Salt the Earth

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I've been laboring for years to create the perfect soil to grow crops in using strictly organic ingredients and adjusting the composition and content so as to produce a loamy, fertile, well-draining living medium.
A biosphere of both living organisms and food for them and the plants I want to grow.
I've been adding organic material in the form of leaves, food scraps, eggshells, composted manure, biochar, and coffee grounds. I supplement with bone meal, peat moss, and garden lime as needed.
It's not easy. And I'm not there yet.
My goal is Terra preta, or "black soil" of the Amazonian rainforest variety, which is manmade. But there is another kind of Black Soil, called chernozem, which is made by mother nature over hundreds and even thousands of years and found in an enormous belt stretching from Hungary to eastern Siberia.
In some places it can be 50 ft. thick and is said to be the richest soil on earth. It's been there for eons and was unknown up until the iron age with the advent of metal plows as it was under grasslands, or steppes, that had such thick and entangled root systems that primitive wooden or bone plows could not penetrate it.
Once discovered and put to sow it became the most productive region for growing grains such as wheat and barley and sunflower for all of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
It is said that Russia's industrialization was financed by its extensive exploit of this soil and the export of its products in the early 20th century.
46% of Ukraine is Black Earth soils and is a major producer of food grains and oils for export to the world.
If you are wondering why International Big Ag firms are buy up farmland in Ukraine it should be obvious, they want to control this important and very valuable worldwide food source.
But there is a problem.
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant sits right in the middle of it. The power plant presently being bombed and shelled by the Ukrainian forces in an attempt to create a catastrophic nuclear event to both drive out the Russian forces that presently occupy it and bring blame and condemnation on Russia.
If they are successful in hitting the buildings holding spent nuclear fuel rods, it could produce a plume of radioactive smoke and dust, or dirty bomb, that could contaminate thousands of acres of the most valuable farmland on earth.
Should they get more powerful weapons from the west and hit the main reactors, it could create a catastrophic Chernobyl level event that, depending on which way the wind blows, endanger the lives of millions in all of Europe, or render millions of acres of Black Soil, contaminated for centuries.
Making the Romans "salting the earth" of their conquered enemies look like child's play.
It's beginning to look like a prime target for a false flag event.
Perhaps that last sentence will work to stop it.
God, I hope so.
The thread is open.

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Granma's picture

That the nuclear plant was in the middle of that rich black soil. It is insanity to threaten a nuclear plant in any case, but this one seems doubly so.

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earthling1's picture

@Granma
To attack any nuclear installation. Even a wartime attack on nuclear missile silos would be risking decades or centuries long contamination of the surrounding landscape.
And ICBM installations in the American mid-western states just happen to be in the only Black Earth region in North America.
Yay!
Thanks for the post.

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9 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

usefewersyllables's picture

would be that foolish. But all that happens whenever I think that is that I encounter a new, improved level of foolishness that transcends all that has gone before.

The fact that there has been essentially no universal worldwide condemnation of both sides involved in the shelling of the power station indicates to me that people have simply stopped believing that anything can affect them; or perhaps they've simply become numb and stopped giving a shit either way.

"Sure, go ahead and blow up the spent fuel storage. What's the worst that could happen? After all, it's not in my backyard..."

No, it isn't. It is in ALL OF OUR BACKYARDS, dammmit. Oh, well- time for some more Kardashian TV and another cold Brawndo.

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8 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

earthling1's picture

@usefewersyllables
TPTB are encouraging the destruction of the plant while at the same time the rich and powerful are surrendipitously buying up farmland there is prime foolishness.
Would love to be a fly on the wall in a Big Ag boardroom.

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5 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

lotlizard's picture

https://demcast.com/

“Talking points memo” isn’t just the name of a Dem party-line disseminating blog.

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earthling1's picture

@lotlizard
Look for the Clinton hand in there somewhere.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

dystopian's picture

Hi all, Hey E1. Hope its all good out there.

There is some blackland prairie in Texas... Neat habitat. It is pretty darn black soil. Two very limited narrow strips of it as in map here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Blackland_Prairies
A savannah grassland often with Post Oaks, you know, the ones that make the best posts, also Live-oaks and Pecans in the bottoms. Corn a common crop, where good for crane and longspur hunting in winter.

