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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Woodgas stoves and terra preta

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  • Dieter Brand
    Jeff, Thanks for chipping in with some easy to understand comments on the terra preta phenomenon. Thus, as far as you are aware, there is no demonstrated
    Message 1 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
      Jeff,

      Thanks for chipping in with some easy to understand comments
      on the terra preta phenomenon.

      Thus, as far as you are aware, there is no demonstrated objective
      evidence, at the present point in time, that terra preta does indeed
      improve soil fertility.

      > ... Charcoal has the added benefit that it is already stabilized.
      > THat is microbes can't break it down, or do so very very slowly.
      > As opposed to regular biomass which is rapidly lost due to
      > decomposition, and only a small percentage remains as humus.

      Recently, I have repeatedly come across the idea that most
      biomass is lost, gassed-off, during decomposition. Somehow,
      this seems to be contrary to the very unscientific ideas I have
      in my head regarding soil processes.

      If most biomass is lost, then my compost heap, which consists
      entirely of plant residues, would have to disappear almost entirely.
      Admittedly, the compost volume does shrink, especially in the
      early stages of composting. But that is not surprising given the
      very loose and watery consistence of the starting heap.

      And even if the compost volume and/or mass, once applied to
      the soil, were to shrink even further, there are still the biological
      soil processes set in motion by compost, ie. biomass, which
      benefit the soil and ultimately are at the _root_ of all soil fertility.

      My _hunch_ is that by converting biomass into charcoal instead
      of applying it directly to the soil, we somehow cut short these
      biological processes and thus deprive the soil of the activity it
      has relied on from the beginning to create fertility and thus life.
      But we humans always know better how nature ought to do it's
      thing.

      Dieter Brand
      Portugal

      PS: Again, in my very unscientific ways, I think that how much
      biomass is lost, gassed-off, probably depends on specific
      conditions such as soil type, climate (wet/dry, hot/cold) and last
      but not least on the type of soil management used: tilling or not
      tilling, bare soil versus cover cropping, etc.


      Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote:

      > Can you explain, in layman's terms, how charcoal is used as
      > a soil amendment and what effect this has on soil fertility?
      >
      First- not all charcoal is equal in its ability to help soil
      fertility. The charcoal typically sold for grills is high temperature
      charcoal. (900+ C) Where as biologically active charcoal is produced
      at lower temps (300-750 C). The best temperature for production is a
      point of debate. Sadly, most of the work being done on replicating
      terra praeta is comercialized so they are not reporting their results
      openly.

      The low temperature has several different benefits: not all the N is
      burned off at low temperatures. Nitrogen is an essentail plant
      element. The second benefit has to do with the pore space. High
      temperature causes the pores to connect and collapse. The smaller
      pores with the low temperature are vital for a) holding nutrients b)
      holding beneficial microbes and c) holding water.

      Charcoal act similar to other organic mater by holding nutrients and
      water. Charcoal has the added benefit that it is already stabilized.
      THat is microbes can't break it down, or do so very very slowly. As
      opposed to regular biomass which is rapidly lost due to decomposition,
      and only a small percentage remains as humus.

      There have been a couple of reports of successful use on the web, but
      none of them scientific. One did report results. First year about the
      same as fertilized,and an increase of 10-30% the second year in
      depending on crop, but the experimental design was somewhat flawed in
      my opinoin (I'm not doubting the results, but rather the ability to
      withstand scientific scrutiny.)

      I would be intereted in knowing of any studies people have come across.




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    • Dieter Brand
      ... John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links. Unfortunately, my Internet connection isn t up to watching videos online. And, most of us find that
      Message 2 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
        >There is a quite a lot of information online about the background
        >and current research and progress.

        John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links. Unfortunately,
        my Internet connection isn't up to watching videos online. And,
        most of us find that eyesight decreases in direct proportion to
        the increase in age, which makes us rather more selective about
        what we read and what not. I had thus hoped, however selfishly,
        that the gentleman from India would be inclined to share his
        experience in this matter so as to remove all doubts from our
        mind.

        Dieter Brand
        Portugal

        johnmacmot <johnmacmot@...> wrote:
        The Terra Preta phenomenon is something I've recently become aware of myself. There is
        a quite a lot of information online about the background and current research and
        progress.

        here are some good starting links:
        Horizon documentary that does a useful job of outlining the Terra Preta origins and
        characteristics in the Amazon Basin - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-
        2809044795781727003&q=amazon+bbc&pr=goog-sl

        The Cornell University site where quite a lot of research work has been focused:
        http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/terra_preta/TerraPretahome.htm

        The main discussion forum on the subject:
        http://forums.hypography.com/terra-preta.html

        If you dig around these sites you will get a good picture of an interesting and potentially
        quite significant subject.

        John McFadgen



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      • Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy
        Dear All, Regarding my own experience in Terra Preta, the complete details are found in these links: Terra Preta - Roof Top experiments
        Message 3 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
          Dear All,

          Regarding my own experience in Terra Preta, the complete details are
          found in these links:

          Terra Preta - Roof Top experiments
          http://e-terrapretarooftopexp.blogspot.com/

          Alkaline soils and Terra Preta
          http://e-alkalinesoilsterrapreta.blogspot.com/

          Top group on terra preta
          http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/

          Regarding how to make charcoal see some of the links in
          http://www.e-geo.org/home322

          Carbon is the essential element for all life on earth and it can
          also provide a habitat for the soil microbes and for absorbing
          certain elements. As charcoal has maximum surface area, it is like a
          multi-million story apartments structure for soil microbes to live
          and thrive, as in cities we are constructing multi-story apartments
          for people to live. It has much more value than as explained here.
          We should understand why 'GOD' has choosen carbon instead of silica
          (except few radiolarian cherts) for majority of life forms on earth
          as basic element.

          Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
          http://www.e-geo.org


          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > >There is a quite a lot of information online about the background
          > >and current research and progress.
          >
          > John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links.
          Unfortunately,
          > my Internet connection isn't up to watching videos online. And,
          > most of us find that eyesight decreases in direct proportion to
          >
        • Greg and Garbo
          Hi Folks, I thought I¹d add my two cents worth on Terra Preta and Carbon. I have been reading that the reason charcoal activates soil fertility so, is that
          Message 4 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
            Hi Folks,

            I thought I¹d add my two cents worth on Terra Preta and Carbon.

