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  1. China's CCTV surveillance network took just 7 minutes to capture BBC reporter Jon Russell,TechCrunch It took Chinese authorities just seven minutes to locate and apprehend BBC reporter John Sudworth using its powerful network of CCTV camera and facial recognition technology. This wasn't a case of a member of the media being forcibly removed from the country. The chase was a stunt set up to illustrate just how powerful and effective the Chinese government's surveillance system can be. It's a stark example of the type of monitoring that China has invested heavily in over recent years with the aim of helping police do their job more efficiently. Such systems are also used in private organizations, for example to monitor workers and processes in factories, but government critics have warned of the potential for abuse in the hands of the state. China has the largest monitoring system in the world. There are some 170 million CCTV cameras across the country, and that's tipped to grow more than three-fold with 400 million more set to be installed by 2020. Beyond the sheer numbers of lookout points, China is harvesting information with a new-found focus on intelligence. The government also works with facial recognition and AI companies, such as unicorn Face++, which can pour through data to extract meaningful information such as faces, ages, registration plates and more. The full video of Sudworth's 'capture' is on the BBC website, with a snippet is below -- hat-tip The Next Web. pic.twitter.com/vLGQYN7ZB9 In China's surveillance state, a reporter's game of hide and seek had a sinister edge http://www.newsweek.com/tasked-trying-remain-undetected-long-possible-sudworth-filmed-himself-selfie-747843 BY CHRISTINA ZHAO ON 12/14/17 AT 6:54 AM China currently boasts the largest monitoring system in the world, with approximately 176 million CCTV cameras in public and private hands. According to The Wall Street Journal, China will add another 450 million cameras by 2020. The U.S., by comparison, has around 50 million. CCTV is also used in China by private organizations to monitor workers and mine human data, a practice that has attracted criticism from activists as an abuse of human rights. China has no enforceable protections for privacy rights against state surveillance, reported Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Until China has meaningful privacy rights and an accountable police force, the government should immediately cease these efforts,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at HRW. Officials told Sudworth that only criminals need to fear the technology, but recent reports suggest that the software has been used to monitor and intimidate ethnic minorities like the Uighurs in western China. Beyond the cameras, China has also been gathering information by using new facial recognition intelligence and working with artificial intelligence companies, which can quickly shift through data to extract information on people’s faces, ages, registration plates and more. Facial recognition cameras and software are also being used in China for routine activities, such as gaining entrance to a workplace, withdrawing cash from an ATM and unlocking a smartphone, reported WSJ. A KFC restaurant in China’s capital is now scanning customers’ faces and then making menu suggestions based on gender and age. And a popular park in Beijing has deployed smart intelligence to fight toilet paper theft in public restrooms by using face-scanning dispensers that limit each person to a limited amount of paper every nine minutes, the newspaper claimed.
  2. U.S. regulators ditch net neutrality rules as legal battles loom and Posted From: https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/federal-communications-commission-set-reverse-111440509.html By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape. The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal marked a victory for internet service providers like AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access. Democrats, Hollywood and companies like Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc had urged Pai, a Republican appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, to keep the Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content. Consumer advocates and trade groups representing content providers have planned a legal challenge aimed at preserving those rules. The meeting was evacuated before the vote for about 10 minutes due to an unspecified security threat, and resumed after law enforcement with sniffer dogs checked the room. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said in a statement he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the reversal. He called the vote "a blow to New York consumers, and to everyone who cares about a free and open internet." FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, said in the run-up to the vote that Republicans were “handing the keys to the Internet” to a “handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.” Shares of Alphabet, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp moved lower after the vote. Pai has argued that the 2015 rules were heavy handed and stifled competition and innovation among service providers. "The internet wasn’t broken in 2015. We weren’t living in a digital dystopia. To the contrary, the internet is perhaps the one thing in American society we can all agree has been a stunning success," he said on Thursday. The FCC voted 3-2 to repeal the rules. NEXT STEPS Consumers are unlikely to see immediate changes resulting from the rule change, but smaller startups worry the lack of restrictions could drive up costs or lead to their content being blocked. Internet service providers say they will not block or throttle legal content but that they may engage in paid prioritization. They say consumers will see no change and argue that the largely unregulated internet functioned well in the two decades before the 2015 order. Democrats have pointed to polls showing a repeal is deeply unpopular and say they will prevail in protecting the rules, either in the courts or in U.S. Congress. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said in a written dissent released on Thursday that the decision grants internet providers "extraordinary new power" from the FCC. "They have the technical ability and business incentive to discriminate and manipulate your internet traffic. And now this agency gives them the legal green light to go ahead," she said. Several state attorneys general said before the vote they would work to oppose the ruling, citing problems with comments made to the FCC during the public comment period. Other critics have said they will consider challenging what they consider to be weaker enforcement. Net neutrality supporters had rallied in front of the FCC building in Washington before the vote. The 2015 rules were intended to give consumers equal access to web content and prevent broadband providers from favoring their own content. Pai proposes allowing those practices as long as they are disclosed. Michael Powell, a former FCC chairman who heads a trade group representing major cable companies and broadcasters, told reporters earlier this week that internet providers would not block content because it would not make economic sense. "They make a lot of money on an open internet," Powell said, adding it is "much more profitable" than a closed system. "This is not a pledge of good-heartedness, it's a pledge in the shareholders' interest." The chief executive of USTelecom, a lobbying group that represents internet providers and the broadband industry, said in a statement the industry has "renewed confidence to make the investments required to strengthen the nation's networks and close the digital divide, especially in rural communities." A University of Maryland poll released this week found that more than 80 percent of respondents opposed a repeal. The survey of 1,077 registered voters was conducted online by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland from Dec. 6-8. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Writing by Chris Sanders; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Meredith Mazzilli)
  3. Phosphorus - Working

    Phosporus
  4. SCOTUS considers limits to the government's surveillance powers over personal technology http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/carpenter_v_united_states/P1 This article was published in the December 2017 issue of the ABA Journal with the title "Cell Block: The high court considers limits to the government’s surveillance powers over personal technology." SCOTUS = Supreme Court of the united States. ABA = American Bar Association In 2011, the police and the FBI used data from cellular telephone towers to help connect a suspect to a string of armed robberies of Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in the Detroit area. The authorities didn’t rely on a warrant based on probable cause but on a broad court order under a 1986 federal law, the Stored Communications Act. They collected more than 120 days’ worth of records from two wireless carriers for the cell-site data of the suspect’s mobile phone. The records helped show that the suspect, Timothy I. Carpenter, was in close proximity to the stores at the time of the crimes. Combined with other evidence that Carpenter was the leader of the robbery ring, the records led to his conviction on federal robbery- and weapons-related charges. Carpenter challenged the warrantless collection of cell-site data as an unconstitutional search under the Fourth Amendment. He lost in the lower courts. But the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of a case that several legal observers predict will have enormous implications for privacy in the digital age for generations to come. “It’s hugely important,” says Orin S. Kerr, a professor at the George Washington University Law School and an expert on the Fourth Amendment. “This is the case that is going to determine the limits on the government’s surveillance power at the state and federal level in new technologies for years to come. I think the justices know that.” Andrew G. Ferguson, a professor at the University of the District of Columbia law school and a privacy expert, says the case affects cell towers and individuals’ data from email, smart watches, activity-tracker bands and so-called smart appliances—devices as conventional as refrigerators, which now have some models that connect to the internet. “This is not about just one technology and one criminal defendant,” says Ferguson, author of The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement. “It is really about how the Fourth Amendment will or will not protect all Americans in the digital age.” The closely watched case was scheduled to be heard Nov. 29, which falls under the court’s December argument calendar. TRACKING STORED COMMUNICATION Authorities initially arrested four suspects in spring 2011 in the string of robberies at Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores. One suspect identified an ensemble of 15 others who had participated in some or all the crimes, which involved small groups of robbers entering a store, herding employees into the back at gunpoint, and ordering them to fill bags with new smartphones. Court testimony later suggested that Carpenter organized a string of such robberies in Michigan and Ohio during a four-month period. He supplied the guns and typically waited in the getaway car, testimony showed. The police received Carpenter’s cellphone number from the informing suspect. The FBI sought orders from federal magistrate judges to require the release of cell-tower information for Carpenter’s phone. The magistrates granted the orders under the Stored Communications Act, which requires the government to show “reasonable grounds” for believing that the records were “relevant and material to an ongoing investigation.” Carpenter’s cellphone provider, MetroPCS, provided 186 pages of the suspect’s “call detail records” that covered 127 days, while Sprint provided records for Carpenter’s phone for two days in Warren, Ohio, where one robbery took place. (Sprint was the roaming provider in that area because MetroPCS did not have its own towers there.) At trial, FBI Special Agent Christopher Hess, a cellular analysis specialist, testified for the prosecution. “If you dial a number and you hit send, that tower information is populated in the call detail record,” he said. Hess identified eight calls to or from Carpenter’s phone that happened around the time of four of the robberies. He presented maps of the cell towers that connected those calls to demonstrate that Carpenter’s phone was within a half-mile to 2 miles of the crime scenes. On cross-examination, the agent acknowledged that he could not say that Carpenter’s phone was located within a particular spot or intersection, and he agreed that the cellular analysis was “not an exact science.” At closing argument, a prosecutor argued to the jury that the cellular data provided another overlay of corroboration, showing that Carpenter was “right where the first robbery was at the exact time of the robbery, the exact sector.” The cell-tower evidence may well have been, in this case, another layer of corroboration. There also was incriminating testimony from seven of Carpenter’s accomplices. Carpenter was convicted of all six robbery charges he faced under the federal Hobbs Act and five of six firearms charges. He was sentenced to 116 years in prison. THIRD-PARTY BUSINESS RECORDS But on appeal, Carpenter pressed his motion to suppress the cell-tower evidence, which the district court had rejected. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati also turned away his arguments, holding that Carpenter lacked any property interest or reasonable expectation of privacy in the cell-tower records acquired by the government under the Stored Communications Act. The 6th Circuit panel acknowledged that in United States v. Jones, a 2012 Supreme Court case about long-term GPS monitoring of a suspected drug dealer, five justices had agreed that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in information very similar to cell-site data. But the appeals court said Carpenter’s case was different because it “involves business records obtained from a third party.” Those records are closer to the landline call records that the high court had held were not entitled to Fourth Amendment protection in Smith v. Maryland in 1979. “Cell-site data—like mailing addresses, phone numbers and IP addresses—are information that facilitate personal communications, rather than part of the content of those communications themselves,” the 6th Circuit said. “The government’s collection of business records containing these data therefore is not a search.” Nathan Wessler, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Carpenter, says the Smith decision and the Stored Communications Act were products of an era when few Americans were carrying phones in their pockets. “In this case, law enforcement went to Mr. Carpenter’s cellphone providers and got more than four months of cellphone records that created a granular map of everywhere he went,” Wessler says. “That is a chilling power.” DIGITAL CRIME AND PRIVACY U.S. Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco argued in the federal government’s brief that the “third-party doctrine” long recognized by the high court applies here. “Cellphone users voluntarily reveal to their providers information about their proximity to cell towers, so the providers can connect their calls,” Francisco said in the brief. “Users cannot reasonably expect that the providers will not reveal that business information to the government.” John M. Castellano wrote an amicus brief on the federal government’s side for the Arlington, Virginia-based National District Attorneys Association. He says prosecutors use cell-site location data as an important investigative tool. They also use grand jury subpoenas and court orders short of a warrant to investigate identity theft, fraud, public corruption and other offenses. Those investigations would be seriously hampered by any restriction on the third-party doctrine, he says. “You don’t always have probable cause at the time you are issuing a subpoena,” says Castellano, the deputy executive assistant district attorney for the Queens County DA’s office in Kew Gardens, New York. “The nature of crime has changed. It has taken full advantage of the digital era.” But Wessler of the ACLU says the government “misreads Americans’ expectations of privacy in the digital age and sets the bar way too low.” Ferguson of the University of the District of Columbia wrote an amicus brief on Carpenter’s side for a group of scholars of criminal procedure and privacy. The basic thrust is that the third-party doctrine is ill-suited for an age in which smart devices that transmit all manner of personal information to third parties are pervasive. These include cellphones, smart cars, smart homes and smart medical devices within the body. “It used to be that police officers had to sit in hot cars drinking cold coffee to conduct surveillance,” Ferguson says. “The idea of a 1970s-era law about old telephone technology governing this area just doesn’t make a lot of sense now.”
