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Author Topic: The soil in the Aftertime  (Read 10601 times)

Yowbarb

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The soil in the Aftertime
« on: September 27, 2010, 09:27:43 AM »
This Topic is about the soil in the aftertime. It is possible that if earth changes are severe there will be massive loss of plant life and saltwater damage to cropland, scarring  of land and washing away of topsoil... toxic wastes washed onto, deposited on lands you would want to eventually grow food on....
Please post here any good ideas you have, references, pdfs on how to clean up and replentish the land and make it more fertile.

Will start with these idea. As mentioned in antother Topic here on the Minimalism Board, on your survival land location, you could be bringing out there the building scrap materials and eventually the compost. This could be going on as you are surveying planning visiting, building. Just haul some stuff out there evey time you go. Dig a few pits and start stashing it. 
Regarding the soil:

You could have a big old compost pit.  All non - meat food items could go in there. Topsoil and fertilizer will be at a premium later on... This could be dug out and spread over an area to revitalize the soil. http://www.fao.org/docrep/t1765e/t1765e0s.htm


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32728-2004Nov7.html

- Yowbarb

noproblemo2

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 09:31:10 AM »
I currently save all coffee grounds and egg shells, dry them out grind together and makes a good natural plant food.

Yowbarb

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 09:32:09 AM »
Yowbarb's Note: If you are going to have seaweed to plow into your land to help get the pollutants out, then of couse this would  probably only work if your land was driving distance from an ocean or you have a way to get seaweed. It wouldn't matter if the seaweed were fresh you could probably gather truckloads of it off of the beaches and drive it to your location. Just put it in a pit and cover. Not sure how stinky it would be but it surely will help detoxify the soil you have and eventually build more fertile soil.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/

washingtonpost.com
Seaweed May Have Future Use As Cleaner of DDT-Polluted Soil

By Cheryl Lyn Dybas
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, November 8, 2004; Page A10


Seaweed: You find it in chocolate milk, ice cream and sherbet. Mayonnaise, cheese and instant pudding. Latex and cosmetics. Sushi and fertilizers. Now seaweed may have another use: cleaning up soil polluted by the pesticide DDT.

Ian Singleton of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England and Ravi Naidu of the University of South Australia experimented with a concoction of powdered green and red seaweed mixed into DDT-contaminated soil. They found that 80 percent of the toxic chemical disappeared within six weeks. The reason, Singleton and Naidu discovered, is that small amounts of seaweed facilitate the breakdown of DDT by microbes that live in soil.

The polluted soil was from a stockpile at the Southern Waste Depot in Maslins, South Australia, that had come originally from an orchard. The seaweed came from Glenelg Beach, a popular strand where Naidu often walks.

The shoreline there is covered with so much washed-up seaweed that the local government is reviewing plans to remove tons of green and red wrack that drift ashore with the tides, Naidu said.

"It was a eureka moment," he said, "when one morning I stood ankle-deep in seaweed and realized here's a substance that's got the right combination of elements" to work in DDT bioremediation -- cleaning up pollutants by biological means.

"Some of the best discoveries indeed are found by serendipity," said microbiologist Peter Adriaens of the University of Michigan. "DDT tends to be found in huge contamination sites, acres and acres in size. This research on seaweed could be scaled up at low cost, and it would be much easier to do than other technologies that have been tried."

Soil contaminated with DDT is a major worldwide problem, Naidu said, because concentrations of the banned pesticide continue to build up in the environment for years after its use. "DDT's toxicity, and bioaccumulation and biomagnification along the food chain cause damage to ecological systems and threaten human health."

Once called "the miracle insecticide," DDT came into widespread agricultural and commercial use in the late 1940s. In 1948, Switzerland's Paul Hermann Mueller was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for developing it. During the 30 years it was widely applied in the United States, more than 675,000 tons were sprayed onto cotton and other crops. The peak year was 1958, when nearly 80 million pounds of DDT blanketed American farmlands.

The picture changed in 1962 with Rachel Carson's best-selling book, "Silent Spring." Her portrait of a world where no birds sang made the public aware of the perils of DDT. Over the next decade, research confirmed that DDT was responsible for thinning the eggshells of birds and killing many. Numbers of eagles, hawks and other birds plummeted. Carson's book also raised questions about DDT's harmful effects on people. Scientists later confirmed a link between DDT and human ills such as cancer, infertility and various nervous system disorders. In 1972, the pesticide was outlawed in the United States.

In 2001, DDT was banned internationally under the United Nations' Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, but about 25 countries including South Africa still use it. The pesticide is essential, say officials in these nations, to fight rampant malaria.