            I have been reading that the reason charcoal activates soil fertility so, is
            that carbon is an element that readily binds with many other elements to
            form molecules that make up the basis of life. You have probably heard that
            we are Œcarbon based¹ creatures, carbon being the base element in the
            formation of almost all earthly living things.

            Charcoal is almost pure carbon. When it comes out of a wood-gas stove, it is
            called Œactivated carbon¹, meaning that all or most of the other elements
            that were once combined with it, have been driven of by the extreme
            temperatures of the gasification process, leaving behind almost pure carbon
            in a form that is eager to bond with any element it has an affinity for. And
            carbon has an affinity for many other elements, many of them soil nutrients,
            and so it acts as a catalyst to enable movement and uptake of nutrients that
            otherwise may not be available for plants. This process further enables
            symbiotic relationships with living soil biota.

            If your interested in seeing a video of our home-made wood-gas stove, a
            by-product of which is charcoal, please go to:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBsG32n_8oc

            I hope this is helpful.

            Thanks,
            Greg in Wisconsin



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Dieter Brand
            Greetings! Thanks for posting your links. That will give us something to read. High-rise buildings for microbes , nice image. Carbon is no doubt important for
            Message 5 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
              Greetings!

              Thanks for posting your links.
              That will give us something to read.

              "High-rise buildings for microbes", nice image.
              Carbon is no doubt important for live on this planet,
              even though, I suppose that silica, or clay, has it's
              role to play.

              Dieter Brand
              Portugal

              Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy <saibhaskarnakka@...> wrote:
              Dear All,

              Regarding my own experience in Terra Preta, the complete details are
              found in these links:

              Terra Preta - Roof Top experiments
              http://e-terrapretarooftopexp.blogspot.com/

              Alkaline soils and Terra Preta
              http://e-alkalinesoilsterrapreta.blogspot.com/

              Top group on terra preta
              http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/

              Regarding how to make charcoal see some of the links in
              http://www.e-geo.org/home322

              Carbon is the essential element for all life on earth and it can
              also provide a habitat for the soil microbes and for absorbing
              certain elements. As charcoal has maximum surface area, it is like a
              multi-million story apartments structure for soil microbes to live
              and thrive, as in cities we are constructing multi-story apartments
              for people to live. It has much more value than as explained here.
              We should understand why 'GOD' has choosen carbon instead of silica
              (except few radiolarian cherts) for majority of life forms on earth
              as basic element.

              Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
              http://www.e-geo.org

              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > >There is a quite a lot of information online about the background
              > >and current research and progress.
              >
              > John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links.
              Unfortunately,
              > my Internet connection isn't up to watching videos online. And,
              > most of us find that eyesight decreases in direct proportion to
              >






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            • Jeff
              ... indeed improve soil fertility. ... Lehmann, does have very good objective and scientific data on the increases in soil fertility, however the corresponding
              Message 6 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
                >
                > Thus, as far as you are aware, there is no demonstrated objective
                > evidence, at the present point in time, that terra preta does
                indeed improve soil fertility.
                >
                Lehmann, does have very good objective and scientific data on the
                increases in soil fertility, however the corresponding data on actual
                YEILD differences are spotty.

                Specifically Lehmann uses high-technology measuring devices to measure
                the soil fertility. THe only biotic indicator Lehmann measure is leaf
                production, which isn't what gardeners or farmers care about. In fact
                many of the recent advances in (natural) plant breeding have come at
                the expense of leaf area.

                Lehmann is a soil scientist, and is fascinated by the function of the
                soil, not necessarily the agricultural yeild.
                THe nutrients are not only higher in the terra praeta, they are not
                easily leached by rain (measured by Lehmann), they are more
                bio-available, especially P (phosophorus) (also measured by Lehmann)

                > Recently, I have repeatedly come across the idea that most
                > biomass is lost, gassed-off, during decomposition. Somehow,
                > this seems to be contrary to the very unscientific ideas I have
                > in my head regarding soil processes.

                Biomass is lost and is not easily apparent because its such a long
                process. It is also difficult to measure because of the time scales
                involved. It is a logrithmic progression.
                ie it takes 1-3 years to lose 50% and 10 years to lose half of that
                (25%) and so on.


                > And even if the compost volume and/or mass, once applied to
                > the soil, were to shrink even further, there are still the
                biological soil processes set in motion by compost, ie. biomass, which
                > benefit the soil and ultimately are at the _root_ of all soil
                fertility.
                >
                > My _hunch_ is that by converting biomass into charcoal instead
                > of applying it directly to the soil, we somehow cut short these
                > biological processes and thus deprive the soil of the activity it
                > has relied on from the beginning to create fertility and thus life.
                > But we humans always know better how nature ought to do it's
                > thing.
                >
                THis is the most surprising part of Terra praeta.
                The bio-char in terra praeta is EXCELLENT habitat for the soil
                microbes and those processes. The pores in the charcoal provide many
                many microhabitats for them. WHile the process is different, and
                involves different species of microbes the soil does indeed seem
                extremely healthy (Lehmann and his collegues also measure and defined
                the microbe community of Terra praeta)
              • Allan Balliett
                No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy. I was just reading Glaser s AMAZON SOILS book yesterday. It s repeatedly pointed out in various reports in
                Message 7 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
                  No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.

                  I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.

                  It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that char
                  or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human waste
                  and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over, in
                  most cases, hundreds of years of time.

                  It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                  charcoal" that makes these soils so special.

                  Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                  involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now we
                  are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                  ignored.

                  Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last year
                  of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order actually
                  involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before burying.

                  There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                  dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char and
                  digging it into the soil.

                  -Allan Balliett
                  Shepherdstown, WV
                • Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                  Dear All, Please see this poster (link below) to get the relationship between, woodgas stoves, terra preta, mitigating climate change through carbon
                  Message 8 of 25 , Feb 5, 2008
                    Dear All,

                    Please see this poster (link below) to get the relationship between,
                    woodgas stoves, terra preta, mitigating climate change through carbon
                    sequestration and making biomass available for stoves.

                    http://docs.google.com/View?docid=ddtcnc28_66cjdz64gt

                    Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                  • Dieter Brand
                    Jeff, ... Is _loss_ really the term that applies here? Would it not be better to talk about _transformation_? Then there is the question what is it transformed
                    Message 9 of 25 , Feb 5, 2008
                      Jeff,

                      >Biomass is lost and is not easily apparent because its such a long
                      >process. It is also difficult to measure because of the time scales
                      >involved. It is a logrithmic progression.
                      >ie it takes 1-3 years to lose 50% and 10 years to lose half of that
                      >(25%) and so on.