  5. Court rules Stingray use without a warrant violates Fourth Amendment Originally posted: Mallory Locklear,Engadget Thu, Sep 21 7:54 PM EDT https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/court-rules-stingray-without-warrant-235400204.html PDF of Court Ruling Court rules Stingray use without a warrant violates Fourth Amendment Today, the Washington DC Court of Appeals overturned a Superior Court conviction of a man who was located by police using a cell-site simulator, or Stingray, CBS News reports. The court ruled that the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights were violated when law enforcement tracked down the suspect using his own cell phone without a warrant. Stingrays work by pretending to be a cell tower and once they're brought close enough to a particular phone, that phone pings a signal off of them. The Stingray then grabs onto that signal and allows whoever's using it to locate the phone in question. These sorts of devices are used by a number of different agencies including the FBI, ICE, the IRS as well as police officers. The use of cell-site simulators, especially without a warrant, has come under question a few times in recent years. In 2016, a federal judge suppressed DEA evidence obtained via such a device, the first time a federal judge had done so. Last year, members of Congress called for legislation that would protect citizens' privacy and require a warrant before Stingrays could be used by law enforcement. Two such bills were introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year. In the ruling, the judges said, "We thus conclude that under ordinary circumstances, the use of a cell-site simulator to locate a person through his or her cellphone invades the person's actual, legitimate, and reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her location information and is a search." They also said, "We agree with [the defendant] that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it deployed the cell-site simulator against him without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause." The ruling could affect ongoing and future cases as well as law enforcement's use of the technology.
  6. Plant Nutrition - Potassium

    Nitrogen Potassium Potassium in Plants and Soils. The Importance of Potassium CropNutrition - The Importance of Potassium Potassium (K) is an essential nutrient for plant growth and is classified as a macro-nutrient due to significant amounts of K being taken up by plants during their life cycle. This compilation is designed to instill the basic understanding of potassium (K) nutrition of plants, how it reacts in soils, and what it dows for the plants, and how it effects efficient crop production and quality. Not all plants uptake the same amount of potassium such as corn silage and alfalfa will uptake and remove from the soil far greater amounts of potassium than say grain crops. Understanding this aspect is vital as to better design a nutrient plan for crops but this is largely true of all macro-nutrients and crop types. Depending on the amount of available K and exchangeable K and your plants needs you may need to add K to your fertilizer nutrient plant. The total amount of K in soils often exceeds 20,000 ppm (parts per million). Almost all of this K is held in the structural components of soil minerals and is not available for plant uptake. Due to the differences in plant/crop type and the effect of weathering of these materials the amount of K supplied by soils varies. Therefore, the need and amounts for K in a fertilizer program varies. The Potassium Cycle Univ of Wisconsin Integrated Pest and Crop Management Soil Moisture factors on available K Dry soil or low soil moisture. Approximately 78% of the plants K needs are taken up by the roots. Higher soil K levels relieves some of the nutrient stress associated with drought. K alleviates the effects of both moisture deficit and excess on the crop and counteracts the yield reductions due to either. Low K in the soil can reduce plant uptake of potassium during dry/drought conditions. Soil moisture increased from 10% to 28% can increase potassium uptake by 175%. Too high soil moisture and cold soils will reduce oxygen availability and restrict the uptake of K. (wet roots) Too high soil moisture can also work to leach away available potassium to the plant. Irrigation can play a role in leaching K in sandy and mucky type of soils. Soil Temperature & PH for Potassium Optimum soil temperature for uptake is 60-80°F. Low temperature will restrict plant growth and the uptake rate of available K. Early planting can reduce the uptake of K. Increasing K may be a viable option. High available K levels will increase K plant uptake at low temperatures. Phosphorous and Potassium are typically high in rooting/starting fertilizers for this reason as together they greatly assist root growth. Low PH conditions and acidic soils Higher competition for CEC sites at a lower PH. Low ph can be a cause for potassium deficiency in crops while having sufficient K quantities of K in the soil. Correct PH conditions or limed soils. Enables more K to be held in CEC and also reduces leaching. Illustration of K in soil (organic particles are negatively charged.) https://extension.psu.edu/programs/nutrient-management/educational/soil-fertility/managing-potassium-for-crop-production Potassium is held in soils in 3 states; soil solution, exchangeable/fixed, and mineral. Soil solution - Usable to plants. Potassium (K) is taken up by plant roots only from the soil solution. K in solution is a small fraction of the total K in soil. The soil solution is replenished with K from other sources in the soil to be usable by plants. That replenishment comes primarily from readily available, “exchangeable” K. Exchangeable or Fixed K Exchangeable K, like other positive charged ions such as magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), and aluminum (Al), is loosely held in soil by an attraction to the negative charged surfaces of soil particles, this is similar to magnets on a refrigerator. This is not held strongly and can be leached. The amount of exchangeable K in the soil is dependent on the soil's cation exchange capacity or (CEC). When K is added to soil it occupies negative charged sites on soil particles by “kicking off,” or exchanging with, other positive charged ions. The creates a reserve of K in the soil waiting for a place in the soil solution to become available. As plant uptake occurs, K is released from these sites to the soil solution. The amount held in reserve and how much is released in soil solution is directly dependent the proportion of the CEC sites it occupies. The amount of exchangeable K is related to the amount of K available to the crop and the crops uptake. Clay type and Iron levels in the soil affects K availability. As Fe3+ is reduced K can be trapped between clay layers for smectite With illite K will be released. Soil testing for potassium. Soil test measures K in soil solution and exchangeable K. Take soil test at same time each year. Is very important to test annually and regularly for sandy and organic soils due to leaching. When dried the type of clay particles/minerals can affect the amount of K available. Soil heavy in micas release K during freeze and dry cycles at higher rates. Soils with low mica and high quantities of exchangeable K are less affected by freeze thaw. Time of soil sampling in regards to wet and dry cycles can affect the soil test. Spring, summer, fall and winter will show different levels. The factors of weathering, plant uptake and soil clay and mineral make up are all factors that can alter exchangeable K. It is not advised to input high K on sandy and mucky soils in the fall due to leaching aspects. By spring most will be leached away. Mineral - Not usable and very slowly released The majority of K in soil is held more tightly, trapped, or as part of the structure of soil minerals. approximately 90-98% of total soil K is found in this form. Feldspars and micas are minerals that contain most of the K and plants cannot use the K in this form. These forms, called nonexchangeable K, are generally either unavailable or only slowly available. Not viable to depend on this for plant use. Mineral K is not, typically measured as part of the soil test procedure. Decomposing organic matter in soil contributes little K. K is a soluble nutrient that leaches quickly from fresh crop residue, manure and sandy soils. However organic matter is important to K fertility because it provides many negative charged sites for holding exchangeable soil K. Finding this balance or fertilizing management with the your nutrient plan is vital for healthy plants. Union Break! Alex Clare - Alex Clare - Open My Eyes End of Union Break! Potassium in Plant Growth Potassium directly assist the plant to with stand stressful conditions and builds a stronger resistance to disease and plays a role in nearly every facet of crop production. Photosynthesis, control of plant N, formation of new proteins and tissues, and strength of cell walls and stalk tissues are all influenced directly by K nutrition. K is associated with movement of water, nutrients, and carbohydrates in plant tissue. K is involved with enzyme activation within the plant which affects protein, starch and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. The production of (ATP) regulates the rate of photosynthesis. The main value of K to crop plants is in times of stress. Full and balanced nutrition in all essential nutrients maintains a plant’s vigor and reduces its vulnerability to stress. Potassium, role in a plant’s defense, which is primarily preventative. Resistance of some varieties to stresses of disease, temperature, or moisture is related to a greater ability to take up soil K. Plant disease requires at least two conditions An infection point or entrance and a favorable environment for development. Resistance to both the incidence and the severity of disease is conferred by K through alleviating these two conditions. In some plant species, wounds, which are potential entrance sites for infection, heal more rapidly when the plant is supplied with adequate K. Even if higher numbers of disease organisms are present, plants nourished with sufficient K are less affected because of greater plant integrity. Even if disease is able to enter the plant the development of disease in a plant is affected by its K levels. When K is deficient, production of proteins and tissues stops and production materials accumulate, thus providing an ideal environment and food source within the plant for disease to develop. Potassium also helps to regulate the opening and closing of the stomata which regulates transpiration which is the exchange of water vapor, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. If K is deficient or not supplied in adequate amounts, growth is stunted and yield is reduced. For perennial crops such as alfalfa, potassium has been shown to play a role in stand persistence through the winter. Other roles of K include: Increased root growth and improves drought resistance Maintains turgor; reduces water loss and wilting Aids in photosynthesis and food formation Reduces respiration, preventing energy losses Enhances translocation of sugars and starch Produces grain rich in starch Increases protein content of plants Builds cellulose and reduces lodging Helps retard crop diseases Potassium Management In evaluating a fertility program analyzing the K soil test trend over time gives a perspective that is more important than the level at any one given time. Maintaining the level within the optimum range over time is the goal. The response to added K can also be predicted somewhat by anticipating stresses to the crop. If the crop is planted in a poorly drained field, or conversely, a drought field, moisture stress is likely, and so is a response to added K if soil levels are even borderline low. Managing K fertility for a corn grain/alfalfa hay rotation is a matter of extending your perspective from the K requirement of the present crop to the requirement of the next crop as well. A profitable response to added K is most likely when soil test levels of K are low. Within the optimum range, nutrient availability will not limit growth. Soil test levels are thus put into the context of the rotation. Potassium can be stockpiled during the corn years of a rotation in anticipation of the large requirement by alfalfa later in the rotation. Applying manure to supply nitrogen to corn will likely supply K in excess of what the corn crop generally removes. But because the concentration of K in the soil solution is low, and because it is held by the CEC, there is little potential for this nutrient to be lost through leaching, particularly in heavier soils of high CEC. The little leaching that does occur provides K for subsoil uptake by the deep-rooted alfalfa crop. In this case, soil test K levels may exceed the optimum during the corn years of the rotation, but for the rotation overall they should be around optimum on the average. Potassium soil test levels for corn-alfalfa rotation during which manure was applied in corn years to build up K for hay crop requirements. The need for increasing or reducing potassium in a fertilizer program can be determined by conducting and analyzing plant analysis data and soil testing. Soil testing is the most reliable predictor of this need. Calculations of K2O recommendations for a soil of CEC=10 at three initial soil potash levels and for three crops. Penn State Extension For most soils, this adequately predicts K availability however in some soils, the mineral K (which is not usually measured) supplies a significant amount of K to the crop, and thus the test based on the exchangeable and solution K does not fit the situation. This is most likely to occur with soils containing high amounts of the illite and vermiculite types of clays. The clue may be that there is little change in soil test K when K removal is expected to be large, or conversely (because the reaction is reversible), little change in soil test K level when K is added. Once this is a known factor this aspect can be accounted for in your nutrient management plans. This is not a common scenario. Reduced potassium in soils reasoning over time. Not sufficiently replacing potassium after crop harvest and rotations. Cost of potassium fertilizer. Minerals in soils. Soil minerals in K cannot replenish K to account for plant uptake. Is true for deep rooted plants to bring up K but the amount is not sufficient. Adjusting K in the soils Soil buffering capacity Less K is needed to adjust PPM levels. 