DDT kills mosquitoes; malaria is transmitted to humans via mosquito bites. According to U.N. estimates, malaria kills one child every 30 seconds and more than a million people each year. "Half of the world's population lives in the 103 countries where the whine of a mosquito can herald sickness and death," Pascoal Mocumbi, former prime minister of Mozambique, wrote in an editorial in the journal Nature. African countries are pushing for development of less toxic pesticides and more effective drugs to combat malaria, but, in the meantime, they say they cannot afford to give up DDT.

That dismays biochemical engineer and DDT expert Malcolm Sumner, retired from the University of Georgia, who believes "one can't condone the use of DDT in today's world. We now know that it takes decades for it to disappear. South Africa, for example, has been bombarded over and over again with DDT since just after World War II. This very persistent pesticide has become part of the landscape in soils there, by the tons."

He called Naidu's and Singleton's work "a breakthrough: the development of a concept that could work on a large scale to accelerate the natural breakdown of DDT."

Although there has been no new use of DDT in the United States for more than 30 years, American soils still bear witness to its use, especially in formerly heavily treated areas, such as those along Georgia's Savannah River.

It is as though soil is sealed in an impenetrable box, says Naidu, who, along with Singleton and others, reported the research results in the April 2004 issue of the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology: "DDT gets into this 'box,' so the microbes that would normally break it down can't get at it. Seaweed has sodium in it. Sodium opens that box. It separates the tightly bound matrix that holds soil particles together and allows microbes to get in."

Seaweed is also a source of carbon, Singleton said, that stimulates the microbes' growth. "With millions of microbes living in every square foot of soil, they play a major role in the fate of DDT in the environment," he said. With the addition of seaweed, "the pesticide degrades much faster than its usual long process."

The initial breakdown of DDT depends on microbes that function best without oxygen. The scientists wet the soil to encourage these "anaerobic" microbes, Naidu said. "They're very particular about their working conditions." In fact, too much seaweed added to the soil hindered the bacteria's efforts. "When a lot is used," Naidu said, "the excess carbon and sodium get in the way of the process."

By trying varying amounts of seaweed, "we were able to find the right ratio of seaweed to soil to break down the most DDT," Naidu said. "Exactly 0.5 percent."

Now that they have found the magic number, Naidu and Singleton are ready to test their results on large samples of DDT-contaminated soil.

"We'd like to do another pilot run, but this time on five or 10 tons of soil," Singleton said. "If we can enlist the aid of seaweed to clean up a site the size of a football field, for example, we'll have taken a major leap forward in dealing with the world's DDT problem."



© 2004 The Washington Post Company

Bill

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2010, 09:45:23 AM »
If you live near the coast, and afterwards the soil is contaminated with salt. Unless you had moved before this, or live 5K plus above sea level the cleaning of the soil will not be something you will be doing. Now people may migrate towards the shorelines in aftertimes, but even then they will find themselves constantly moving to higher ground as the polar caps slowly melt. Fresh water lakes inland will become the most habitable locations. We will most all become farmers and hunter gatherer's in the aftertimes.   IF WE MAKE IT THRU IT.

m4branch86

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2010, 10:50:16 AM »
Baja and Bill Oh  to true but you also need to be savey abou the kinds of seeds you buy. They need to be orgainic reseedable plants not this onetime use crap. Also Pure ammonia has great uses and it makes a great fertilizer if diluted correctly.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4868846_use-ammonia-fertilizer.html

It also will kill parisites and it does have a SMALL amount of effect on biohazard chemicals and other dangerous by products.

Yowbarb

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2010, 03:48:11 PM »
OK it is a good idea to hose it down to reduce the salt content - before using. However seaweed fertiliser is already being used.  I suppose we are mainly talking about natural ways to rebuild the soil in the future... cheap natural ways. It may not be so easy to have enough water to hose down a bunch of seaweed in the future.
-
Wikipedia article says contaminated seaweed should be avoided. In other words seaweed should be hosed down and stashed away for the future use, since the oceans will probably be badly be contaminated by all the industrial catastrophes and the possible meteorite stuff...

What I would do if is have some hosed off seaweed hauled to my future survival spot, and have it buried. I don't care how it rots or stinks it should be good for rebuilding the soil in the aftertime. I would bury it deep. The soil will be subjected to all kinds of upheaval ....

- Yowbarb
====================================================================
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seaweed_fertiliser

Yowbarb

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2010, 03:53:48 PM »
A good big stash of earthworms in a big crate or two would be good to keep in a protected spot, water trickled onto the soil. When chaos time is here the colony would be placed in a steel container which is already buried. That would be the container which has live plants and trees, seeds, pallets of topsoil, grass seed,  rain water collection barrels, tools for making irrigation ditches gardening tools and all.