                      Is _loss_ really the term that applies here? Would it not be better to
                      talk about _transformation_?

                      Then there is the question what is it transformed into? Emitted into
                      the atmosphere? Taken up by neighbouring plants? Transformed into
                      stable clay-humus complexes? Converted into glomalin? Eternally
                      recycled among microbes? Converted into something we don't even
                      know about?

                      Altogether too complex for any science to handle. But we are still
                      dead sure that all of that complexity we don't understand can easily
                      be replaced by charcoal or why not NPK, that should do the trick.

                      Dieter Brand
                      Portugal



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                    • Robert Monie
                      Hi Allan, Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course, bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which contains many trace elements
                      Message 10 of 25 , Feb 7, 2008
                        Hi Allan,

                        Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course, bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which contains many trace elements besides the supposedly main element of carbon) and bonemeal (composed of calcium and phosphorus), from time immemorial staples of organic farming. Silica is also present in the form of ceramics and clays. Without silica (silicon), plants sag and fall; imagine cane or grass growing with only carbon to hold it up: bamboo fields would look like wet noodles drooping in a plate. Human waste further skewers the formula that carbon = fertility since human waste includes everything from maganese to molebdyum. The 11th commandment is or should be "Thou shalt not reduce complexity to one element." Or, as that famous non-believer H. L. Menken said, "For every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is always wrong." In composing the periodic table (surely one of the greatest achievements of the miserable human race) Mendelev
                        did not beat his chest Tarzan ape-man-like and proclaim "Me carbon, you Jane." He wisely grouped the elements according to their properties, with hydrogen first and space left for all the heavy radioactive ones, natural and man-made (or human-induced, if you prefer). Life at every level is diversity, from the lepton to the atom to the molecule to the cell to the tissue groups to the systems to the plants and animals and other forms, to the local ecologies, to the biosphere, to Gaia. Gaia is GEOLOGY (everything mostly besides carbon), water (hydrogen and oxygen), and living things together; that means all the elements in Mendeleev's table, a vast cosmic rainbow. It takes "rocks and gravel" and water, along with carbon, to make a mighty world (to paraphrase an old American slave work song), and carbon "ain't nothing special."

                        Personally, I tell carbon ("char") to go sit down and take its place in the bleachers along with the other players. It isn't any superstar. It has a role to play along with the other elements, and if its supporters cheer too much, in order to prevent carbon getting too big a head, we need to call "foul" and eject them from the game or better still, sentence them to copy the periodic table at least 100 times, pronouncing the names as they go along (and also reciting the known contribution many of these wonderful elements make to plant and human nutrition). .

                        If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a periodic table of all the elements to bring forth and sustain life on this earth. If we start inventing carbon idols, worshipping them, and devising strange myth/theologies in defense of our idol, we will become the laughing stock of the sustainable farming community.


                        Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of life and all plant fertility,

                        Bob Monie
                        New Orleans, LA
                        Zone 8
                        Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium, magnesium, iron, iodine, etc.



                        Allan Balliett <aballiett@...> wrote:
                        No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.

                        I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.

                        It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that char
                        or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human waste
                        and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over, in
                        most cases, hundreds of years of time.

                        It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                        charcoal" that makes these soils so special.

                        Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                        involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now we
                        are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                        ignored.

                        Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last year
                        of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order actually
                        involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before burying.

                        There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                        dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char and
                        digging it into the soil.

                        -Allan Balliett
                        Shepherdstown, WV





                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Jeff
                        ... As always, your voice is freshness in the stale air, Bob. However, I like to comment on the words you would walk on. ... life and all plant fertility, ...
                        Message 11 of 25 , Feb 7, 2008
                          >

                          As always, your voice is freshness in the stale air, Bob.
                          However, I like to comment on the words you would walk on.

                          > Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of
                          life and all plant fertility,
                          > Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain
                          sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium, magnesium,
                          iron, iodine, etc.
                          >
                          While carbon cannot carry all of life on its back,it is indeed an all
                          star.
                          >
                          > It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                          > charcoal" that makes these soils so special.


                          Quite the contrary, its easy to do the American thing, in fact many
                          all ready have, including Mr. Monie. Its just misleading to do so.

                          Bio-char is an elixir for what ails, industrialized sterile soil.
                          Going from just NPK to something more is a wonderful step in the right
                          direction. Even if it is one baby step at a time.

                          And even as Mr Monie, reminds us ASHES contain a host of other
                          elements- We know wood contains these, and ashes contain them,
                          likewise Char holds these as well. Its an intermediate step in the
                          journey. In fact, Char holds more of these substances because less is
                          lost to volitilization.

                          And the elegant and beautiful thing about Bio-char is the fact that it
                          helps the soil HOLD onto those other necessary nutrients against the
                          erosional and leaching processes. ALso it provides houses and homes,
                          and water and air for microbes to re-establish themselves.

                          It seems that carbon at once plays, quarterback, linemen, and wide
                          recievers, but it still needs help for the running plays, the kicking,
                          and defense.

                          An all star, YES, the whole team, not by a long shot.
                          We all cheer for the heroes the loudest,
                          but are all strangely satisfied when the underdogs win the day.

                          And that's not counting char's possible 'cure' for global warming. But
                          this too should be taken with cation.. take two and CALL me in the
                          morning. It certainly seems unlikely that it will take place in large
                          enough scales to be more than a minor player in that battle.

                          Jeff

                          everyone should give it a try, jsut to let the neighbors know what's
                          out there.
                        • Dieter Brand
                          It is elating, so much fine rhetoric, and that with Carnevale only just over. Decidedly, this year s festivities didn t use up all of our energies and there is
                          Message 12 of 25 , Feb 8, 2008
                            It is elating, so much fine rhetoric, and that with Carnevale
                            only just over. Decidedly, this year's festivities didn't use up
                            all of our energies and there is still plenty of carbon to burn.
                            Now we just need somebody to put hand to shovel.

                            >everyone should give it a try, just to let the neighbors know
                            >what's out there.