Salt of the Earth is a great stones ode to the proles... always loved the song and lyrics. Keith sings the opening verse, and great Nicky Hopkins piano.

... who need leaders but get gamblers instead... parades of gray suited grafters... a choice of cancer or polio...

Let's drink to the Salt of the Earth

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

mhagle's picture

@dystopian

My soil is black, but it is worthless. I was told that it was farmed out years ago. There is farming going on around here, but it appears to be dependent on liquid fertilizers. That's why I started doing hay bale gardening, which works very well. But when it is in the 110s for much of the summer . . . Ugh. We did get a few watermelons. Two years of good luck with the Congo Watermelon variety. Very good-tasting melon.

I'm trying to get over the Texas Gardening Blues. Need some new inspiration!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

earthling1's picture

@mhagle
how to repair the damage from using modern chemical fertilizers and restoring to a natural organic living soil.
I would start with a composted tea treatment along with plenty of manure and organic materials.
Add earthworms intermittently and use cover crops to till back into the soil.
Plant legumes to infuse nitrogen.
I test my soil by burying all cotton tighty-whitey underwear for 90 days. If after that time the elastic is all that is left, your soil is alive!
Then have it lab tested.
Good luck.

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6 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

earthling1's picture

@dystopian
It reinforces the narrative of the early Native Americans using fire to keep game animals orbiting their settlements.
And for thousands of years before that natural lightning caused prairie fires deposited char into the soil.
Those burns are needed maintainance of what is left of those prairies.
Sad.
Thanks for stopping by.

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6 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Lookout's picture

Comprised in part by shrink-swell clay. They make ideal grassland prairie. Once Buffalo/Bison grazed there.

Most of the public of Mississippi and the Southeast are unaware of the fact that within the last few hundred years, a considerable amount of prairie was present in both Alabama and Mississippi. Although the prairies found in this area were not nearly the size of those found in the the Mid-west, these prairies were still quite large, covering at least 71630 hectares (17700 acres) in the Black Belt physiogeographic region. (Pers, comm., John Barone.). However, due to the regions fertile soil, much of the prairie has been lost to agriculture and has been reduced to small remnants, and it is estimated that less than 1% of the Black Belt's open prairie habitat remain intact.

blackbelt.map_.jpg

https://mississippientomologicalmuseum.org.msstate.edu/habitats/black.be...

The fertile soil has origins in the Cretaceous Period, when the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico was much farther inland. Over millions of years, plankton that lived in the Gulf left behind exoskeletons rich in calcium carbonate—the accumulation of which resulted in the Black Belt’s chalk subsoil. As a result of all the calcium, the soil is very fertile and good for growing crops.

Before farmers discovered the soil’s fertility, the Black Belt was primarily prairie. According to Hill, about 356,000 acres of prairie were documented in the Black Belt in the 1830s. Estimates suggest that less than 1 percent of these prairies remain today. Find a remnant of the Black Belt prairie, Hill notes, and you could see some of its unique grassland birds; more than 200 species of plants, 1,000 species of moths, 107 species of bees, 33 species of grasshoppers, and 53 species of ants.

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/92321/black-belt-prairie

You can't go wrong adding organic matter, and over time the soil will respond. Happy gardening!

Thanks for the OT!

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6 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

earthling1's picture

@Lookout
Some good info there.
Judging by that sat. view it looks like another small band in upper Georgia and across Tennessee.
Will have to check that out.

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4 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Lookout's picture

@earthling1

TN, AL, GA. No black soils unless you build them. But build them you can.

Plants and animals shape soil, and prairies and the grazing animals (and predators) made them. Along with glaciers in some states, but not here. I live where tropic and glacial front runners meet. Lichens, mosses, cactus, and topical plants merge. It is an interesting forest ecosystem, as are all our respective scenes. Nature is intriguing if you take the time to look.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

earthling1's picture

@Lookout
for a short while and all I remember was that gaudy red clay soil that stained everything.