6 to 7 pounds per acre will adjust 1 PPM. Less time is needed for a change to occur to raise or lower soil k levels. Crop removal of potassium Alfalfa by the ton K removal 180 lbs Corn silage by the ton K removal 160 lbs corn grain by the bushel K removal 46 soybean by the bushel K removal 63 wheat by the bushel K removal 23 Suggested management practices for K vary with each crop. Top dress applications are appropriate for perennial crops such as alfalfa and grasses. For soybeans, broadcast applications incorporated before planting are most effective. For corn and wheat either banded or broadcast applications can be used Broadcast rates can be reduced by one half if banded applications are used for these crops. This management practice does not reduce yields but results in a savings of fertilizer dollars. For crops (alfalfa and corn silage examples) that use lots of potassium and for soils with low potassium amounts. Soil test and monitor these soils often to ensure proper levels and availability. Top dress potassium. No till or reduced tillage crop systems - These crop systems can cause compaction and reduced soil temperature which leads to less K availability. Soil test and monitor these soils often to ensure proper levels and availability. Top dress potassium. Too high Potassium High potassium in forage crops can be problematic to farm animals. Dairy cows can get milk fever for example. Consider the potassium levels in the soils and how it relates to your plants and farm animal dietary needs. Decrease in uptake of other nutrients can result with too high K in the soils. Potential nutrient pollution of surface water through erosion of the nutrient-rich soil. Potassium is not a problem pollutant, but when soil K levels are built up by applying manure, soil phosphorous levels are also likely to be high. Reducing soil K in soils is to keep removing it, typically by utilizing crops with a high K requirement, without continued application. Can cause a depression of magnesium (Mg) uptake by cool season grasses. This can lead to grass tetany, a potentially fatal condition for ruminant animals. Its effects are related to nitrogen fertilization, low soil temperatures, and animal physiology. Grass, especially in fertilized pasture, accumulates K during the period of lush growth in May and early June, but Mg (magnesium) uptake is hindered by soil temperatures below 60 degrees F. Grazing cattle get a high K diet that increases their need for Mg, This results in a nutrient imbalance in the animals. Guarding against grass tetany involves pasture and animal feed management. The potential for this condition is greatest in pastures composed totally of cool season grasses. Legumes accumulate Mg, even at soil temperatures below 60 degrees F. High K forages can also result in increased incidence of milk fever if these forages are fed to dry cows. Union Break! Overheard - Flow End of Union Break! Potassium Deficiency LDSPrepper - POTASSIUM DEFICIENCY IN PLANTS: Symptoms & Treatment With a K deficiency the seasonal duration of leaf photosynthesis is shortened, transport of nutrients and sugars within the stem is hamstrung, plant integrity is compromised, starch formation is hindered, and use of nitrogen is limited. K is mobile and shows on older leaf growth. At the bottom leafs of the plant. The plant will take K from the lower leaves and transport them to the top leaf growth. Classic signs are a yellowing or chloro-sis from the leaf tip then around the leaf edges Can be spots to streaks of yellow or white depending on plant type. Research and understand the K deficiency for your crops and plants as various difference can be illustrated. Leaves already showing deficiency symptoms cannot be restored by adding K. Yield potential yield has already been reduced by the time the deficiency symptoms appear, and the plant has become more susceptible to the effects of other stresses. Yield and quality of the crop is directly affected. If insufficient K is available, characteristic symptoms of deficiency are likely to be evident during rapid crop growth. Photo Examples Romaine Lettuce Lettuce Rice Corn on the Cob Corn Leaf Potassium Application Gary Pilarchik (The Rusted Garden) - Understanding Garden Potassium: What it Does, Greensand, Banana Peels & Other Forms Organic options for Potassium Compost - Especially with adding banana peels. Usable to the plant immediately. Easily leached. Wood Ash - Hard wood ash 5 gallon bucket will treat about 1000 square feet. Can be added to compost to boost potassium levels of the compost. Caution - will raise PH levels. Kelp Meal and seaweed - Dry or Liquid form Easily available to the plants. Greensand - Mined from ancient sea beds. Can be used as a fertilizer or used in compost. Muriate of Potash (potassium chloride) Contains chlorine which is harmful to soil microbes. Sulfate of Potash Similar to muriate of potash but generally more expensive Does not contain chlorine and is safe to soil microbes. Not all sources of sulfate of potash is truly organic. Sul-Po-Mag - A variation of potash, sulfate of potash-magnesia A natural version is langbeinite Is water soluble and immediately available to the plant Can leach Generally is not used unless you need sulfur and magnesium. Granite Dust Is very slow potassium and tract mineral release. Not a sufficient source of potassium on its own. Can be added to compost piles. Manure Potassium Manure is a K resource present on most farms. However, K concentration varies by water and bedding content. Manure nutrient analysis is the only sure way to manage amounts of applied manure nutrients. Potassium in animal manure is almost totally dissolved in the liquid fraction, so it is important to conserve this portion of the manure. As long as liquid is not lost, handling and surface or incorporated application do not affect K content or availability. If a soil sample is taken after manure application, then the available manure K will be reflected in the soil test level and recommendations. If, however, manure is applied after soil sampling, then manure K should be subtracted from the recommendations on the soil test report. Manure K is immediately available and may be considered a 1:1 substitute for K fertilizer. Manure Moisture (%) K2O (lbs/ton) Variation (%) Cattle 85 10 36 Pigs 91 11 53 Poultry 30 30 39 The average K content of various animal manures. Fertilizer Potassium Potassium chloride (KCl), called muriate of potash is the most common fertilizer form. It is a highly water soluble salt with a K2O analysis of 60 to 62 percent. Processing differences result in two common chemical qualities, identifiable as red and white muriate of potash. Because the difference is of no consequence to the plant, deciding which to use should depend on the basis of cost per unit of K. The K analysis of a fertilizer material is given as the percentage of K2O (potash) for the material. There is no actual K2O in fertilizer, but this is the accepted and legal reporting form. Potassium recommendations are reported as lbs of K2O per acre on a soil test report. The units of potash (K2O) can be converted to potassium (K) by multiplying lbs of K2O by 0.83. For the opposite conversion, multiply lbs of K by 1.2 to get lbs of K2O. Is incompatible with tobacco. Potassium sulfate, with a K2O analysis of 50 percent, also supplies sulfur, but this is generally inconsequential since sulfur is rarely limiting for agronomic crops. Solution fertilizers may use KOH as the K source. KOH has a high K2O analysis, 70 percent, the K is no more available to the crop than if KCl were applied. Fertilizer solutions made with KCl may not be clear, but that is not a disadvantage from the plant’s perspective. As a salt, K has the potential to injure plant roots. Whether this becomes a problem depends on the rate of fertilizer or manure, especially poultry manure applied and its placement relative to plant roots. Rainfall dilutes and leaches the salts in soil, reducing the risk of injury. Because starter fertilizer is placed, by design, near seedling roots, this practice has the greatest potential for root injury. You can avoid injury by reducing the rate or by placing the fertilizer farther from the seed. Recommendation by Penn State is that total nitrogen plus K2O should not exceed 70 lbs per acre when the fertilizer is placed 2 inches over and 2 inches down from the seed row, and less if placed closer. Except in low K soils, there has been little consistent benefit from banding K as a part of the starter application and, therefore, it may be best not to include K in starter fertilizer. Summary In soil fertility we are concerned with crop response. We want to apply nutrients, K in this case, where we are most likely to get a profitable return. We have seen that crop response to K may be more indirect than direct. Effects will be an increased response to nitrogen and improved resistance to disease, drought, and cold temperatures, and may, therefore, depend on growing season conditions. In soil testing, we have a good, though not perfect, indicator of probable response to K. Soil testing partnered by good crop records enables management to make it effective. Then, by knowing the yield per field, growing conditions, problems, soil K level, and other factors, you can make decisions, based on realistic information for your crops and fields that will project into the coming years. This is important when you rotate crops in a field, especially when those crops, like corn and alfalfa, have very different K requirements. Managing nutrients makes better use of limited finances. Manure needs to become a primary concern in nutrient management, because it is a readily available nutrient carrier on most farms. Potassium needs to be used wisely to ensure an adequate supply for your crops, but not oversupplied in “insurance applications.” Recommendations: Test soil regularly, at least every three years or when changing crop. The soil test reports the amount of available K and the K2O required, if any, to bring soil level up to optimum and offset crop K removal. Evaluate the fertility program for each field by looking at the trend, over time, of the soil test levels in relation to the optimum range. Plan ahead within a rotation to supply K for the crop with the larger requirement. Reduce soil erosion with soil and water conservation practices, Do not stockpile nutrients in fields prone to erosion. Conserve the liquid portion of the manure with bedding or leak proof storage to conserve the manure K. Have farm manure analyzed for its nutrient content. Apply manure uniformly and at a known rate as part of a planned nutrient management program. Remember, quality in gets quality out. Evaluate the need for K in a starter fertilizer relative to soil test levels. At optimum or higher K levels, a response to starter K is unlikely. Keep rate of K used in starter low, or keep K away from the seed to avoid salt injury to seedlings. Keep good crop records and include input amounts, measured yields, and production costs. Managing Potassium for Crop Production (PDF) - Penn State Extension Credits: CropNutrition http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/nutrient-management/potassium/potassium-for-crop-production/ https://extension.psu.edu/programs/nutrient-management/educational/soil-fertility/managing-potassium-for-crop-production Univ of Wisconsin Integrated Pest and Crop Management Alex Clare Gary Pilarchik (The Rusted Garden) Overheard LDSPrepper https://www.todayshomeowner.com/organic-sources-of-potassium-for-your-lawn-or-garden/ NRateliffVEVO School of Life congratulations for learning about Potassium in soils and plants Links Nitrogen Potassium A proud cultural healing and life compilation.