                            You go first! I'll wait and see. The trouble is, once you
                            have put the stuff in there, there's no way of getting it out
                            again. We will only be able to understand the implications
                            after large scale long-term field tests have been conducted
                            by independent parties under varying soil and climate
                            conditions. How long was it before the downside of NPK
                            fertilization were finally understood? Another magic wand.
                            Even Liebig recanting didn't help once the gravy train
                            was set in motion. That, or course, is not the same
                            thing. It's funny though, more than a century after N
                            was found to be the wonder drug in farming, we have
                            hit on C to solve all our problems. It's a bit like nutrition:
                            first they tell us to eat a lot of vitamins, then it's fibres,
                            then its ... Whatever it does, its good for industry.

                            In the meantime, I will just continue to use plain old
                            organic matter directly, as compost or even as manure.

                            Dieter Brand
                            Portugal

                            PS:
                            Jeff, do you care to comment on something that Allan
                            mentioned in his post, namely that chemical nitrogen was
                            used in field tests with charcoal to offset the effect of the
                            carbon. Wouldn't that make things rather difficult for organic
                            farmers?



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                          • Elsa Santos
                            After doing a bit of research on dark, rich soils, it seems that char is not that simple, and that living whole organisms such as terra preta and mulata,
                            Message 13 of 25 , Feb 8, 2008
                              After doing a bit of research on dark, rich soils, it seems
                              that "char" is not that simple, and that living whole organisms such
                              as terra preta and mulata, that are so complex and are able
                              to "reproduce" themselves infinitely (if you take a layer of one
                              meter of terra preta off a site and come back one year later, the
                              same amount you took out of terra preta will have regrown by then)-
                              are the result of all organic matter + chunks of partially burned, at
                              slow, low temperature of still green (resin rich) woods and green
                              crop left overs. Apparently that's the mix that allows the complex
                              symbiosis between bacteria, enzymes, and all other elements that make
                              a up soil. So, maybe it's healthier to dig deeper (no pun intended)
                              into a subject before making up ones mind and crystalizing a
                              opinion...

                              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > Hi Allan,
                              >
                              > Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course,
                              bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which contains
                              many trace elements besides the supposedly main element of carbon)
                              and bonemeal (composed of calcium and phosphorus), from time
                              immemorial staples of organic farming. Silica is also present in the
                              form of ceramics and clays. Without silica (silicon), plants sag and
                              fall; imagine cane or grass growing with only carbon to hold it up:
                              bamboo fields would look like wet noodles drooping in a plate. Human
                              waste further skewers the formula that carbon = fertility since human
                              waste includes everything from maganese to molebdyum. The 11th
                              commandment is or should be "Thou shalt not reduce complexity to one
                              element." Or, as that famous non-believer H. L. Menken said, "For
                              every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is always
                              wrong." In composing the periodic table (surely one of the greatest
                              achievements of the miserable human race) Mendelev
                              > did not beat his chest Tarzan ape-man-like and proclaim "Me
                              carbon, you Jane." He wisely grouped the elements according to their
                              properties, with hydrogen first and space left for all the heavy
                              radioactive ones, natural and man-made (or human-induced, if you
                              prefer). Life at every level is diversity, from the lepton to the
                              atom to the molecule to the cell to the tissue groups to the systems
                              to the plants and animals and other forms, to the local ecologies, to
                              the biosphere, to Gaia. Gaia is GEOLOGY (everything mostly besides
                              carbon), water (hydrogen and oxygen), and living things together;
                              that means all the elements in Mendeleev's table, a vast cosmic
                              rainbow. It takes "rocks and gravel" and water, along with carbon, to
                              make a mighty world (to paraphrase an old American slave work song),
                              and carbon "ain't nothing special."
                              >
                              > Personally, I tell carbon ("char") to go sit down and take its
                              place in the bleachers along with the other players. It isn't any
                              superstar. It has a role to play along with the other elements, and
                              if its supporters cheer too much, in order to prevent carbon getting
                              too big a head, we need to call "foul" and eject them from the game
                              or better still, sentence them to copy the periodic table at least
                              100 times, pronouncing the names as they go along (and also reciting
                              the known contribution many of these wonderful elements make to plant
                              and human nutrition). .
                              >
                              > If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a periodic table
                              of all the elements to bring forth and sustain life on this earth. If
                              we start inventing carbon idols, worshipping them, and devising
                              strange myth/theologies in defense of our idol, we will become the
                              laughing stock of the sustainable farming community.
                              >
                              >
                              > Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of
                              life and all plant fertility,
                              >
                              > Bob Monie
                              > New Orleans, LA
                              > Zone 8
                              > Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain
                              sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium, magnesium,
                              iron, iodine, etc.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Allan Balliett <aballiett@...> wrote:
                              > No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.
                              >
                              > I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.
                              >
                              > It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that
                              char
                              > or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human waste
                              > and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over, in
                              > most cases, hundreds of years of time.
                              >
                              > It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                              > charcoal" that makes these soils so special.
                              >
                              > Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                              > involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now
                              we
                              > are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                              > ignored.
                              >
                              > Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last
                              year
                              > of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order
                              actually
                              > involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before burying.
                              >
                              > There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                              > dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char and
                              > digging it into the soil.
                              >
                              > -Allan Balliett
                              > Shepherdstown, WV
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                            • Robert Monie
                              Hi Elsa, Yes, agriculture works by complex systems, not Swinging Big-Stuff Casey Carbon at the Bat (Remember in that famous poem Casey Carbon had lots of
                              Message 14 of 25 , Feb 8, 2008
                                Hi Elsa,

                                Yes, agriculture works by complex systems, not Swinging Big-Stuff Casey Carbon at the Bat (Remember in that famous poem Casey Carbon had lots of confidence, swagger, scary muscles, and a loud cheering squad, but--he struck out). Terra Preta, the complex system, is undoubtedly worthy of great attention and deep study. If I could buy a bag of the stuff, I would try it out (what is the going price, $6,000 a cubic foot?) The question is, as you have suggested, not how much "char" (whatever exactly that is) to add, but how do you encourage Nature to put together a complex system like Terra Preta (which contains the whole elemental alphabet plus innumerable living and nonliving, organic and inorganic molecular constituents, few of which begin with the letter "C," and only one of which is spelled C-a-r-b-o-n. Let's not forget the "R" word, ROOTS. If roots grow deep enough and the environment treats them just right, they and their tiny microbial allies may produce Terra
                                Preta, with only the bare minimum of assistance from the "Big-C."

