing could be made entirely out of cordage from local sources and tree boughs fallen on the ground. in short this is appropriate tech for the masses!
Here is a macro up close shot of the Vertical polyester strings. Compared to the smooth stainless steel strings these bio-mimetic nano tendrils should hypothetically increase the fog collection values. With limited time and resources (AND FOG!) I still have not been able to to a serious side by side test. Although all of the research on the fog gathering capability’s of desert plants with similar nano structures coupled with the anti clogging nature of the vertical strings should increase the water gathering capabilities.

Next up is the cotton sewing thread based VASA.

This VASA was made using almost entirely organic materials except the metal fasteners which again could be replaced with the appropriate joinery technologies. The cotton sewing thread was found to be slightly more expensive than the polyester threads per Meter but if you buy from industrial sewing thread manufacturers the cost is similar.
Here is a macro shot of the cotton based VASA. Look how much smaller the nano tendrils appear to be! Due to limitations on the spacing of the thread we are not exactly going with the research on the pitch to diameter spacing . The optimal spacing in the VirTech research was found to be a 2:1 Pitch:Diameter ratio meaning that every space between strings should be twice that of the diameter of the string. I believe we can overcome this problem with the added efficiency of the nano-tendrils and their superior stokes numbers or the incidence of fog droplets smashing into the strings.

As you can see with even just some preliminary efforts at building a cheaper and more accessible VASA these construction methods could still be vastly improved for strength & accessibility for a global user-base and lowering the cost therein.

In our initial test in our fog simulation chamber (I.E. Our oyster mushroom growing fog machine called Aquafogger from jaybird manufacturing and fruiting chamber) we did observe the same “tangling issues” as the initial “fogharp” research experienced. They recently put out a new research paper that showed (using unintelligible mathematics for me) that by simply halving the size of the VASA to 1.5′ these adhesion factors of the strings glomming onto one another can be over come. This is a welcome discovery as the winding process for each VASA which takes about 2 hours will be easier to wind and the sense of accomplishment will go up with each finished VASA. It will be exciting to see if fixing the tangling issues gathers as much fog as the 2x size VASA due to its increased efficiency sans “tangling”. We are still at the beginning of a new frontier in these discovery’s and they are ripe for the taking and SHARING!

P.S. After realizing the potential for cotton to breakdown from microbial action and lack of UV resistance I began eagerly seeking ways to fix this weakness of the cotton sewing thread using naturally available materials. I found a whole lot of really inspirational research on the usages of Chitosan (“made by treating the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans with an alkaline substance, such as sodium hydroxide” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitosan) and Aloe Vera to over come these limitations of the cotton threads. ALOE VERA!!!! YES!!!! Accessible appropriate technology will be the hallmark of the success of the biosphere refugia principles of the HSP. In my next post I will showcase this research and my attempts to treat the cotton threads with chitosan from Tidal vision in bellingham WA, and locally grown Aloe Vera treatment made by yours truly. The future is looking brighter and brighter all the time my fellow earth dwellers.

Until next time.

Matthew Gammett

Revolution in the fluid mechanics of vertical strings and also catching fog!

Recently researchers at the Virginia tech institute have conducted research into a new fog catching design. Previous research into fog catching has relied on certain hydrophobic or hydrophilic polymer coatings of existing raeschal mesh designs. There are dozens of biomimetic designs and reasearch on the market including trying to replicate namib desert beetle fog gathering techniques redwood needle fog gathering techniques desert succulent fog gathering of a certain desert species among other naturally occurring fog harvesting abilities.

Researchers at the Virginia tech institute we’re inspired to build a vertical strand oriented fog gatherer which improves on existing designs by three fold.

The Virginia tech researchers we’re inspired by the fog gathering abilities of coastal redwood needles. During periods of zero rain many species under the redwood canopy including the redwoods are able to harvest and utilize this atmospheric water. Fog is at it’s base a cloud that touches the ground so these bio mimetic tech breakthroughs are learning to harvest clouds essentially.

Here at the human sustainability project we have been greatly inspired by the appropriate technology and sustainable application of a multidisciplinary creation of a atmospheric water gathering device. Upon further inspection we discovered that this technology was available to us and so we began to look deeper.

First we thought it would be interesting to see if there were any consumer available nano technological coatings that we could apply to stainless steel strings which are used in the vertical fog harp. Then it occurred to me that the stainless steel wire was far too expensive to do any kind of meaningful experimentation on a small budget. After pondering the other available materials like monofilament, aluminum, copper wire, it occurred to me that simple sewing thread which is cotton could do the trick to replace the stainless steel strings at least for a temporary experimental basis. Then in a flash of insight I realized that the cotton strings themselves have spun tendrils and fibers that come off of the actual twisted string themselves which act exactly like macro vertically aligned carbon nano tube forests. These tendrils greatly increase the Stokes number or incidents of fog droplets hitting the string and also the surface area of the string itself. The cotton tendrils also mimick the fog harvesting capacity of desert plant species of which there are volumes of research available stretching back to the mid-70s concerning fog harvesting and biomimetic technologies. The researchers of the fog harp discovered that the smaller the diameter of the string the more incidents of water droplets will smash into the string.

So what we have done is make an improved prototype fog harp that is significantly cheaper (although not nearly as durable). We will show how this design can be made more more durable while still utilizing the surface area increase of the cotton strings and their tendrils. Also we have built a prototype out of wood with polyester strings of similar diameter which display the same nano hair properties. Although the polyester is a petroleum products it’s embedded energy is significantly cheaper than stainless steel strings.

Keeping to a sort of eco appropriate technology we are delighted to begin building innovative prototypes which can also be made entirely from locally gathered wood and fibers. We will attempt a fully “natural” version when we have mastered the principal’s and properties of our current hypothetically improved prototypes.

Stay tuned for prototype pictures coming soon……getting a new camera soon hopefully with macro ability so we can document the strings nanoish properties. Until then.

Matthew

Breaking soil regeneration research news!!! Aug. 2019

salt soilhttps://phys.org/news/2019-08-scientists-successfully-innoculate-crops-salt-damaged.html

 

Scientists successfully innoculate, grow crops in salt-damaged soil

Quote from article:

“A group of researchers may have found a way to reverse falling crop yields caused by increasingly salty farmlands throughout the world.”

 

When we consider the developments in carbon sequestration and biologically enhanced agricultural management (B.E.A.M) and the research above we can all celebrate a new agricultural paradigm together! Dr. Johnson has shown with his Johnson-Su Bioreactor that he can remove the salinity from dairy manure and now we see this news about using bacteria to grow food in salt damaged soils! We are living in very lucky times! We are going to solve the climate crisis, increase our yields, and grow more nutritionally dense foods.

Check out Dr. Johnson’s research page over at:

https://www.csuchico.edu/regenerativeagriculture/bioreactor/index.shtml

Matthew