  7. Versaland Farm - A permaculture and local government story.

    UPDATE TO VERSALAND Farm Johnson County denies Versaland farm rezoning application that sparked online controversy Written by and copied from Stephen Gruber-Miller, sgrubermil@press-citizen.com Original post: http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/2017/09/14/johnson-county-supervisors-versaland-grant-schultz-zoning-application/668317001/ Johnson County supervisors on Thursday night unanimously voted to deny a rezoning application from a farmer who claimed local foods were under assault by regulations in the county. After an hours-long meeting that drew an overflow crowd, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors denied the application from farmer Grant Schultz of Iowa City, who was seeking to rezone 62.5 acres at 5133 Strawbridge Road, near the village of Morse in rural Johnson County, from agricultural to agricultural residential so he could build housing for agritourism and hired help, as well as operate a retail orchard and fish farm. Interest in the zoning application spiked after Schultz posted a 25-minute Facebook video on Sept. 8 complaining of his treatment by the Johnson County Planning, Development and Sustainability staff. Schultz farms Versaland — a 143-acre farm where he said he raises a mix of organic crops and livestock. Schultz's video has more than 88,000 views and has been shared over 1,400 times. The application had raised concerns from community members that a rezoning could lead to more extensive housing development than Schultz currently had planned for the farm. Once the land is rezoned, there would be nothing stopping a future owner from developing it to the full extent allowed. Supervisors received over 150 emails and phone calls — including some that were rude or disparaging — ahead of the meeting as a result of the attention garnered by Schultz's video, and several people spoke for and against the application at the meeting. In denying Schultz's zoning application, supervisors emphasized their support for local foods, pushing back against some of the emails they received. But they said the vote was a simple zoning decision and was not related to whether they approve of Versaland or local foods. "I want to see farm incubators in Johnson County and all over Iowa. I think it’s very important work, but I can’t find a way to make it work here in this scenario at least," said Supervisor Kurt Friese. "I wish I was wrong." County staff had recommended denying Schultz's application based on several factors, including the concern that his proposed development of up to 36 cabins for farmer housing and agritourism would be out of character in Morse, a community of fewer than 100 people whose population has remained static for over a century. Staff also recommended Schultz share the cost of infrastructure improvements, including a bridge upgrade and widening Strawbridge Road due to the increased traffic that would result from additional housing units. To mitigate those concerns, Schultz at the meeting offered to assist with the cost of bridge upgrades and some road improvements, and to cap the number of cabins at 14 — the number he said he needs to house farm workers in an incubator-style farm model. One of the points of contention at the meeting was that while Schultz has a purchase agreement and has said he intends to buy the land, he does not hold the title. The landowners, Suzan Erem and Paul Durrenberger, oppose the rezoning application out of concern that his plan to use so much of the land for cabins, fishing docks and ponds is not in keeping with their purchase agreement, which specifies the land be used for crops and livestock. "Crops do not grow under cabins. Cows cannot graze on front porches," Erem said. The two parties have had legal disputes over the property, which were settled out of court earlier this year. Several supervisors expressed willingness to hear more about Schultz's plans once he has the title to the land. Schultz declined to comment after the meeting about his plans for purchasing the land or submitting a new zoning application. He had asked the board to essentially defer his application while he worked out a conditional zoning agreement with county staff that would address those issues, but the board instead denied the rezoning application. A deferral would have saved Schultz from spending over $1,500 on a new rezoning application, he said. Erem said Schultz had not presented his plans for rezoning the property to her and Durrenberger and that the issue of rezoning did not come up during the mediation of their legal dispute. Although the board denied Schultz's application, Erem said she was sad to see the issue lead to community in-fighting. "There’s nothing about this entire process that can make anybody happy," Erem said. "It’s polarized the entire community, it’s cast doubt on our commitment to local foods, it’s confused the issue completely." The larger issue, Schultz said, is not about Versaland specifically, but land use planning that allows for more nontraditional farms. "This is not about me and this farm," Schultz said. "This is about a big thing that affects everyone in the county, and (that's) antiquated land use planning that doesn’t properly accommodate people outside of nuclear families or the uber-wealthy." The board of supervisors is in the process of working on a countywide comprehensive plan that will be voted on in 2018. Reach Stephen Gruber-Miller at 319-887-5407 or sgrubermil@press-citizen.com. Follow him on Twitter: @sgrubermiller.
  8. Natural farming section Indoor gardening environment Biochar Compost extract & Compost teas Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 1 Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 2 Soil recipe Vermiculture & Vermicompost Part 2 Worm Bin Building Section DIY Worm Composting Bin to Rehab Your Garden Lia Andrews - DIY Worm Composting Bin to Rehab Your Garden The COMPREHENSIVE Beginners' Guide to Vermicomposting (Set up a bin & more!) WormPost SE - The COMPREHENSIVE Beginners' Guide to Vermicomposting (Set up a bin & more!) Building a home size DIY worm bin. I AM ORGANIC GARDENING - How to Build My ALL-in-ONE Worm Bin Composting & Worm Casting Harvester Worm Bin DIY - All in One - Easy Composting & Harvesting Casting I AM ORGANIC GARDENING - Worm Bin DIY - All in One - Easy Composting & Harvesting Casting Worm barrel for lawn clippings & garden scraps Rob Bob's Backyard Farm & Aquaponics - How to make a worm farm.. Easy as worm barrel for lawn clippings & garden scraps.. How to build a bathtub worm farm from recycled materials Rob Bob's Backyard Farm & Aquaponics - How to build a bathtub worm farm from recycled materials Bathtub worm farm update.. Harvesting the castings & battling bugs Rob Bob's Backyard Farm & Aquaponics - Bathtub worm farm update.. Harvesting the castings & battling bugs Harvesting worm castings from the Bathtub Worm farm Rob Bob's Backyard Farm & Aquaponics - Harvesting worm castings from the Bathtub Worm farm Worm Tower System In garden use, similar to a key garden compost systems The Abled Gardener - Worm Towers from 5 gallon buckets Update from worm tower video above The Abled Gardener - Worm Tower Update/Harvesting Worm Castings Another construction video of the in-ground worm tower using pvc pipe GreenShortz DIY - How To Make A DIY Worm Tower How To Make A Worm Tower from wood (wont last as long but is nature friendly) GreenShortz DIY - How To Make A Worm Tower from wood Larger DIY Worm Bin for small farm or large garden with extensive instruction. The Growing Club - How to Build the Ultimate Plastic Free Worm Composting Bin Farm Size Worm Bin and information with a different design The Farm at South Mountain - How to build a Vermiculture/Vermicomposting/Worm bin at The Farm at South Mountain Harvesting castings and separating worm eggs cocoons. Matthew WormsEtc - Separating and harvesting worms and worm castings. Separating worm egg cocoons. Using Vermicompost Vermicompost is a fully stabilized organic soil amendment that is much more microbially active than the original organic material that was consumed. It has a fine particulate structure and good moisture-holding capacity. Vermicompost contains nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in forms readily taken up by plants. It also has plant growth hormones and humic acids, which act as plant growth regulators. You can either use your vermicompost immediately or store it and use it later. The material can be mixed into the soil in your garden and around your trees and yard plants. You can also use it as a top dressing on outdoor plants or sprinkle it on your lawn as a conditioner. It’s best to protect the vermicompost from direct sunlight by incorporating it in soil or covering it with mulch. You can also make “vermicompost tea” to spray on your plants. Simply add two tablespoons of vermicompost to one quart of water and allow it to steep for a day, mixing it occasionally. Water your plants with this “tea” to help make nutrients in the soil available to the plants. Be sure to use the vermicompost tea on your plants within 24 hours of making the batch of solution. Do not use vermicompost tea on the edible portion of a plant unless you are absolutely certain that the solution does not contain pathogens. Mixing castings for use in starting a garden Pauly Piccirillo - How To Mix Worm Castings For the Garden. The way to much information section Worm farming information: A special thank you to Rhonda Sherman for all her work in the industry. Worms Can Recycle Your Garbage (Rhonda Sherman, 2017, AG-473-18). How to set up and maintain a worm bin in your home or office to compost food scraps. https://composting.ces.ncsu.edu/vermicomposting-north-carolina/ "Vermicompost for Healthier Plants" JC Raulston Arboretum - "Vermicompost for Healthier Plants" Worm Bin Troubleshooting Bin smells bad Overfeeding Stop feeding for 2 weeks Non-compostables present Remove non-compostables Food scraps exposed to air Bury food completely Bin too wet Mix in dry bedding, leave lid off Not enough air Drill more holes in the bin Bin attracts flies Food scraps exposed to air Bury food completely Rotten food Avoid putting rotten food in bin Too much food Don't overfeed worms Worms are dying Bin too wet Mix in dry bedding; leave lid off Bin too dry Thoroughly dampen bedding Extreme temperatures Move bin where temperature is between 59° and 77°F Not enough air Drill more holes in bin Not enough food Add more bedding and food Worms are crawling away Bin conditions are not right Review above; Leave lid off and worms will burrow back into bedding as they escape the light. Mold is forming Conditions are too acidic Cut back on acidic foods; remove mold; moisten bread products Bedding is drying out Too much ventilation Mist bedding keep lid on the worm bin Liquid collecting in bottom Poor ventilation and/or over-watering Leave lid off for a couple of days and add dry bedding Feeding too many watery scraps Cut back on coffee grounds and food scraps with high water content Mix food with bedding material before feeding To prevent unwanted seeds, generally a professional for profit operation. Compost traditionally until the internal compost pile temperature reaches 131 °F to 170 °F for 3 days. Remove composting material (is not done we only want to kill the seeds and pests) Spread around and let the compost cool or you can cook your worms. Add this compost as feed stock to the worms. Pests - Not all are harmful but annoying Potworms Potworms are common in worm bins and enjoy slightly acidic conditions. Potworms are small white worms commonly found in soil. They can develop into massive populations, especially in compost piles or in earthworm farms. They’re scientifically known as enchytraeids (enn-kee-TRAY-ids) and are segmented relatives of the earthworm. They are often thought to be baby red wigglers, but baby red wigglers are reddish even when they are tiny. The name “potworms” comes from the fact they inhabit the soil in pots and containers. There is some unnecessary worry that overpopulation will choke out the worm population. That is typically not the case as potworms and a host of other creatures, including those that cannot be seen except under a magnifying glass or microscope, reside peaceably with earthworms, often in great numbers. When a potworm invasion occurs, they can number as many as 250,000 in a ten-square-foot area. Adults measure about a quarter of an inch, and can literally appear to be in the millions in comparison to your red wiggler worm population. Potworms tend to congregate together under food. Potworms feed on the same type of litter as earthworms and inhabit rich organic environments such as a compost heap or worm composter. They are efficient at aerating soil and breaking down just about any organic material. This species prefers an acid environment that is moist. When lots of acidic materials are added to the bin, or when starchy materials are added and allowed to ferment. If the bin is too dry, they will die. The easiest way to reduce potworm populations is with bread soaked in milk. They will flock to a piece of soaked bread and can be lifted out and destroyed in large batches Just as potworms won’t harm other living worm species, they do no damage to living plants. The only possible problem that could occur with potworms in a worm bin is if their population grows so large that they compete for food with the red wiggler composting worms. However, this rarely happens and potworms generally help with the composting process. Spider mites (Brown and white) Mites are the most common pests to show up in your vermicomposter. Most worm beds usually