Not only do the earthworms greatly improve the soil, their continued thriving existance would be a sign the soil is not so bad.

How To Grow Your Own Earthworms site, below. - Yowbarb

http://growyourownearthworms.blogspot.com/

augonit

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2011, 07:08:03 AM »
I'm glad you mentioned worms.  I was going to mention them.  They are vital to good soil.  They are also an indicator that your soil is good.  So when you see them in your yard, rejoice, you have good soil. 

Some people keep worms in their basements and feed them down there.  I've thought of doing that myself.  All your scraps can go to them.  It's their castings that become like gold for your garden. 

I don't know low long worms live or how fast they reproduce, but I think if you start with 100, you can keep them going for at least three years in your basement.

Yowbarb

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2011, 09:50:12 AM »
I'm glad you mentioned worms.  I was going to mention them.  They are vital to good soil.  They are also an indicator that your soil is good.  So when you see them in your yard, rejoice, you have good soil. 

Some people keep worms in their basements and feed them down there.  I've thought of doing that myself.  All your scraps can go to them.  It's their castings that become like gold for your garden. 

I don't know low long worms live or how fast they reproduce, but I think if you start with 100, you can keep them going for at least three years in your basement.

Augonit thanks for this follow up info.
This is a worthwhile subject to be aware of...
Barb Townsend

Yowbarb

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2011, 10:31:43 AM »
Here's a little recap of some of the ideas in this Topic:
If we have a very bad Planet X flyby, here are some things which could happen to the soil on planet earth.
Bear in mind this will vary by region and by random events occurring because of the closeness of Planet X to our sun:

Fires, from a variety of causes will scorch the topsoil causing it to devoid of earthworms and roots and plants holding it together.
Causes: Fires from high winds which always do cause fires - damaging wiring, tipping things over, gas tanks exploding, leading to building on fire, industrial plants and so on.
Causes: Extreme lightning strikes are possible, and might be far worse than anything experienced in recent human memory. Up in Canada a few years ago a big lightning storm caused hundreds of acres to burn.
Causes: "Fire rocks" falling from PX itself, incoming objects such as meteor strikes, meteorites.

Contamination: (Contamination) of the topsoil.
Causes: Explosions of gas stations, oil drums, gas tanks; explosions of industrial buildings leading to other toxic substances all of it spilling onto the ground. Even if it is not in your backyard, any flooding could carry part of it to your area; some of it will get in the ground water and onto the soil.

Loss of the topsoil: Extreme high winds; heat.
Even if no fires there might be winds of 200 mph for a short while.

Lava flows will damage some soil. Where this will happen is not something we can prove at this point. Any area which has experienced volcanic action in the past could be in for some unexpected action right at the time of PX's closest passing.

Some ideas on solutions:

Store some topsoil, planting soil and fertilizer and any substance you can find which will help clean up the soil.
My understanding is that seaweed and algae are really good for the soil. Will post more specific ideas and Members please post what you know.
One thing people cold do is at least have a few barrels of the seaweed. It would smell terrible so the only thing I could suggest is get some uncontaminated seaweed and haul it to an underground storage spot, somewhere on your land. More on this later. Next post will have a document about uses of seaweeds including as a fertilizer and soil conditioner. Article/pdf link:
http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y4765e/y4765e0c.htm  9. Other Uses of Seaweed

Additonal Yowbarb Note: There is something called Biogenesis a patented technology being used to clean the sediment deposited near the mouth of rivers, on the east coast of the USA. It looks high tech and complicated, but maybe there is some way it could be done on a small scale...
http://www.bnl.gov/wrdadcon/publications/articles/WEDAPaperBG.PDF




Yowbarb

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2011, 10:35:42 AM »
Yowbarb Note: This section, 9.1 of this paper is about use of seaweed for the soil.
(In the same article is a lot of other useful info such as animal feed, other uses, will put that in
another
post, or in other Topics.)
...
http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y4765e/y4765e0c.htm  9. Other Uses of Seaweed

