Andrew Schreiber

Live Stake Propagation

Tips and case-studies for re-vegetating and pioneering large system. Live-stake cuttings are a type of hardwood cutting taken from mature, woody material from certain deciduous tree and shrubs that root very easily. Live-stakes cuttings are generally taken during a period of dormancy (AKA winter), with the long stake material being “staked” directly into the ground where they will grow long term. A rucksack full of cutting, ready to be planted. […]

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Low-Tech Natural Nursery Strategies (Washington, USA)

When most people think about nurseries and plant propagation, they conjure up rows and rows of black pots and the smell of moist palettes of artificial fertilizer. But there is no natural law which dictates this to be the only, or even a preferable way in which to propagate plants. While in-situ propagation from seed has been proven to be the healthiest and most energy efficient means of mass propagating […]

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Designer Resource: Getting Soil Data from the USDA Web Soil Survey (USA)

Soil is one of the basic resources that we have when beginning to work with land. Along with water, climatic patterns, and existing ecosystems, soils form the canvas on which we paint our agro-ecological life support systems. In the US the Web Soil Survey (WSS) managed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service operates one of the largest soil resource information systems in the world. Soils of […]

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Designer Resource: Finding Long-Term Climate Data in the US Using NOAA

Monthly climate normals graph Having accurate climatic data is an important part of designing a resilient and productive ecological system capable of diverse yields from year to year. This is especially true as we live through the uncertainty of climate change. For those living in the US, a great resource for finding long-term tabulated and graphical climate data is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA recently upgraded their […]

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Making Seedballs: An Ancient Method of No-till Agriculture

Dried and Finished “Clay Dumplings” What’s a Seed ball? Seeds balls are an ancient technique for propagating plants from seeds without opening up soil with cultivation tools such as a plow. The rediscovery and popularization of seedballs (or “Clay Dumplings” as he called them) in modern times is typically ascribed to Japanese natural farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka. As with many natural farmers, Fukuoka believed that tillage over large areas […]

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Seeding Into Frost Heaves: Leveraging a Natural Soil Disturbance Event

A close up of frost heaves A common winter sight in most cold temperate regions are frost-heaves; areas of water-saturated soil that have been uplifted due to freezing. Frost-heaving is generally regarded as an undesirable dynamic, because it evidences a lack of organic material or mulch capable of sheltering the soil (and it’s microinhabitants) from freezing. However, on degraded and compacted sites, frost heaves are really a great opportunity for […]

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Bone Sauce: A Tool for Deterring Browsing

Applying the bone sauce Bone sauce is a product of the destructive distillation of bones — a process which separates the volatile organic components (aka bone sauce, or Dippel’s oil) from the inorganic components (aka bone char — mostly calcium, carbon and phosphorous compounds). Bone sauce has a potent smell, somewhere between wood-creosote and rancid meat. When applied to the bole, branches, and shoots of dormant woody perennials it deters […]

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