contain several species of mites. Earthworm mites are small and are usually brown, reddish or somewhere in-between. They tend to concentrate near the edges and surfaces of the worm beds and around clusters of feed. They are not known for attacking the earthworms but do eat the worm’s food. When the mite population is too high the worms will burrow deep into the beds and not come to the surface to feed, which hampers worm reproduction and growth. Mites can compete with the worms for available food if the population spirals too high. High mite populations usually result from: Feeding the earthworms overly moist garbage and vegetable refuse as feed. Over-watering. Keep the beds damp but not wet. Poor bed drainage. Ensure that there are adequate drainage holes at the bottom of your worm bin or housing. Remember, the same conditions that ensure high worm production will be less favorable to mites. If you find your worm farm overrun by mites, expose the beds to the sun for light for a few hours. Cut back on water and feed and then, every 1 to 3 days, add calcium carbonate. Add additional shredded paper or coconut coir to absorb any excess moisture. Drain off any liquid that has collected in the base and check to make sure the spigot is not plugged. They seem to love cantaloupe and watermelon. Place the rinds on top of the compost (after you have enjoyed the fruit of course). Leave it over night and the next day you will have mites covering the rind from top to bottom. Wash the mites off over the sink. Keep repeating the process until you are satisfied with the results. When you're done leave the rinds in for your worms to enjoy. Christy Ruffner - ControllingSpiderMitesInTheWormBin Fruit Flies Not a friend, neither an ally, just plane annoying. A common method for ending the cycle of nature on these worm farming pests mainly in your house. Fill a small bowl with apple cider vinegar, wrap it with plastic wrap and punch a couple of small holes in the middle about the size of a toothpick. They will fly into the hole and eventually drown. They are attracted to the acid in the vinegar. This is probably what attracted them to the bin in the first place. Remember to add the food in small layers to avoid rapid bacteria growth and pungent odor. A way to prevent their eggs from hatching can be to boil it before feeding it to the worms or freeze it but only if you see them in the fruit. Freezing will probably only kill the larvae and not the cocoons. Make sure to bury the food under at least 2 inches of bedding to eliminate any flies from getting in. This will also mask the smell from emanating from the bin and attracting other worm farming pests. Springtails Springtails are tiny, wingless insects, usually white in color but may also be yellow, gray, red, orange, metallic green and lavender. They feed on mold, fungi, bacteria and decomposing plant material so they are harmless to earthworms. Springtails can “jump” about 75 mm. They have a tiny spring-like structure under their bellies that causes them to jump when disturbed. Springtails are most numerous in wetter bedding, while numbers decrease as the bedding dries out. Although they have on occasion been observed to eat dead or weak worms, springtails are primarily a nuisance because they eat the worm’s food and can, when the populations are big enough, drive the worms deep into the beds and keep them from coming to the surface to feed. One deals with them the same way one deals with mites Earwigs They are not harmful in a worm composter but may eat some of the earthworm food. Earwigs are outdoor insects usually found under mulch, logs or dead leaves. They both need and are very attracted to moisture. Earwigs are rapid runners, and are easily identified by the prominent pincers on the end of the abdomen. The common earwig is a light, reddish brown flattened insect, up to one inch in length. Most species of earwigs are scavengers that feed on dead insects and decaying plant material but some species are predators. Earwigs may try to pinch if handled carelessly, but are harmless to people. Beetles Beetles are not harmful in the worm composter. The most common beetles in compost are the rove beetle, ground beetle and feather-winged beetle. Feather-winged beetles feed on fungal spores, The larger rove and ground beetles prey on insects, worms, snails, slugs and other small animals. Rove beetles are the most common group of beetles found in composting bins. They are slender, elongated beetles with wing covers (elytra) that are much shorter than the abdomen; over half of the top surface of the abdomen is exposed. Their tail often bends upwards and they can be mistaken for earwigs. Most rove beetles are black or brown. Most rove beetles are medium sized beetles; a few species are up to one inch long. Rove beetles are active fliers or runners. When they run they often raise the tip of the abdomen. Rove beetles don’t sting, but can give a painful bite. They are found in or near decaying organic matter and feed on other insects such as fly maggots. Centipedes - Remove these pests Centipedes are fast moving predators that will kill worms and should be removed. Centipedes resemble millipedes, but their bodies are more flattened and less rounded at either end. Centipedes have one set of legs per segment on the bodies and a pair of pincers which originate behind the head. The centipede is generally more reddish than the millipede. The stingers behind their head possess poison glands that they use to paralyze small earthworms, insect larvae and small insects and spiders. The only way to control centipedes is to remove them by hand which should be done carefully. They will use the pincers to sting. Millipedes They are harmless to earthworms. Millipedes have worm like segmented bodies with each segment having two pairs of walking legs. Millipedes move much more slowly than Centipedes and have a rounder body. Colors range from black to red, but those species found in the worm bin are commonly brown or reddish-brown. Millipedes are vegetarians that break down plant material by eating decaying plant vegetation. They will roll up in a ball when in danger. Sow Bugs and Pill Bugs They are highly beneficial in the worm composter but can harm young plants. Sow Bugs, also known as a “wood louse” are fat bodied crustaceans with delicate plate like gills along the lower surface of their abdomens which must be kept moist and a segmented, armored shell similar in appearance to an armadillo. They are brown to gray in color and have seven pairs of legs and two antennae. They move slowly, grazing on decaying vegetation. They shred and consume some of the toughest materials, those high in cellulose and lignins. Sow bugs are usually found in the upper areas of the worm composter where there is an abundance of unprocessed organic matter. Pill bugs, or “roly polly bugs” look similar to sow bugs but roll up in a ball when disturbed. Slugs & Snails Slugs and snails can be found in your vermicomposter. While they will not harm the worms they will eat any fresh kitchen waste in the composter. The biggest detriment is the eggs they lay. The eggs can be transferred into your plantings in the compost providing them with a meal of succulent young plants. It is best to remove any slugs or snails you find immediately. If they become a problem you can make a slug trap as follows: Cut several 1 inch opening in the sides of a clean, covered plastic container. Sink the container into the bedding of the top tray of the worm composter so that the holes are just above the level of the compost. Remove the lid and pour in ½ inch of beer or a yeast mixture of 2 tablespoons flour, ½ teaspoon baker’s yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 cups warm water. The slugs will be attracted to the beer or yeast mixture, fall in and drown. Check the container regularly. Ants Ants are attracted to the food in a worm bin. They feed on fungi, seeds, sweets, scraps, other insects and sometimes other ants. Try not to spill anything near your bins and clear away any spillage as soon as it is spotted. The presence of ants is an indication of dry bedding. Moisten the bedding and turn it with a trowel to disrupt their colonies and most ants will find some place else to live. One way to keep ants out of your worm composter. Put each of your bin’s legs in a dish of water that has had a drop of dish soap placed in it to reduce the surface tension of the water. This prevents the ants from walking across the water. Alternatively, most of the garden centers sell ant goo, a sticky substance that is painted around the stems of rose bushes to trap ants. It is eco friendly as it doesn’t contain any insecticide poisons. If all else fails and the ant invasion has already become serious, Dust the area around your beds with pyrethrum dust or douse the ant nest and the trails leading to your bin with a granular insecticide, or use commercially available ant traps, which contain slow release poisons that the ants take with them back into their nests. Please be sure not to use any insecticide on the actual worm bed soil or you will kill your worms. If ants are already established inside the beds soak the section they are in with water and they will usually go away. The ants don’t bother the worms and they actually benefit the composting process by bringing fungi and other organisms into their nests. The work of ants can make worm compost richer in phosphorus and potassium by moving minerals from one place to another. Blow and House Flies Excess flies buzzing around your worm bins or worm farms are usually the result of having used meat, greasy food waste, or pet feces as feed. They spread disease and can also result in maggots if the beds aren’t properly sealed. If your farm is kept indoors or under some sort of shading Hang up some fly strips, which will draw them away from the farms. A properly maintained worm farm will normally not stink and therefore not attract flies. Soldier flies Soldier fly larvae are harmless to you, your worms and your plants. They are very good decomposers and, if allowed to stay in your vermicomposting system, will help to recycle your waste. Just be sure that your worms get plenty to eat as well. The soldier fly manure does make good worm feed as well. Soldier flies are true flies that resemble wasps in their appearance and behavior. Adult flies vary in color from black, metallic blue, green or purple, to brightly colored black and yellow patterns. The larvae of the fly are a type of small maggot that feeds exclusively on putrescent material. They are often found in worm composters but are not a real threat to the worms. They do not attack them or compete with them for food and may in fact complement the compost worms activities. Like the vermiculture worms their feces make excellent compost. They can best be kept out of the worm composter by not using meat and fatty waste and by keeping the moisture on the dry side. Make sure that there is a good cover of bedding material over the feeding area. These remarkable creatures, unlike the common housefly, do not spread bacteria or disease. The larvae ingest potentially pathogenic material and disease-causing organisms and thus render them harmless. Moreover black soldier flies exude an odor which positively discourages houseflies and certain other flying pests. When the larvae reach maturity they leave the feeding area to pupate. The adult fly is nocturnal and characterized by very fast and rather clumsy flight. It has no mouth and cannot bite or sting. Maggots or larvae The most common type of maggots found in a worm bin are grey-brown and about 1/2″ long. These are the larvae of the soldier fly, a large pretty, blue/black fly. These larvae are attracted to compost piles and to the worm bin, and will not harm you or your worms. In fact, they are good decomposers and, like the redworms, will produce a high quality casting. If you haven’t added animal proteins, and don’t have any foul odors in the bin, then in all likelihood the maggots you are seeing will be soldier flies. Once your bin has soldier flies, it can be difficult to say goodbye to them. Your best tactic is to simply allow them to grow out of the larval stage (which they do quickly) and fly off. If you really can’t stand them, you’ll have to harvest the worms and get rid of all your vermicompost material (put it in an outdoor compost pile, or bury it in the garden). Then put your worms back into fresh bedding. Flatworms and Planarians Land Planarians are extremely destructive to earthworm populations and need to be removed and destroyed upon sight. Land Planarians, also called Flatworms, are iridescent slimy worms with a hammer or disk shaped head. They eat slugs, each other, and are voracious predators of earthworms. Much like slugs, they hide in dark, cool, moist areas during the day and require high humidity to survive. They are rare in rural sites. Feeding and movement occur at night. They can survive desiccation only if water loss does not exceed 45 percent of their body weight. They are thought to primarily be distributed by tropical plants. Planarians are a predator that you will want to remove and destroy every time you see one. Spray with orange oil or bleach, or collect to dry out in hot sun. Summary Utilizing worm castings in the garden is an excellent way to ensure balanced plant nutrition and maintaining a healthy soil web. Castings are sometimes referred to as "black gold" due to the plant and soil benefits but also its economic value as high quality worm castings can be profitable. Additionally, vericulture works to remove food and other organic waste products from landfills where it does not assist nature. Today more and more restaurants, schools, farms, military and many other businesses and institutions are utilizing vermicomposting and truly making a greener world! For this, they have our respect! Depending on the food stock that you feed the worms the traits of the castings can be different. Such as more manure based castings are different than vegetable based worm castings but they all work great. Their is also not much data available on this aspect but I do know that is a thing. In time when more data is more accessible I will update this compilation. I hope you have a positive view of worms and perhaps become friends with them. We owe much to the not so lowly earthworms and I thank them! Congratulations for learning about composting worms! Credits - Please support these people and organizations directly. Dave http://floridanativeplantseeds.com/perennial_seeds_A-L.htm https://liaandrews.com/episodes/ WormPost SE - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WormPostSE Larry Hall DownToTheRoots Home Farm Ideas Rob Bob's Backyard Farm & Aquaponics The Abled Gardener GreenShortz DIY Gregor Skoberne I AM ORGANIC GARDENING The Growing Club The Farm at South Mountain Pauly Piccirillo JC Raulston Arboretum Rhonda Sherman geobeats Christy Ruffner http://www.wormfarmingrevealed.com/ The Record Company ChetFakerVEVO Links Natural farming section Indoor gardening environment Biochar Compost extract & Compost teas Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 1 Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 2 Soil recipe ~A Proud Cultural Healing and Life compilation