9. OTHER USES OF SEAWEEDS

9.1 Fertilizers and soil conditioners

There is a long history of coastal people using seaweeds, especially the large brown seaweeds, to fertilize nearby land. Wet seaweed is heavy so it was not usually carried very far inland, although on the west coast of Ireland enthusiasm was such that it was transported several kilometres from the shore. Generally drift seaweed or beach-washed seaweed is collected, although in Scotland farmers sometimes cut Ascophyllum exposed at low tide. In Cornwall (United Kingdom), the practice was to mix the seaweed with sand, let it rot and then dig it in. For over a few hundred kilometres of the coast line around Brittany (France), the beach-cast, brown seaweed is regularly collected by farmers and used on fields up to a kilometre inland. Similar practices can be reported for many countries around the world. For example in a more tropical climate like the Philippines, large quantities of Sargassum have been collected, used wet locally, but also sun dried and transported to other areas. In Puerto Madryn (Argentina), large quantities of green seaweeds are cast ashore every summer and interfere with recreational uses of beaches. Part of this algal mass has been composted and then used in trials for growing tomato plants in various types of soil. In all cases, the addition of the compost increased water holding capacity and plant growth, so composting simultaneously solved environmental pollution problems and produced a useful organic fertilizer.

Seaweed meal is dried, milled seaweed, and again it is usually based on the brown seaweeds because they are the most readily available in large quantities. Species of Ascophyllum, Ecklonia and Fucus are the common ones. They are sold as soil additives and function as both fertilizer and soil conditioner. They have a suitable content of nitrogen and potassium, but are much lower in phosphorus than traditional animal manures and the typical N:P:K ratios in chemical fertilizers. The large amounts of insoluble carbohydrates in brown seaweeds act as soil conditioners (improve aeration and soil structure, especially in clay soils) and have good moisture retention properties. Their effectiveness as fertilizers is also sometimes attributed to the trace elements they contain, but the actual contribution they make is very small compared to normal plant requirements. One company in Ireland that produces milled seaweed for the alginate industry is developing applications for seaweed meal in Mediterranean fruit and vegetable cultivation. "Afrikelp" is another example of a commercially available dried seaweed, sold as a fertilizer and soil conditioner; it is based on the brown seaweed Ecklonia maxima that is washed up on the beaches of the west coast of Africa and Namibia. Weiersbye et al. (no date), in a paper on the Website of the University of Namibia, describe how Ecklonia maxima was tested for potential application as a fertilizer and soil conditioner. For the reader who is interested in more information, this paper illustrates the requirements for a seaweed in these applications

In a chapter about the agricultural uses of seaweeds, Blunden (1991) describes an interesting application of Ascophyllum as a soil conditioner in controlling losses of top soil. Like all brown seaweeds, Ascophyllum contains alginate, a carbohydrate composed of long chains. When calcium is added to alginate, it forms strong gels. By composting the dried, powdered Ascophyllum under controlled conditions for 11-12 days, the alginate chains are broken into smaller chains and these chains still form gels with calcium but they are weaker. The composted product is a dark brown, granular material containing 20-25 percent water and it can be easily stored and used in this form. Steep slopes are difficult to cultivate with conventional equipment and are likely to suffer soil loss by runoff. Spraying such slopes with composted Ascophyllum, clay, fertilizer, seed, mulch and water has given good results, even on bare rock. Plants quickly grow and topsoil forms after a few years. The spray is thixotropic, i.e. it is fluid when a force is applied to spread it but it sets to a weak gel when standing for a time and sticks to the sloping surface. It holds any soil in place and retains enough moisture to allow the seeds to germinate. Composted Ascophyllum has been used after the construction of roads in a number of countries, and has found other uses as well. For more detail see Blunden (1991: 66-68).

Maerl is a fertilizer derived from red seaweeds that grow with a crust of calcium carbonate on the outside, the calcareous red algae, Phymatolithon calcareum and Lithothamnion corallioides. They grow at depths of 1-7 m and are found mainly on the coast of France near the mouths of rivers and calm bays, where the water temperature must be 13°C or higher. They are harvested by dredging or digging and are used to neutralize acid soils, as a substitute for agricultural lime. Maerl is more expensive than lime but is alleged to be better because of the trace elements it contains; however, there may be cheaper ways of adding trace elements.

Seaweed extracts and suspensions have achieved a broader use and market than seaweed and seaweed meal. They are sold in concentrated form, are easy to transport, dilute and apply and act more rapidly. One of the earliest patents was applied for by Plant Productivity Ltd., a British company, in 1949. Today there are several products and brands available, such as Maxicrop (United Kingdom), Goëmill (France), Algifert (Norway), Kelpak 66 (South Africa) and Seasol (Australia).

They are all made from brown seaweeds, although the species varies between countries. Some are made by alkaline extraction of the seaweed and anything that does not dissolve is removed by filtration (e.g. Maxicrop and Seasol). Others are suspensions of very fine particles of seaweed (Goëmill and Kelpak 66).

