This is The ChangeUnderground for the 28th of November 2022.
I’m your host, Jon Moore
Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!
The search for a Fukuoka friendly rotation suitable for a cool temperate climate with a bit of climate change variation thrown in continues. On top of this search is the refinement for minimal processing of any seeds. Spelt grew well, as do oats but both require hull removal. On a small scale that can be problematic. Apart from the need for some sort of mechanical process, energy is also required.
100% spelt flour makes a tasty if somewhat different sort of bread. One advantage of spelt is it can be planted as either a Spring or Winter grain, irrespective of the variety. Wheat does not require dehulling but must be planted as either a winter or spring variety. On the whole, the need for planting time specific varieties far outweighs the need for mechanical dehulling. So I’m going with the winter wheat option. That being said, I began baking experiments with 100% wholemeal wheat flour. And I might say, to blow my own trumpet just a little, it’s damn good bread. I’m looking forward to seeing if our locale and soil produces a differently flavoured bread from the shop bought flour but that’s a task for the future.
I listened to a regenerative podcast episode last week that went on for over an hour. Most of it covered what we’ve discussed here in the past but one sentence made the listening worthwhile. There’s a feature of buckwheat I’d seen but had observed. That is the effect hadn’t come to the forefront of my consciousness until I heard it from someone else. Buckwheat has an allelopathic effect. That is it exudes compounds that makes life difficult for other plants to grow with it. This, when thinking back to buckwheat crops I’ve grown, became obvious. However this grower had successfully sown and grown winter wheat. Bonuses to this are the phosphorus gathering tendencies of buckwheat and its frost sensitivity. That means more nutrients are available to the next crop, winter wheat and removal of the buckwheat is handled by the frosts of autumn/winter.
In my situation, the buckwheat should run to seed before the frost kill so the seeds should resprout in the Spring where they’ll run through a few cycles of growth before the wheat goes back in the following autumn. I’m thinking an oversewn third crop sown before the wheat is ready for harvest and to smother the ground before the buckwheat germinates would benefit the system, the soil and the output. At this stage I’m thinking a bush pea, say the Massey variety would do the job. Big enough to cover the ground between the wheat but small enough not to interfere greatly with the wheat harvest. And still sufficiently large to harvest over any sprouting buckwheat in mid summer. At the right moments I can run the ducks across the paddock for a few days, observations will determine how long, to add a little manure, pick off any snails and slugs and prepare the paddock for the straw from the wheat or the peas depending upon the point in the cycle.
The wheat and the peas will separate through threshing and that can be done by hand but the buckwheat is a hulled seed. This probably explains why it’s called blackwheat in some parts of eastern europe. Given that the ducks will probably be the species eating the buckwheat and not humans, I don’t think it will be a problem. Again, reading and time will tell.
A little follow up from last week.
From the ABC website: Residents of Wyanbene struggling to access supplies, medicine due to regularly high floodwaters
Wyanbene is an area located about 105 kilometres south-east of Canberra, with a population of about 100.
Surrounded by a national park, a small causeway over the Shoalhaven River is the only way in and out of the area.
“We have one way in, one way out — whether it’s fire, flood, whatever — only one way,” resident Julie Brown said.
And with three consecutive La Niña events causing constant rain, residents have recently found themselves stuck for weeks at a time.
“We have flooded 11 times this year,” Helen Stig, another resident, said.
And watching the three month forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology this afternoon, there’s likely to be more rain in the coming summer. These are the communities that are mirroring the far worse situations in the Pacific Islands.
Where even high tides are flooding gardens, cemeteries and villages. There is, though, some good news.
Also from the ABC Rural properties going off-grid with renewables for energy security and to reduce costs
Many properties in remote parts of the county have long been off-grid — often because they are too remote to connect to town power — and rely on diesel generators.
But there are a growing number of relatively new farms in semi-urban areas that are off-grid despite the availability of mains power.
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation [QFF] said more of its members were considering such a move, with reasons ranging from wanting to be independent, to saving money or reducing on-farm emissions.
“The grid has genuine competition now with solar, batteries and diesel generators, for farmers to be able to supply their own power, or at least a larger proportion of their own power,” QFF Energy project manager Andrew Chamberlin said.
The price signals as well real price movements are driving more people to jump off the grid. This reduces the need for the last coal fired and some gas fired power plants and as reported last week the green hydrogen operations being set up in WA will act as examples for other states both within the Commonwealth and around the world.
All this is doable. The big picture renewables and the local food producers sequestering carbon in soils to grow more with no and very few inputs together will ensure a future worth leaving our grandchildren.
Just pause for a moment and contemplate the soundscape changes the move to electric passenger vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell heavy vehicles will have on our cities. Remember the quiet during the lockdowns? Remember the bird song? We really do have a chance to build a better world. There are issues. I’ll not deny that. Cobalt is a key metal in the electrification of economies and most of that is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with appalling roads systems, political violence and a history of brutal colonialism, dictatorships and corruption. Many of the oil producing nations have all of those issues except maybe roads being a problem. There are ways to ensure this resource benefits the people of DRC. We know what to do. The question is will we?
The ChangeUnderground Academy no-dig gardening course is still available. Link in the show notes. Please tell your friends!
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back, all things being equal, next week.
No Dig Quick Start Course
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Residents of Wyanbene struggling to access supplies, medicine due to regularly high floodwaters
Rural properties going off-grid with renewables for energy security and to reduce costs