  9. Versaland Farm - A permaculture and local government story. The story is ongoing. The following story has two sides and both appear to have some merit and strong points. I ask that all sides be weighed and that people work together to find real solutions if that is even possible after everything has happened. We here are about cultural healing and life and in that we all must learn to walk together, especially when our views and wants go in separate directions if such a thing can be achieved. The Versaland Call for Help https://permies.com/t/70332/Call-Action-Versaland-Farm-threatened When I learned of this yesterday my soul shed a tear and I felt a little less American than I ever did. However, as I said my soul shed a tear and this is kinda foolish as what we did to the American Indians so I will use the words less humanity now. So I will not pout and get in line behind them and put on my thinking hat! With that said lets us remember, their are two sides of a story and many perspectives to consider and this is not a cut and dry issue. Well let me stop here for a bit and let Versaland Farm tell their own story. More information to consider The Iowa Citizen Press Article Stephen Gruber-Miller, sgrubermil@press-citizen.comPublished 7:06 p.m. CT Sept. 11, 2017 | Updated 9:55 p.m. CT Sept. 11, 2017 http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/2017/09/11/johnson-county-agricultural-zoning-versaland-grant-schultz-josh-busard/653692001/ Johnson County Re-Zoning Application Goes Viral https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/planningBLUZ/2017/09/12/johnson-county-re-zoning-application-goes-viral/ September 12, 2017 Goto comments Leave a comment by Eric Christianson An Iowa City resident’s attempt to rezone 63 acres of rural Johnson County has attracted international attention. Grant Schultz manages a 143 acre farm he calls Versaland in northeastern Johnson County. He is seeking the zoning change to allow him to build rental cabins and worker housing in addition to other accessory uses. Staff recommended against the rezoning because of the potential impact of a large land use change in a rural part of the county and the infrastructural improvements that would be needed to support the potential new uses. On August 14 the planning and zoning commission voted 5-0 to recommend to the board of supervisors that the rezoning be denied. In response on September 8, Schultz created a 25 minute video with the headline “Johnson County Assaults Local Foods“. The video has, as of today, been viewed over 80,000 times and received comments of support from all over the world. Johnson County has since published a memo refuting many of the points made in the video. Additionally, Paul Durrenberger and Suzan Erem, founders of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, and owners of the property in question have published a blog post of their own entitled, “Grant Schultz: Facts to Consider”. They are opposed to the proposed rezoning. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors will vote on the rezoning request Thursday September 14, 2017. For more information read the Press Citizen article about the fight. As they say, always two sides of each story. I post this ethically to the story. The Other Side Johnson County Memo to the video https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/planningBLUZ/files/2017/09/358643971-Johnson-County-responds-to-Grant-Schultz-s-video.pdf Date: Sept 8, 2017 To: Board of Supervisors From: Josh Busard, Director Re: Video Made by Grant Schultz regarding Rezoning Application 27281 On Sept. 8, 2017, Mr. Schultz posted an approximately 25-minute video on Facebook about his rezoning application 27281. In the video, a number of claims are made. The Planning, Development and Sustainability Department would like to provide a response. The application will be heard by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2017. Part One of this memo will provide background and timeline for the application process to date. Part Two addresses topics, primarily by the order in which they were raised in the video. This is not meant to be a comprehensive review of the entire application that will be considered by the Board on September 14. PART ONE: TIMELINE AND BACKGROUND Grant Schultz submitted to Johnson County Planning, Development and Sustainability an application on July 11, 2017 to reclassify 62.54 acres from A-Agricultural to AR-Agricultural Residential for “diverse organic farm hosting education, fishing, camping, and cabins for agritourism.” The property at 5133 Strawbridge Road NE is owned by Edward Paul Durrenburger and Suzan Erem. The County believes that Mr. Schultz leases the farm, and intends to purchase it at the end of 2017. Mr. Schultz’s application was heard by the Johnson County Planning and Zoning Commission on August 14, 2017. Ms. Erem, as the property owner, stated at the meeting that she did not support Mr. Schultz’s rezoning application. In their report, staff recommended denial. The complete staff report is attached; however, here is an excerpt from the conclusion highlighting staff concerns: While a smaller-scale rezoning request at this location may be appropriate, staff is not comfortable recommending approval of this request as presented given the scale of potential development that could result from rezoning 62 acres of land to ARAgricultural Residential. Staff has significant concerns with how out-of-character a large scale development would be with the historical development patterns of Morse, and also with the potential impacts development could have on Strawbridge Rd, Putnam St, and the Strawbridge Rd bridge over Rapid Creek. These concerns exist not only in regards to a large-scale residential development, but also for the 36-unit rental cabin development at the site proposed by the applicant – staff would prefer to see a more measured and incremental approach to development of this site. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to deny approval. This vote serves as a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, which, as noted, will hear the application at its 5:30 p.m. formal meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 PART TWO: ADDRESSING CLAIMS MADE BY MR. SCHULTZ The following responses are relative to the order in which they were raised in the video. Retail Orchard / You-Pick Operations: The County has not banned retail orchards. However, on April 20, 2017, the County established a 12-month moratorium on the creation of new retail orchards (Res 04-20-17-01). “You-pick” farm operations are not part of the moratorium. Mr. Schultz at this time could invite the public to personally pick apples (or any other fruit, vegetables or nuts he grows on site) and buy them from him. Aqua-Culture: (“Fish Farms”): Fish Farms are considered agriculture in Johnson County. Mr. Schultz could raise fish on his property right now if he wanted to. If he wants to have a “fish your own” operation along with selling bait for others to fish, he would need to follow the same regulations others have and rezone the property to Agricultural Residential and get a conditional use permit. Morse Village Boundary and Plan: As Mr. Schultz’s states, the property is within the Morse village boundary. The County Land Use Plan (2008) directed the County to develop plans for each unincorporated village, including Morse. That directive include the following item: “Encourage sustainability within villages by promoting mixed-use developments that foster live/work arrangements which are appropriate for the village-area being considered.” Mr. Schultz claims he is supporting the Land Use Plan by fostering live/work arrangements. However, as seen above the goal statement goes on to mention that the live/work arrangements should be appropriate as determined by the Morse Village Plan. The Morse Village plan states: “Future housing stock should not conflict with historic village development.” Historically, the village has not grown from a population of approximately 85 people in the past 100 years, and the traditional growth area of the village is small-lot development along Putnam Road to the north. Development in Morse traditionally has been a mix of low-intensity commercial and residential uses. The build-out for the 62 acres, if zoned Agricultural Residential is as many as 50 homes before density bonuses (see staff report). Housing for Seasonal Agricultural Labor: Johnson County allows “seasonal agricultural camps” that must follow 14 requirements, including fire and other safety aspects. Strong regulation on temporary quarters for agricultural workers is necessary to ensure farm workers are not forced to live in sub-standard conditions just to work. It is true that the seasonal housing for agricultural workers is limited to June 1 and Sept. 15. There has been discussion about changing this time-period when the ordinance is reviewed. Mr. Schultz’s referenced a lawsuit. Staff has no direct knowledge of a lawsuit, but is fairly certain that there was a migrant camp in the late 1980s south of Lone Tree, and this camp necessitated the seasonal agricultural labor ordinance to protect farm workers. Responsiveness to Mr. Schultz: Staff have remained available by phone and email, as well as in person, to Mr. Schultz. The last in-person contact was August 31 Cost of Application and Project Scope: Prior to Mr. Schultz submitting the rezoning application dated July 11, Nate Mueller, Assistant PDS Director, emailed him on July 10, 2017, to caution him about requesting a rezoning while he was not the property owner, and moreover, the current owner had stated she was opposed to the rezoning. Specifically, Nate wrote: “You are welcome to request the rezoning even though you are not currently the deed holder, but in our experience when that kind of request comes through and the deed holder is opposed to the change, the Supervisors take that very heavily into account. I just want to make sure you’re aware of this potential issue before you commit $1400+ to the application filing fee.” In addition, Josh Busard, PDS director, had personal conversations with Mr. Schultz, where he recommended that the rezoning application be scaled down, and that it might be more appropriate to seek rezoning of eight (8) acres to better support his goal of obtaining a conditional use permit for his intended development (cabins, etc.). Mr. Schultz did not follow that advice, and he repeatedly stated that he needed to rezone the entire property because his timeline did not permit a subdivision application. Josh also told him that before any building permit, he would need a subdivision, but Mr. Schultz said he would address that later. Mr. Schultz indicated in the video that he wishes to have 14 cabins for resident farm workers and 22 for rental. This statement in the video is the first time staff have heard these specific details. Strawbridge Road and Infrastructure Costs: This road floods regularly as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map. The County’s Land Use Plan (2008) contains the following two policies: “Ensure transportation demands can be accommodated when evaluating rezoning requests” (p. 22). “Ensure that new residential areas are responsible for a share of development costs” (p. 23). The County has worked with property owners and developers to improve roads prior to development projects (e.g., Harry Ambrose on Curtis Bridge Road; Stringtown Grocery and Kalona Cheese Factory on 500th Street; S&G Materials on Isaak Walton; Celebration Farm (turn lanes) on Highway 1) Additionally, the County’s Floodplain Development Regulations states that “Subdivision proposals intended for residential development shall provide lots with a vehicular access that will remain passible during occurrence of the 100-year flood” – because of this, staff historically does not recommend approval of rezoning applications that do not meet this standard. The property in question does not meet this standard and staff does not feel that transportation demands can be accommodated without future road upgrades. County Historic Poor Farm: The property