For Goëmill, the seaweed (Ascophyllum) is rinsed, frozen at -25°C, crushed into very fine particles and homogenized; the result is a creamy product with particles of 6-10 micrometres; everything from the seaweed is in the product. Other chemicals may be added to improve the product for particular applications. Kelpak first appeared in 1983 and the originators say it is made from Ecklonia maxima by a cell-burst procedure that does not involve the use of heat, chemicals or dehydration. Fresh plants are harvested by cutting from the rocks at the stipe (stalk) and then they are progressively reduced in particle size using wet milling equipment. These small particles are finally passed under extremely high pressure into a low-pressure chamber so that they shear and disintegrate, giving a liquid concentrate.

Seaweed extracts have given positive results in many applications. There are probably other applications where they have not made significant improvements, but these receive less, if any, publicity. However, there is no doubt that seaweed extracts are now widely accepted in the horticultural industry. When applied to fruit, vegetable and flower crops, some improvements have included higher yields, increased uptake of soil nutrients, increased resistance to some pests such as red spider mite and aphids, improved seed germination, and more resistance to frost. There have been many, many controlled studies to show the value of using seaweed extracts, with mixed results. For example, they may improve the yield of one cultivar of potato but not another grown under the same conditions. No one is really sure about why they are effective, despite many studies having being made. The trace element content is insufficient to account for the improved yields, etc. It has been shown that most of the extracts contain several types of plant growth regulators such as cytokinins, auxins and betaines, but even here there is no clear evidence that these alone are responsible for the improvements. Blunden (1991) summarizes the situation when he says "there is a sufficient body of information available to show that the use of seaweed extracts is beneficial in certain cases, even though the reasons for the benefits are not fully understood".

Finally there is the question, are seaweed extracts an economically attractive alternative to NPK fertilizers? Perhaps not when used on their own, but when used with NPK fertilizers they improve the effectiveness of the fertilizers, so less can be used, with a lowering of costs. Then there are always those who prefer an "organic" or "natural" fertilizer, especially in horticulture, so seaweed extracts probably have a bright future.

For further details

For useful discussions of most aspects of seaweeds as fertilizers, see Blunden (1991) and Chapman and Chapman (1980). The chapter by Metting et al. (1990) includes van Staden among the authors; he has made many studies on seaweed extracts so the chapter has a stronger emphasis on seaweed extracts, including a useful table summarizing studies that have been made on the effectiveness of seaweed extracts. For a review of the evidence for plant growth regulators in seaweed extracts, and their effectiveness, see Crouch and van Staden (1993).

steedy

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 03:38:42 PM »
This is an interesting topic.  One that people don't realize how important it will be for later.  I like the keeping worms in your basement idea, and will look into that.  I was thinking this year of doing soil analysis.  Maybe I should get a second test kit to see if there would be any changes in my soil in the next year or two.

Yowbarb

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 07:39:28 AM »
This is an interesting topic.  One that people don't realize how important it will be for later.  I like the keeping worms in your basement idea, and will look into that.  I was thinking this year of doing soil analysis.  Maybe I should get a second test kit to see if there would be any changes in my soil in the next year or two.

You are reminding me to add a soil test kit (of several) when I start stashing plants and garden and food cultivation supplies, etc.
And the idea of beginning the worm cultivation is really smart. I suppose they could be transported without too much trouble...some moisture in the container... some ventilation... these could be hauled up to the survival spot...
There just won't be any substitute for creatures such as earthworms (and bees) in the future. Sadly, it is possible a lot of them will be killed if things go really wrong in the coming year... fires etc.
Thanks for the good ideas,
YB

steedy

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2012, 08:22:06 AM »
I'm glad you appreciate my ideas.  Most people would think I'm pretty sick thinking about keeping and raising worms on purpose!  I saw yesterday a worm composting kit, I think I will order it.

Yowbarb

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Re: The soil in the Aftertime
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 09:09:11 AM »
I'm glad you appreciate my ideas.  Most people would think I'm pretty sick thinking about keeping and raising worms on purpose!  I saw yesterday a worm composting kit, I think I will order it.

I know what you mean. It's normal for many people to have a "button" on it.
Mom wasn't afraid of things she basically passed that attitude on to me. Mom thought little critters were all part of the plan and had a purpose. She had a "streak" of the natural scientist, pointing out various creatures and telling me things like how valuable earthworms are. How important to the soil.

Many years ago when I would be looking at the work - at - home ideas there would always be few ads on how to raise the earthworms at home in your backyard and earn some money off them. One of many plans I never followed through on.  :)

Probably some info in Mother Earth News.

- YB

 

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