                                Carbon-idolatry is a sin against the natural systems of the world. Instead, let's find out how Terra Preta actually works in its alphabet-soupyness and grow comparable systems in our gardens and fields.

                                Best wishes,

                                Bob Monie
                                New Orleans, LA
                                Zone 8
                                Elsa Santos <elsamagosa@...> wrote:
                                After doing a bit of research on dark, rich soils, it seems
                                that "char" is not that simple, and that living whole organisms such
                                as terra preta and mulata, that are so complex and are able
                                to "reproduce" themselves infinitely (if you take a layer of one
                                meter of terra preta off a site and come back one year later, the
                                same amount you took out of terra preta will have regrown by then)-
                                are the result of all organic matter + chunks of partially burned, at
                                slow, low temperature of still green (resin rich) woods and green
                                crop left overs. Apparently that's the mix that allows the complex
                                symbiosis between bacteria, enzymes, and all other elements that make
                                a up soil. So, maybe it's healthier to dig deeper (no pun intended)
                                into a subject before making up ones mind and crystalizing a
                                opinion...

                                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > Hi Allan,
                                >
                                > Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course,
                                bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which contains
                                many trace elements besides the supposedly main element of carbon)
                                and bonemeal (composed of calcium and phosphorus), from time
                                immemorial staples of organic farming. Silica is also present in the
                                form of ceramics and clays. Without silica (silicon), plants sag and
                                fall; imagine cane or grass growing with only carbon to hold it up:
                                bamboo fields would look like wet noodles drooping in a plate. Human
                                waste further skewers the formula that carbon = fertility since human
                                waste includes everything from maganese to molebdyum. The 11th
                                commandment is or should be "Thou shalt not reduce complexity to one
                                element." Or, as that famous non-believer H. L. Menken said, "For
                                every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is always
                                wrong." In composing the periodic table (surely one of the greatest
                                achievements of the miserable human race) Mendelev
                                > did not beat his chest Tarzan ape-man-like and proclaim "Me
                                carbon, you Jane." He wisely grouped the elements according to their
                                properties, with hydrogen first and space left for all the heavy
                                radioactive ones, natural and man-made (or human-induced, if you
                                prefer). Life at every level is diversity, from the lepton to the
                                atom to the molecule to the cell to the tissue groups to the systems
                                to the plants and animals and other forms, to the local ecologies, to
                                the biosphere, to Gaia. Gaia is GEOLOGY (everything mostly besides
                                carbon), water (hydrogen and oxygen), and living things together;
                                that means all the elements in Mendeleev's table, a vast cosmic
                                rainbow. It takes "rocks and gravel" and water, along with carbon, to
                                make a mighty world (to paraphrase an old American slave work song),
                                and carbon "ain't nothing special."
                                >
                                > Personally, I tell carbon ("char") to go sit down and take its
                                place in the bleachers along with the other players. It isn't any
                                superstar. It has a role to play along with the other elements, and
                                if its supporters cheer too much, in order to prevent carbon getting
                                too big a head, we need to call "foul" and eject them from the game
                                or better still, sentence them to copy the periodic table at least
                                100 times, pronouncing the names as they go along (and also reciting
                                the known contribution many of these wonderful elements make to plant
                                and human nutrition). .
                                >
                                > If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a periodic table
                                of all the elements to bring forth and sustain life on this earth. If
                                we start inventing carbon idols, worshipping them, and devising
                                strange myth/theologies in defense of our idol, we will become the
                                laughing stock of the sustainable farming community.
                                >
                                >
                                > Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of
                                life and all plant fertility,
                                >
                                > Bob Monie
                                > New Orleans, LA
                                > Zone 8
                                > Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain
                                sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium, magnesium,
                                iron, iodine, etc.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Allan Balliett <aballiett@...> wrote:
                                > No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.
                                >
                                > I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.
                                >
                                > It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that
                                char
                                > or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human waste
                                > and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over, in
                                > most cases, hundreds of years of time.
                                >
                                > It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                                > charcoal" that makes these soils so special.
                                >
                                > Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                                > involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now
                                we
                                > are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                                > ignored.
                                >
                                > Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last
                                year
                                > of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order
                                actually
                                > involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before burying.
                                >
                                > There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                                > dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char and
                                > digging it into the soil.
                                >
                                > -Allan Balliett
                                > Shepherdstown, WV
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >






                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Jeff
                                ... Yes, many of the studies about bio-char use chemical nitrogen to amend the bio-char, ... The basic problem is that Terra-praeta is complex, and
                                Message 15 of 25 , Feb 8, 2008
                                  > PS:
                                  > Jeff, do you care to comment on something that Allan
                                  > mentioned in his post, namely that chemical nitrogen was
                                  > used in field tests with charcoal to offset the effect of the
                                  > carbon. Wouldn't that make things rather difficult for organic
                                  > farmers?
                                  >
                                  Yes, many of the studies about bio-char use chemical nitrogen to amend
                                  the bio-char, ...
                                  The basic problem is that Terra-praeta is complex, and reductionist
                                  science does dominate western thought.
                                  Early on, based on several advantages mentioned
                                • Jeff
                                  - ... Yes, it is true that several experients on bio-char used chemical nitrogen to fertilize and balance available nitrogen. This is of course a symptom of
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Feb 8, 2008
                                    -
                                    > PS:
                                    > Jeff, do you care to comment on something that Allan
                                    > mentioned in his post, namely that chemical nitrogen was
                                    > used in field tests with charcoal to offset the effect of the
                                    > carbon. Wouldn't that make things rather difficult for organic
                                    > farmers?

                                    Yes, it is true that several experients on bio-char used chemical
                                    nitrogen to fertilize and balance available nitrogen.

                                    This is of course a symptom of reductionist western science. Because
                                    Terra Praeta is complex, the earliest attempts includes experiment
                                    that involve breaking terra praeta into its constituent parts.
                                    Imediately bio-char stuck out as highly promising.

                                    As previously mentioned it has several advantages for being included
                                    in a system. THe biggest one is of course its ability to hold onto
                                    nutrients and not let them leach.

                                    Leaching is a huge concern (DEAD ZONES, RED TIDES) . In the midwest it
                                    is estimated and only 50-75% of the nitrogen applied is used by crops,
                                    the rest is lost.