Mr. Schultz is requesting to rezone is in the unincorporated area of Johnson County, and thus subject to its regulations. The Johnson County Historic Poor Farm is located within the city limits of Iowa City, and is regulated under the City Zoning Ordinance. Contrary to Mr. Schultz’s claim, the County Farm is subject to zoning and other city regulations, and comparisons between the two is not a simple as presented in the video. County staff, the Board of Supervisors and consultants on the project have communicated with City staff about the many city regulations. Respectfully, Josh Busard Director Planning and Development & Sustainability As they say, always two sides of each story. I post this ethically to the story. Those who currently own the land are opposed, their view Grant Schultz – Facts to Consider http://dracohill.org/blog/grant-schultz-facts-to-consider/ We hope these documents that constitute every legal agreement and disagreement we’ve had with Grant Schultz over the last 4 years help clarify any misinformation floating around the internet. By the way, we own the property. So if you believe in property rights, you should allow us to do as we please with our own land, and we don’t want it rezoned as a resort. And for those who believe assertions that we are out to steal this farm from Grant and somehow get rich from it, rest assured – the annual payment is more than we make on our fixed income. We cannot afford this farm and never wanted to own it. We have given him every opportunity to purchase it from us and continue to do so. We regret having to engage Mr. Schultz because he has treated us like trash for 2 years, and posting this will only motivate him to do it again. We are sorry for the ill-will and anger he is stirring up against good people, including those elected by the people of Johnson County and those they appoint to enforce county ordinances. We apologize to our neighbors in Morse who have had to suffer livestock visiting their homes, yards, sheds and garages, cars parked along a road making it nearly impassable, guns going off at all hours of the night, the years-long saga to get a proper septic installed on this land that Rapid Creek runs through, the unkempt farmstead, the overgrown fences and more. But the time has come to stand up to this bully. We do so at great personal risk, including fear for our safety and fear that he will trash the farm we own out of spite and anger. But we have talked with more than a half dozen young farmers who’ve lived and worked at Schultz’s farm, and they all fear he will retaliate against them with his “worldwide network” on social media. Therefore, we must do the talking for them, and for all young farmers who have asked us not to let this man stand for them, because they are ashamed of what he is doing to us. Please read the documents and see where: We bought this farm to sell to him at the same price 5 years later, knowing the value would likely go up. We didn’t care. We wanted to help him get started. We give him the Farm Credit Services patronage rebate every year instead of keeping it. We paid $24,000 of a $32,000 high-powered livestock well (the other $8K coming from the government he so despises) that he now plans to use for his cabins instead for livestock, according to his testimony at the Planning and Zoning Commission. We gave him an additional $50,000 to purchase a building and install a septic system so he could live there legally. How we moved to terminate the lease when we learned the sheer number of violations he had committed of the document he wrote. How we moved to evict when he didn’t pay his rent – something every farmer in Iowa understands is the one thing you do no matter what – sticking us for the $52,000 payment to the lender last year. What’s not in the documents, so you don’t have to believe us but consider it food for thought: his threats to drag our names through the mud if we didn’t agree to what he wanted, how he has repeatedly misrepresented his rent per acre to make us sound like we were gouging him, how he has claimed that HE has poured hundreds of thousands into this property when the government and Paul and I paid for almost everything, how he gave his best helper three days’ notice for his 40 head of cattle and all the other livestock the man was tending, because Grant decided to change their arrangement and the man refused. how he uses his nursery to be a middleman, purchasing wholesale and selling retail to unsuspecting customers who likely thought he was selling trees he had grown himself. (He tried to convince us at one time to create the nursery business so he could “buy” from us in some kind of shell game we couldn’t understand). how he poses in front of paw paw trees and apple trees that aren’t his to make people believe his plants are fruiting when in fact they were still sticks that are barely leafing out and that there hasn’t been any livestock on the farm all summer. how all of this “shit storm” he promised to rain down on the board of supervisors is smoke and mirrors for the fact that he could buy this land from us today and hasn’t. Why hasn’t he? And why is he trying to rezone it before he owns it? We hope people who care about the truth can learn a few more facts and decide for yourselves. Thank you and we hope to see you at the Johnson County Board of Supervisors hearing Thursday, Sept. 14, 5:30 pm in the county administration building. Versaland’s hoop house, from the day it was built until today, has not grown a single vegetable. The building he bought with our money for himself and his interns – no insulation, thin walls. And piles of junk in overgrown weeds. The bee enterprise one volunteer took on fell apart like every other enterprise, not because of the government or onerous ordinances, but because of Grant Schultz. Almost every volunteer who has ever lived at Versaland has moved to another state and won’t speak up for fear of retaliation by Mr. Schultz. We set aside $50,000 so Grant could live on the farm legally, something we never anticipated because he said he would commute from his apartment in Coralville, but within months was living there illegally. He chose to buy this monstrosity and plant it directly in front of our neighbor’s picture window. The hoop house at Versaland – fronted by Paul Durrenberger because Grant had already used up the one he had coming to him at another failed farm – paid for by NRCS and never used for vegetable production. Bad fences make bad neighbors. Our neighbor, River Products, built this fence for us. Grant Schultz then trespassed on their property, added extensions, electrified them AND then let the fence get overgrown. This photo taken in 2016. These are some of the “100,000 trees” Grant Schultz claims to have planted and desperately needs workers for to harvest. Statements below are taken from the Press-Citizen Iowa newspaper http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/2017/09/11/johnson-county-agricultural-zoning-versaland-grant-schultz-josh-busard/653692001/ My View & Opinion Is the versaland farm video wholly factual? Are the views of those involved directly factual? From where I sit and likely for all others we cannot truly tell so I offer my best to illustrate both sides and encourage positive solutions to a fruitful end. To me, my opinion is several aspects and I have seen similar behaviors by governments, internationally from Europe to America take this kind of action though in different industries and it was what I call a money grab. The current owners make a very strong case against this view and they appear to have much merit. I speak further generically due to their rebuttal and will accept an outcome that weighs this aspect. Unethical and unreasonable justification for road improvements, as I see it. However, the rebuttal in the memo has some legal merit. The town is attempting to make a similar type of farm and may appear to see this as competition. This may be more speculation. The town may see this farms value and by working to ensure it fails will likely be able to obtain the property and the book numbers are likely to be far cheaper to secure this type of farm for the town utilizing that tactic rather than building their own for which they have plans to build. This is the aspect I have seen in other industries internationally. The current owners speak on this but I still have seen similar situations so I cannot say with my opinion I wholly agree or disagree. This issue has become more diverse than how I first came to understand it. I hope all sides can sit down and work out solutions so that betterment can come. In these things, their are at many times no real villains and no real victims but emotion can cause varied illustrations that perhaps can stretch the truth. My interest is just a generic one. cultural healing and life and we must all work together correctly and wisely to do this. Sometimes things do not work out how we want and as fast as we may want but we must remain stern towards the direction in life we sail in. Sometimes the seas are choppy and sometimes smooth and what defines the type of captain we are is how we act under pressures and storms. I do not mean to throw gas on a fire and my blabbering will not help but I will say to look at the wily ape compilation we have made. I feel it will help explain this a bit if is what I fear is true. Specifically this section: http://culturalhealingandlife.com.www413.your-server.de/index.php?/topic/32-the-story-of-the-wily-ape-section-5-society-market-and-governance/ - I recommend the whole story of the wily ape but that section applies foremost. What to do? View all available information before deciding or truly forming an opinion or we may end up being the fool in the room. The following is from versaland. https://www.versaland.com/ To donate to their legal fight: https://secure.squarespace.com/commerce/donate?donatePageId=59b493056f4ca36cb5fc813d 1) Watch the ENTIRE Video. 2) SHARE the video on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc 3) WRITE AN EMAIL to the Supervisors. Contact list below. Share why you support the rezoning to AR, and how affordable farmworker housing, agritourism, and ecological businesses matter to you. Explain your connection to Versaland - as customer, student, or admirer - perhaps you've purchased plants, pastured meat, or engaged in the social fabric with a workshop or field day. If you're presently an admirer - share why you'd visit and how you'd benefit Johnson County while here. Share your unique perspective and engage respectfully, we're all humans.4) CALL IN PERSON Engage with a personal phone call and talk through why you value Versaland, how it adds to the quality of Johnson County, Iowa, and the social, economic, and ecological benefits it brings via land access, organic food, improved water quality, and climate and flood resilience. 5) ATTEND THE MEETING on Thursday, September 14th at 5:30PM, 913 S Dubuque Street, Iowa City, IA 52240 - Facebook event here Office Phone: 319-356-6000 Janelle Rettig 319-356-6000 email: jrettig@co.johnson.ia.us Kurt M. Friese 319-356-6000 kfriese@co.johnson.ia.us Mike Carberry Home: I do not feel correct about posting home numbers mcarberry@co.johnson.ia.us Rod Sullivan Home: I do not feel correct about posting home numbers e-mail:rsullivan@co.johnson.ia.us Lisa Green-Douglass (319) 936-0175 e-mail: lgreendouglass@co.johnson.ia.us RESOURCE DOWNLOADS Versaland Design (north half of farm) Poor Farm Design/"New Century Farm" ESTABLISHING A TEMPORARY 12 MONTH MORATORIUM ON THE ISSUANCE OF CONDITIONAL USE PERMITS FOR RETAIL ORCHARDS (Page 4) Retail Orchard Moratorium (Page 3) Versaland Zoning Application Johnson County Iowa Unified Development Ordinance Morse Village Plan 2011 Food Policy Council Recommendations for the 2018 Comprehensive Plan Johnson County Greenwashing Report Allowing Country Inns as a Conditional Use in the A, AR, & R Zoning Districts: 09-19-13-Z2 09/19/2013 Planning, Development, and Sustainability Staff Opinion (8/11/17 opinion) Lawsuit Evincing Purchase Agreement in 2016 Johnson County Board of Supervisors What I think to do. As they are a small town. Lets gather the funds and legal representation and be willing to go to the supreme courts if necessary. Perhaps find some help from the ACLU or other pro-bono legal representation. This not only brings the legal fight to the courts. It can work to bleed them back financially as they hope to do them (my view on that) and this can have a big impact on the towns finances potentially causing their taxes and fees to increase upsetting their voting base. Get politically involved placing candidates and work to actually get correct people to run against this type of town management direction. Speak at all public events possible and join the same political party as to gain voter information as then you can talk directly to their base. Informing them correctly can do much and also brings a certain pressure they like underestimate. Contact the businesses that support those local politicians and ask them to explain why they support such efforts and make that public, they likely will not speak back if they do not support this can lead to public pressure. I do not advocate boycotts or anything like that, just discussion in attempt to gain support. Enough pain. Let the courts, education, ethics and morals win the day. All that said, I hope they all sit down and genuinely work together to find realistic solutions but also this will likely be a give and take. Lets not fight, lets work together and do something great! One Drop Forward sings us out! One Drop Forward - Knowledge - Message Video Thank you for your time and energies, JJ the Gardener. ~Cultural Healing and Life.
