A message from an older farmer… #NoBareSoil




Red Tide – Phytoplanktom Blooms, and One-Rock Filter Dams

Phytoplankton are Earth’s life raft!

Near the end of this Walde Sailing video they show a red substance in water.
This is commonly known as red tide. Red tide is likely an iron-rich phytoplankton bloom. When nitrogen and iron are added in combination from sediment run-off or pollution to waters then chlorophyll a concentrations can increase 40-fold leading to diatom proliferation, and reduced community diversity.
Nutient addition like this can also lead to coral bleaching and die off.
After blooming these organisms die and sink in the water column where microbes consume them and deplete the oxygen resulting in dead zones with little sea life. A dead zone the size of Scotland in the Gulf of Oman was recently discovered by robots exploring the Arabian sea, previously unknown because the area wasn’t safe for humans to do the sampling.
Still waters and a lack of mixing with air exacerbates these dead zones especially at lower depths.

Scientists also recently concluded that the last massive extinction event in earths history was the result of anoxia.

Oxygen is the byproduct of phytoplankton and they are responsible for the bulk of atmospheric oxygen when the cycle is regulated. We don’t want them dieing off in these explosive life raft blooms!

We can minimise anoxia in our oceans while still benefitting from phytoplankon oxygen production by reducing nutrient run-off in sediment from land with techniques like simple one-rock high filter dams seeded with plants to grow in the sediment and act as biofilters. This applies not only to our oceans but also inland waters, where even our water supply is at risk from sedimentation and a reduction in water volume in fresh water reserviors we get out drinking and irrigation waters from.

Here’s a Great Barrier Reef rock gulley success story.
Here are one-rock high filter dam pictures

one-rock gulleyone-rock

Wild Harvesting Mycorrhizal Fungi Using THESE?

Reading the comments on this one prompted me to comment…

Communities of saprotrophic (“rotten material” + “plant”) fungal hyphae (web) that break down wood chips and above ground plant litter tend to fruit mushrooms to spread their spores by air, mold uses explosive sacs to spread their spores into the air, whereas root-associated endo (internal to the root) or ecto (external) mycorrhizae (“fungus” + “root”) form symbiotic relationships with living plants and reproduce from spores in sacs on the hyphae (web) at the roots. Without plants to host them, mycorrhizae tend to die off. The different types are also often vertically separated in soils. So you want both types, and collecting above ground litter and below ground feeder roots can help spread the latter. Succession in forests has been shown to correlate with the interconnectedness of plants and so collecting fungal species that can interconnect plants at their roots or decompose material aboveground to feed them will aid succession. When a tree falls and is left to decompose it creates a food pathway for fungal hyphae to create super highways connecting plants. We can replicate this by leaving intact trunks or branches in contact with soil between plants. One of the highest minerals in trees is potassium, and potassium increases the colonisation of plant roots by mycorrhizae.
The white strings aka hyphae (webs) often seen in wood chips and compost can also be formed by bacteria such as Actinomycetes.

There have also been studies showing that most products claiming to contant inoculants that have mycorrhizal spores, don’t.

Transition Towns, Block Parties and Permaculture

Leslie’s video triggered a whole rant from me. 🙂 Here goes:

I recently read that here in Melbourne Australia 57% of households grow at least some of their own food (probably a lemon tree), and I know of meet ups where growers can exchange what they grow, also of sites where people can advertise their excess to sell or offer free like ripenear.me
There may be a food network or services like that near you to connect locally in emergency.
What’s interesting for me is when I look on ripenear.me’s map the density of produce available appears to correlate with high density smaller and affordable inner suburban housing where people can rent, grow and walk to local businesses and bump into people and share. Where there are large shopping/industrial centres/high rises, it’s a wasteland of produce available around them. Large housing estates also appear to be wastelands. In Melbourne’s most expensive suburbs there’s no one offering produce.
I can only conclude that higher density areas and affordable smaller housing with yard space, along with walkable infrastructure, are key to encouraging this kind of decentralised community activity.
But as population density increases I see home extensions/renovations/subdivisions with large houses that shade and cover more land, and multilevel dwellings with no gardens being built, maybe a balcony. And efforts like 3000acres.org and localharvest.org.au that try to connect the few landless people that have enough motivation/time to travel to grow or purchase locally dispersed produce.
Last night my father was enthusiastically telling me about an automated farm in the UK that never needed the farmer to enter the paddock. Without gardeners and farming families farm worker shortages will only deepen, and with the increasing barrier to entry to farming I just see more and larger centralised and automated agriculture being where things are headed. In doing so we are relying more on transport infrastructure to ship produce where it’s needed in emergencies. Trucks, trains, planes. Delivered groceries, delivered products, Uber, Uber Eats, Lyft, Deliveroo, autonomous vehicles. Apps. People are becoming dependent on them. And as examples like the Cape Town water shortage in South Africa show, transportation can reach extremes when talk of towing icebergs are being bandied about. Nuts. Perhaps automated drones delivering emergency provisions to remote or cut off communities is where we’ll end up unless people, communities, councils, and urban planning changes. I don’t see that happening. Instead people develop vertical gardening towers and claim they’ll feed the world, or fix the climate with artificial atmospheric filters.
These days it’s all about digital social and people broadcasting bits via Apples rather than sharing bites of apples. When local breaks down, we try to fill that void and connect with digital, further eroding local into global.

End rant.