                                    That being said, it is quite easy for organic farmers to find Nitrogen
                                    sources that would stay with the land for a relatively long period,.

                                    N fixation by legumes would last for several seasons rather than just one

                                    Fertilizationg with urea (urine) would also result in increase
                                    effieicncy. Lower volitalization and lower leaching would result

                                    Fertilization with manure or compost would likewise have enhanced
                                    benefits.

                                    That being said, the experient deisngs are meant to compare, chemical
                                    nitrogen, vs a ''fertile' bio-char soil. the easiliest and fastest
                                    (and easily reductive way) is to measure it and put it in there with
                                    chemicals. What would be interesting if these (none that i"ve found),
                                    stuck with the experiment for several years, with replicates not
                                    reciveing addition fertilizer etc, just a one time deal.

                                    the increased and modified microbial community would likewise be of
                                    interest, but our understand, and even identifying the players in this
                                    complex are at a very very rudimentary level,.

                                    In terms of soil fertility, nitrogen is the most easy element to
                                    replentish in a broken soil, even easier than char-bon

                                    To me, its important what happens in the long-run, not the short-term.

                                    you are in alaska, you want to get to sweden,
                                    there are two routes, you can fly east-west and take forever, or you
                                    can fly over the pole and be there shortly.

                                    clearly the sooner you get to there the better for you and the world.

                                    If the goal is to produce sustainable agriculture in degraded areas,
                                    the sooner you can get there the better. Even if it takes distasteful
                                    short cuts, in the long run you got where you need to go.

                                    I read so much about how some first world gov't or company comes in
                                    ,to help the third world and leaves without provided continuity.

                                    If you give someone food, they won't starve, but as soon as you pull
                                    out, they are back where they started (prolly starving),

                                    if you give them hybrid seed, again they won't starve... but they
                                    can't reuse the seed, and can't afford it when you leave... also they
                                    may give bad yeilds because poorly adapted and no chemical fertilizer,

                                    if you teach them how save seed (most of them know already), and
                                    create opporunties for long-term benefits (improved cooking stoves,
                                    pressing oil, etc) you've made a difference.

                                    jeff
                                  • Dieter Brand
                                    Jeff, Thanks for bringing light into the carbon jungle. So, terra preta can _in theory_ work with organic farming. We ll just have to wait for that to be
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Feb 9, 2008
                                      Jeff,

                                      Thanks for bringing light into the carbon jungle.

                                      So, terra preta can _in theory_ work with organic farming.
                                      We'll just have to wait for that to be demonstrated by
                                      field tests.

                                      But what about no-till? That after all is a requirement
                                      in Natural Farming. Are we back to the one-time-deal
                                      or would regular surface applications with smaller doses
                                      be an option?

                                      I can understand your point about leaching of nutrients.
                                      But that again is first and foremost a problem in
                                      conventional chemicals-based agriculture, and doesn't
                                      that much concern organic farming, and would concern
                                      even less natural farming - if it were practiced.

                                      Painting a bit of a drastic picture, one could perhaps
                                      conclude that terra preta then provides the means for
                                      continuing conventional chemicals-based agriculture,
                                      thus making superfluous the need to convert to a more
                                      sustainable form of agriculture and healthy way of
                                      growing food.

                                      Except, in this scenario too, there is a contradiction
                                      in that all those microbes that seem to find shelter
                                      in the apartment complexes of terra preta may not
                                      be able to enjoy such luxury for long in conventional
                                      agriculture with all its toxic chemicals designed to
                                      kill off all forms of soil life.

                                      Dieter

                                      PS: Just out of curiosity. Does "chemmy remmy"
                                      have the same connotations with you as what is
                                      usually signified by "Remmi-Demmi" in German?

                                      Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote:
                                      -
                                      > PS:
                                      > Jeff, do you care to comment on something that Allan
                                      > mentioned in his post, namely that chemical nitrogen was
                                      > used in field tests with charcoal to offset the effect of the
                                      > carbon. Wouldn't that make things rather difficult for organic
                                      > farmers?

                                      Yes, it is true that several experients on bio-char used chemical
                                      nitrogen to fertilize and balance available nitrogen.

                                      This is of course a symptom of reductionist western science. Because
                                      Terra Praeta is complex, the earliest attempts includes experiment
                                      that involve breaking terra praeta into its constituent parts.
                                      Imediately bio-char stuck out as highly promising.

                                      As previously mentioned it has several advantages for being included
                                      in a system. THe biggest one is of course its ability to hold onto
                                      nutrients and not let them leach.

                                      Leaching is a huge concern (DEAD ZONES, RED TIDES) . In the midwest it
                                      is estimated and only 50-75% of the nitrogen applied is used by crops,
                                      the rest is lost.

                                      That being said, it is quite easy for organic farmers to find Nitrogen
                                      sources that would stay with the land for a relatively long period,.

                                      N fixation by legumes would last for several seasons rather than just one

                                      Fertilizationg with urea (urine) would also result in increase
                                      effieicncy. Lower volitalization and lower leaching would result

                                      Fertilization with manure or compost would likewise have enhanced
                                      benefits.

                                      That being said, the experient deisngs are meant to compare, chemical
                                      nitrogen, vs a ''fertile' bio-char soil. the easiliest and fastest
                                      (and easily reductive way) is to measure it and put it in there with
                                      chemicals. What would be interesting if these (none that i"ve found),
                                      stuck with the experiment for several years, with replicates not
                                      reciveing addition fertilizer etc, just a one time deal.

                                      the increased and modified microbial community would likewise be of
                                      interest, but our understand, and even identifying the players in this
                                      complex are at a very very rudimentary level,.

                                      In terms of soil fertility, nitrogen is the most easy element to
                                      replentish in a broken soil, even easier than char-bon

                                      To me, its important what happens in the long-run, not the short-term.

                                      you are in alaska, you want to get to sweden,
                                      there are two routes, you can fly east-west and take forever, or you
                                      can fly over the pole and be there shortly.

                                      clearly the sooner you get to there the better for you and the world.

                                      If the goal is to produce sustainable agriculture in degraded areas,
                                      the sooner you can get there the better. Even if it takes distasteful
                                      short cuts, in the long run you got where you need to go.

                                      I read so much about how some first world gov't or company comes in
                                      ,to help the third world and leaves without provided continuity.