  10. Natural farming section Indoor gardening environment Biochar Compost extract & Compost teas Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 1 Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 2 Soil recipe Vermiculture & Vermicompost Part 1 Vermicomposting is a quick, efficient way to convert kitchen scraps into a rich soil amendment using composting earthworms that break down organic matter into worm poop known as worm castings. A very valuable commodity. The following information is compiled as to enable you to have the ability to successfully raise worms and harvest their castings. It is extensive as to account for most situations and interest levels. If this compilation is helpful to you, please support those in the credits directly. Worm castings are a rich source of plant growth hormones, humic and fulvic acids along with nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium and magnesium (dependent on feed stock) with microbiology which enables ready to use nutrition for the plant and the soil web. Worm castings are rich in essential plant nutrients and many beneficial microorganisms in a fully stabilized organic soil amendment. Worm castings will not burn your plants and is excellent for starting seeds. PH is near neutral. Increases germination rates due to its growth hormones. Assist in reducing transplant shock. Plants grow strong roots and helps during periods of plant stress. Assist in raising the brix levels of the plants. Works to create healthy a soil web which can reduce plant pest. General Worm information geobeats - 10 Little Known Facts About Earthworms Worms bins and castings do not have a foul odor, smells like a forest soil. Worms can be kept indoors year round. Utilize kitchen scraps and garden waste. Feed regularly at around one half pound of food scraps per pound of worms per day. Do earthworms have eyes? No, instead they have receptor cells that are sensitive to light and touch. These cells allow earthworms to detect different intensities of light and to feel vibrations. They will move away from light, if they can. If earthworms are exposed to light for too long (about an hour), they will become paralyzed and die when their skin dries out. This is often the reason after a rain you can find dead worms on the sidewalk, bad timing with the morning light. Can earthworms smell? They do not smell like we do but earthworms have chemo-receptors in the anterior region that react to chemicals. This is how they can detect food and other environmental aspects. How do earthworms breathe? They do not have lungs; instead, they breathe through their skin. Their skin needs to stay moist to allow the passage of dissolved oxygen into their bloodstream. They coat their skin with mucus and need to live in a humid, moist environment. If the environment is to wet the they cannot breath effectively or at all. This is why in part in worm bins to ensure drainage. If I cut an earthworm in half, will it regenerate into two earthworms? No. The half with the earthworm’s head can grow a new tail if the cut is after the segments containing vital organs. The other half of the earthworm cannot grow a new head or the other organs needed to sustain the earthworm. Which end is the head? The head is at the end closest to a swollen band encircling the earthworm. How do earthworms eat? They have tiny mouths and no teeth.. An earthworm will push its pharynx (throat) out, grab microorganisms and little bits of organic matter, and pull them into it’s mouth. The food is coated with saliva, pushed down the esophagus into the crop and on to the gizzard, where it is crushed and ground apart. Next, it moves into the intestine, where food is broken down more by digestive enzymes. Some of the food is passed into the bloodstream for use by the earthworm and the rest passes out the anus as castings (worm poop). This is why introduce "grit" to the worm bins as to help them eat and process the food internally. What is the swollen band near the head called and what is it for? It is called a clitellum and it contains eggs and sperm for reproduction. How do earthworms reproduce? Earthworms are hermaphrodites, so individuals have both female and male reproductive organs. They mate by joining their clitella and exchanging sperm. Each earthworm will form an egg capsule in its clitellum and pass it into the vermicompost 7 to 10 days later. The egg capsule is golden-brown colored and looks like a tiny lemon the size of a match head. Two to seven Eisenia fetida babies will hatch from an egg capsule in 30 to 75 days. Can you vermicompost in cold climates? Yes! However, to actively eat and reproduce, Eisenia fetida (red wigglers) needs their environment to be between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Worms Hatching. Dave - Worms hatching from eggs. 20 Day Time Lapse of Vermicomposting Gregor Skoberne - Worms At Work - 20 Days Time Lapse Of Vermicomposting Composting Worms and sources Finding suitable worms for vermiculture. It takes one pound of worms (1,000 individuals) to start a good-sized compost bin. You may find redworms near compost, under rotting logs or similar decomposing situations. You won’t be able to tell the difference between Lumbricus rubellus and Eisenia fetida. Composting worms can be purchased either locally or order via the Internet. If a shop cannot tell you the scientific name of the worms do not purchase. Worms suitable for vermicompost are from the epigeic class of worms. Eisenia fetida - Red Wigglers Eisenia Hortensis - European Nightcrawler Eudrillus Eugeniae - African Nightcrawler Lumbricus rubellus - Red worms, often confused with red wigglers or Eisenia fetida Amynthus Gracilus - Alabama Jumpers Attracting compost worms & a worm barrel update... Rob Bob's Backyard Farm & Aquaponics - Attracting compost worms & a worm barrel update... 4 Different Kinds Of Composting Worms Larry Hall - Why Am I Raising 4 Different Kinds Of Composting Worms? Well Let Me Tell You Why! Feeding worms Once the earthworms have settled into their new home (after a couple of days) Add a small amount of food scraps on the surface of the bedding. The amount should not exceed 1-inch high. This will prevent the food scraps from building up heat which is detrimental to the worms. Feed your earthworms any non-meat foods such as vegetables, fruits, crushed eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds, shredded paper coffee filters, and shredded garden debris. Red wigglers especially like cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkin. Do not add citrus fruits or fruit peels to the bin They can cause the bin environment to become too acidic. Never add meat scraps or bones, fish, greasy or oily food, onions, garlic, fat, tobacco, citrus, salty foods, or pet or human manure. They can bring in pathogens and attract pests. Chop or blend food scraps into small pieces so they break down easier. This is not necessary but will help the food stock become consumed faster. Once you have fed your earthworms, use a three-prong garden tool to cover the food scraps completely with 1 to 2 inches of bedding to prevent fruit flies from finding the food. Food scraps can be stored for a few days before adding them to the worm bin. Store in container with a lid next to or under their kitchen sink. Coffee containers are excellent. Food scraps can also be stored in a container or bag in the freezer. The worms may be fed any time of the day Earthworms can be fed as seldom as every two to three weeks, depending on how many earthworms are in the bin. If you are going away for a couple of weeks, apply 1⁄2-inch layer of food scraps and cover it with two inches of moistened, shredded paper. Manure can be used but is recommended to compost it first. Non composted manure can be used but it can make the worm bin to hot. Worm Chow Recipe by down to the roots. Adding a spoonful of this sprinkled over the food stock will ensure a balanced and healthy nutrition for your worms which ensure quality castings. Think quality in and quality out! 1 Part-Whole Wheat Flour 1 Part-Corn Meal 1 Part-Ground Oats 1/2 Part-Ground Oyster Shell/Egg Shell - Eggshells need to be cleaned and dried before using. Feeding composting worm bins video section DownToTheRoots - How I feed my composting worm bins. Homemade dry worm food (Worm Chow) DownToTheRoots - Homemade dry worm food (Worm Chow) Processing eggs shells for worm bin DownToTheRoots - How I process egg shells for my worm bins. Utilizing fish manure. Home Farm Ideas - What to feed worms Worm Slushies Rob Bob's Backyard Farm & Aquaponics - How we feed our compost worms, worm slushies anyone ? Harvesting the Vermicompost You may harvest the vermicompost by one of three methods After a few weeks, you will begin to see vermicompost on the bottom of the bin. Vermicompost is soil-like material containing a mixture of earthworm castings (feces) and partially decomposed bedding and food scraps. In about four months, it will be time to harvest the vermicompost. : Method 1: Sideways Separation. Feed the earthworms on only one side of your worm bin for several weeks, and most of the worms will migrate to that side of the bin. Then you can remove the vermicompost from the other side of the bin where you have not been adding food scraps, and add fresh bedding. Repeat this process on the other side of the bin. After both sides are harvested, you can begin adding food scraps to both sides of the bin again. Method 2: Light Separation. Empty the contents of your worm bin onto a plastic sheet or used shower curtain where there is strong sunlight or artificial light. Wait five minutes, and then scrape off the top layer of vermicompost. The earthworms will keep moving away from the light, so you can scrape more vermicompost off every five minutes or so. After several scrapings, you will find worms in clusters; just pick up the worms and gently return them to the bin in fresh bedding (with the old bedding mixed in). Method 3: Vertical Separation. Before you begin vermicomposting, either buy a manufactured stacking bin or make your own. Set one bin aside and vermicompost in the other bin for a few months. When the bedding in the bin fits snug against the bottom of the bin you set aside, simply fit the second bin inside the first one, and begin only feeding in the top bin for the next several months. Most of the earthworms will move up into the upper bin to eat, and eventually the lower bin will just contain vermicompost. Be on the lookout for earthworm egg capsules; they are lemon-shaped and about the size of a match head, with a shiny appearance and light-brownish color. The capsules contain between two and seven baby earthworms. Place the egg capsules back inside your bin so they can hatch and thrive in your bin system. Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 2 Natural farming section Indoor gardening environment Biochar Compost extract & Compost teas Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 1 Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings - Part 2 Soil recipe
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    Wonderful!
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  13. This so makes my day and I thank you! I look forward to your collections.
  14. Nails or screws are fine. I like screws for better stability over time. The boxes get bumped and moved and with cheap nails can become flimsy but this is not an issue if box is not in danger of falling apart, I speak more out of caution than practical issue that I have seen. Remember to leave a bit of a gap on the bottom as to help facilitate easier microbe movement to the rice food source but they can travel through the wood no problem anyways. I speak on that due to Chris Trumps advice. I have no gaps in the ones I had and worked as it should! Making the box is a neat thing as it makes it more personal and feels more you did this than if bought. Bravo!!!!
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