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6 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Someone pundit speculated that the biolabs in Ukraine were working on identifying a virus that would hurt, injury, expire people with identifiable Russian DNA. People might call it insane, which it is but it could also be true.

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earthling1's picture

@MrWebster
It was an avian flu variant affecting local migratory birds that summered in Russia, IIRC.
Has been memory-holed or otherwise disappeared from msm and intertubes.
Last thing I heard was they were testing it out on Ukrainians who, like Russians, are Slavs.
Despicable.

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9 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

than I do being 70 in the 20s.

- Joe Walsh

ya know how it is ..
thanks for hosting us

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Lookout's picture

@QMS

I had more fun being 20 in the 70s
than I do being 70 in the 20s.

Amen, brother!

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10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

earthling1's picture

@Lookout
Leave it to O'Joe to nail it.

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5 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

but not right now

just came across

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6 users have voted.

I should do more than I do, such as tossing food scraps, dumping leaves, coffee grounds, but it just requires more time than I ever have to get the soil where it should be.
We all need to acquire skills to grow food. Period.
Go, earthworms!

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

lotlizard's picture

@on the cusp  
https://www.sanskritdictionary.com/mah%C4%ABlat%C4%81/175537/1

In the 1980s I had a colleague named Klaus Thull, a mathematician (and TeX typesetting expert) who at the time lived in Heidelberg.

https://www.tug.org/TUGboat/tb07-3/tb16thull.pdf

Alas, he departed the planet in 2012 or so, lung cancer being the proximate cause.

His online handle was mahilata, Sanskrit for “earthworm.” For indeed, one of his major hobbies was composting, cultivating earthworms in big planters situated, in the warmer seasons, on his balcony and the roof of his apartment building.

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on this site, for the rebuilding and maintenance of soil. For a primarily political site, I think this speaks volumes about who WE are.
My compost pile is steaming away. 7 Bobcat bucket loads of organic cow manure, 120 bags of leaves, and garden clean out- corn plants, squash, etc. All piled in a big heap. I stopped by last night (33 degrees F) and the pile was steaming away. I will go there again soon and stir the pile with Bobcat. So handy to scale this up to this level. My friends enjoy gifts of 5 gallon pails of this brown gold. And my football field sized garden is getting more "tilthe" every year.
Happy dirt lets go of weeds easier. Produces so much more edible food.

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@wouldsman Bobcat? Just WOW! Handy machines, eh?

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

@on the cusp Yes, so handy. The host farmer gave me a 10 year deal on a handshake. I help cut firewood for his maple syrup operation in exchange. Also help out when I can with farm chores. Mending a fence or helping repair equipment. And in 10 years his plot of land is going to be in amazing condition. So a nice return for him. But yes, things I can do with that machine that I just could not do by hand. And compost works so much better when the pile is more than 3-5 feet thick and deep. The bigger the pile and the more it is turned the better the outcome.

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@wouldsman when neighbors, especially farmers, do those handshake deals. That is the way I grew up. That was just what we did. Honesty was counted on, never failed, and I am happy to see those attitudes still float around among us.
I have a funny Bobcat story. Modern. Not so honest.
I represented a man getting a divorce. At some point, he asked me if I would let him keep a Bobcat at my home. He would move some dirt with it, some limbs and logs for my troubles. Well, I found out after the divorce that it was community property he was hiding from his wife! I didn't feel too bad. We discovered she was hiding expensive furniture and fixtures from him, too.
People!

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7 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

One interested tidbit to add to your fertile soil geography: A swath of Eastern Washington has silty loam soil over 50ft deep in places. They are the result of ice dams breaking in the last ice age in Northern Idaho.

Lake Missoula's waters flushed a lot of silty top soil in a multi-state flash flood, and deposited it at depth in certain places in Eastern Washington. Think the rolling hills of wheat fields. And Walla-Walla sweet onions, (mostly gone now, replaced with wine grapes). The only problem is, rich soil, limited water. But man, that soil...

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Lily O Lady's picture

Watertown, NY the soil in our yard was black loam, from glaciers I was told. I planted tomatoes and peppers, but they didn’t do well due to nematode infestation. It’s the only place I have ever lived that had black loam like that.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"