                                      If you give someone food, they won't starve, but as soon as you pull
                                      out, they are back where they started (prolly starving),

                                      if you give them hybrid seed, again they won't starve... but they
                                      can't reuse the seed, and can't afford it when you leave... also they
                                      may give bad yeilds because poorly adapted and no chemical fertilizer,

                                      if you teach them how save seed (most of them know already), and
                                      create opporunties for long-term benefits (improved cooking stoves,
                                      pressing oil, etc) you've made a difference.

                                      jeff






                                      ---------------------------------
                                      Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • Elsa Santos
                                      Hi Bob, You re so right... You know, as crazy as main stream, mechanicist science finds it, I believe there is a lot more to life then chemical composition.
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Feb 9, 2008
                                        Hi Bob,

                                        You're so right... You know, as crazy as main stream, mechanicist
                                        science finds it, I believe there is a lot more to life then chemical
                                        composition. All the subtlety that pioneers like Rudolph Steiner
                                        (although I don't like the dogmatic attitudes I've seen in most of
                                        his followers) and Masaru Emoto and his Messages in Water (hado.net),
                                        etc... are on to something that science is only beginning to take
                                        seriously. Maybe there is a lot more to Einsteins Elegant Universe,
                                        Super String and the theory of everything. Maybe that realization was
                                        part of Fukuoka's "satori" regaring farming practices... Who knows...
                                        Here is an interesting project that bridges both current scientific
                                        currents and possible the future ones:
                                        http://www.heartmath.org/gcms/index.html

                                        ... and speaking of ashes, but for something completely different,
                                        here's something beautiful: www.ashesandsnow.org

                                        Have a great week =D
                                        Elsa


                                        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
                                        wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Hi Elsa,
                                        >
                                        > Yes, agriculture works by complex systems, not Swinging Big-Stuff
                                        Casey Carbon at the Bat (Remember in that famous poem Casey Carbon
                                        had lots of confidence, swagger, scary muscles, and a loud cheering
                                        squad, but--he struck out). Terra Preta, the complex system, is
                                        undoubtedly worthy of great attention and deep study. If I could buy
                                        a bag of the stuff, I would try it out (what is the going price,
                                        $6,000 a cubic foot?) The question is, as you have suggested, not
                                        how much "char" (whatever exactly that is) to add, but how do you
                                        encourage Nature to put together a complex system like Terra Preta
                                        (which contains the whole elemental alphabet plus innumerable living
                                        and nonliving, organic and inorganic molecular constituents, few of
                                        which begin with the letter "C," and only one of which is spelled C-a-
                                        r-b-o-n. Let's not forget the "R" word, ROOTS. If roots grow deep
                                        enough and the environment treats them just right, they and their
                                        tiny microbial allies may produce Terra
                                        > Preta, with only the bare minimum of assistance from the "Big-C."
                                        >
                                        > Carbon-idolatry is a sin against the natural systems of the
                                        world. Instead, let's find out how Terra Preta actually works in its
                                        alphabet-soupyness and grow comparable systems in our gardens and
                                        fields.
                                        >
                                        > Best wishes,
                                        >
                                        > Bob Monie
                                        > New Orleans, LA
                                        > Zone 8
                                        > Elsa Santos <elsamagosa@...> wrote:
                                        > After doing a bit of research on dark, rich soils, it
                                        seems
                                        > that "char" is not that simple, and that living whole organisms
                                        such
                                        > as terra preta and mulata, that are so complex and are able
                                        > to "reproduce" themselves infinitely (if you take a layer of one
                                        > meter of terra preta off a site and come back one year later, the
                                        > same amount you took out of terra preta will have regrown by then)-
                                        > are the result of all organic matter + chunks of partially burned,
                                        at
                                        > slow, low temperature of still green (resin rich) woods and green
                                        > crop left overs. Apparently that's the mix that allows the complex
                                        > symbiosis between bacteria, enzymes, and all other elements that
                                        make
                                        > a up soil. So, maybe it's healthier to dig deeper (no pun intended)
                                        > into a subject before making up ones mind and crystalizing a
                                        > opinion...
                                        >
                                        > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@>
                                        > wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > > Hi Allan,
                                        > >
                                        > > Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course,
                                        > bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which
                                        contains
                                        > many trace elements besides the supposedly main element of carbon)
                                        > and bonemeal (composed of calcium and phosphorus), from time
                                        > immemorial staples of organic farming. Silica is also present in
                                        the
                                        > form of ceramics and clays. Without silica (silicon), plants sag
                                        and
                                        > fall; imagine cane or grass growing with only carbon to hold it up:
                                        > bamboo fields would look like wet noodles drooping in a plate.
                                        Human
                                        > waste further skewers the formula that carbon = fertility since
                                        human
                                        > waste includes everything from maganese to molebdyum. The 11th
                                        > commandment is or should be "Thou shalt not reduce complexity to
                                        one
                                        > element." Or, as that famous non-believer H. L. Menken said, "For
                                        > every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is always
                                        > wrong." In composing the periodic table (surely one of the greatest
                                        > achievements of the miserable human race) Mendelev
                                        > > did not beat his chest Tarzan ape-man-like and proclaim "Me
                                        > carbon, you Jane." He wisely grouped the elements according to
                                        their
                                        > properties, with hydrogen first and space left for all the heavy
                                        > radioactive ones, natural and man-made (or human-induced, if you
                                        > prefer). Life at every level is diversity, from the lepton to the
                                        > atom to the molecule to the cell to the tissue groups to the
                                        systems
                                        > to the plants and animals and other forms, to the local ecologies,
                                        to
                                        > the biosphere, to Gaia. Gaia is GEOLOGY (everything mostly besides
                                        > carbon), water (hydrogen and oxygen), and living things together;
                                        > that means all the elements in Mendeleev's table, a vast cosmic
                                        > rainbow. It takes "rocks and gravel" and water, along with carbon,
                                        to
                                        > make a mighty world (to paraphrase an old American slave work
                                        song),
                                        > and carbon "ain't nothing special."
                                        > >
                                        > > Personally, I tell carbon ("char") to go sit down and take its
                                        > place in the bleachers along with the other players. It isn't any
                                        > superstar. It has a role to play along with the other elements, and
                                        > if its supporters cheer too much, in order to prevent carbon
                                        getting
                                        > too big a head, we need to call "foul" and eject them from the game
                                        > or better still, sentence them to copy the periodic table at least
                                        > 100 times, pronouncing the names as they go along (and also
                                        reciting
                                        > the known contribution many of these wonderful elements make to
                                        plant
                                        > and human nutrition). .
                                        > >
                                        > > If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a periodic table
                                        > of all the elements to bring forth and sustain life on this earth.
                                        If
                                        > we start inventing carbon idols, worshipping them, and devising
                                        > strange myth/theologies in defense of our idol, we will become the
                                        > laughing stock of the sustainable farming community.
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of
                                        > life and all plant fertility,
                                        > >
                                        > > Bob Monie
                                        > > New Orleans, LA
                                        > > Zone 8
                                        > > Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain
                                        > sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium,
                                        magnesium,
                                        > iron, iodine, etc.
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > Allan Balliett <aballiett@> wrote:
                                        > > No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.
                                        > >
                                        > > I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.
                                        > >
                                        > > It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that
                                        > char
                                        > > or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human
                                        waste
                                        > > and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over,
                                        in
                                        > > most cases, hundreds of years of time.
                                        > >
                                        > > It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                                        > > charcoal" that makes these soils so special.
                                        > >
                                        > > Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                                        > > involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now
                                        > we
                                        > > are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                                        > > ignored.
                                        > >
                                        > > Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last
                                        > year
                                        > > of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order
                                        > actually
                                        > > involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before
                                        burying.
                                        > >
                                        > > There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                                        > > dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char
                                        and
                                        > > digging it into the soil.
                                        > >
                                        > > -Allan Balliett
                                        > > Shepherdstown, WV
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        > >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        >
                                      • Jeff
                                        ... No till should be no problem, your normal fertilization regime will work (although enhanced)or if you use none, the natural processes will lose less and
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Feb 9, 2008
                                          > But what about no-till? That after all is a requirement
                                          > in Natural Farming. Are we back to the one-time-deal
                                          > or would regular surface applications with smaller doses
                                          > be an option?

                                          No till should be no problem, your normal fertilization regime will
                                          work (although enhanced)or if you use none, the natural processes will
                                          lose less and the result should be a higher functioning system

                                          and doesn't
                                          > that much concern organic farming, and would concern
                                          > even less natural farming - if it were practiced.

                                          While organic farming does have less leaching than conventional, it is
                                          far from none. (I haven't seen data on natural farming).
                                          I'm thinking in geologic scales here, and this of course applies much
                                          much more in humid regions. All soils lose nutrients though geologic
                                          time, they are leached and lost due to ersion. This is true even in
                                          natural habitat like Rain Forests...

                                          >
                                          > Painting a bit of a drastic picture, one could perhaps
                                          > conclude that terra preta then provides the means for
                                          > continuing conventional chemicals-based agriculture,
                                          > thus making superfluous the need to convert to a more
                                          > sustainable form of agriculture and healthy way of
                                          > growing food.
                                          > Except, in this scenario too, there is a contradiction
                                          > in that all those microbes that seem to find shelter
                                          > in the apartment complexes of terra preta may not
                                          > be able to enjoy such luxury for long in conventional
                                          > agriculture with all its toxic chemicals designed to
                                          > kill off all forms of soil life.
                                          >
                                          While it does allow conventional agriculture to continue, as mentioned
                                          previously I beleive it is a baby step in the right direction.
                                          As yeilds become a higher and higher priorty and the crops eventually
                                          hit the biological maximum through breeding, treating the soil will
                                          become more and more important over time.

                                          > PS: Just out of curiosity. Does "chemmy remmy"
                                          > have the same connotations with you as what is
                                          > usually signified by "Remmi-Demmi" in German?
                                          >

                                          Chemical Remedy -chemmy remmy
                                          I don't speak a lick of German
                                        • Dieter Brand
                                          ... Now, I m glad I asked. I thought your were talking of having a bit of the hullabaloo or perhaps an old-fashioned board game, which is what the similar
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Feb 9, 2008
                                            > Chemical Remedy -chemmy remmy

                                            Now, I'm glad I asked. I thought your were talking of
                                            having a bit of the hullabaloo or perhaps an old-fashioned
                                            board game, which is what the similar sounding
                                            German term refers to.

                                            Dieter


                                            ---------------------------------
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                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                                            Dear All, This is an interesting article published in Scientific American on terra preta. Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Feb 19, 2008
                                              Dear All,

                                              This is an interesting article published in Scientific American on
                                              terra preta.

                                              "Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert
                                              Trash into Environmental Treasure
                                              New bill in U.S. Senate will advocate adoption of "agrichar" method
                                              that could lessen our dependence on fossil fuel and help avert
                                              global warming
                                              By Anne Casselman"

                                              http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=5670236C-E7F2-99DF-
                                              3E2163B9FB144E40&page=3

                                              Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                                              http://www.e-geo.org


                                              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
                                              wrote:
                                              >
                                              > >There is a quite a lot of information online about the background
                                              > >and current research and progress.
                                              >
                                              > John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links.
                                              Unfortunately,
                                              > my Internet connection isn't up to watching videos online. And,
                                              > most of us find that eyesight decreases in direct proportion to
                                              > the increase in age, which makes us rather more selective about
                                              > what we read and what not. I had thus hoped, however selfishly,
                                              > that the gentleman from India would be inclined to share his
                                              > experience in this matter so as to remove all doubts from our
                                              > mind.
                                              >
                                              > Dieter Brand
                                              > Portugal
                                              >
                                              > johnmacmot <johnmacmot@...> wrote:
                                              > The Terra Preta phenomenon is something I've recently
                                              become aware of myself. There is
                                              > a quite a lot of information online about the background and
                                              current research and
                                              > progress.
                                              >
                                              > here are some good starting links:
                                              > Horizon documentary that does a useful job of outlining the Terra
                                              Preta origins and
                                              > characteristics in the Amazon Basin -
                                              http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-
                                              > 2809044795781727003&q=amazon+bbc&pr=goog-sl
                                              >
                                              > The Cornell University site where quite a lot of research work has
                                              been focused:
                                              >
                                              http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/terra_preta/TerraPretahome
                                              .htm
                                              >
                                              > The main discussion forum on the subject:
                                              > http://forums.hypography.com/terra-preta.html
                                              >
                                              > If you dig around these sites you will get a good picture of an
                                              interesting and potentially
                                              > quite significant subject.
                                              >
                                              > John McFadgen
                                              >
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