Pat Browne, RN

by Pat Browne, RN
(Ventura County, USA)

What to do with >50,000lbs of thrown away kitchen countertop stone scrap

What to do with >50,000lbs of thrown away kitchen countertop stone scrap

A 60 year old, unemployed RN with a B.Animal Sciences and a long history of art in 'construction yoga' formatting, I am attempting to reinvent myself with 'Earthside Nursing'.
After all, patients do best when you present all the options and allow them to heal by choosing to use the resources that fit themselves.
'Regen' has the same action plan with constantly asking: "What is the least energy intensive way I can interact with this ground?"
I'm now best friends with Nitrosomonas Eutropha. Some day I will learn the names and functions of other microbe families.

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Nov 26, 2020
Naked soil is like a burn wound ! and there is healing available.....
by: Caroline

Thank you Pat for the figures. They really help paint the picture. Its awful to think about as there is naked soil everywhere there is human activity ! I think we can prevent it by having under crops or ground covers that benefit the top crop on farms, with inter cropping and other mixed systems, by not using fallow periods, rather cover crops, by not cutting grass too short in public spaces, and by private gardeners ensuring they avoid naked soil at all costs. Many people are onto organic gardening and have stopped using chemicals, or planting wasteful lawns, but they still strip the soil naked in routine maintenance and planting. I think people believe naked soil is unavoidable when growing vegetables. We have to think of tricks to avoid exposing the soil, and still growing food. What do you do, or have seen others do, that is a clever way round this ?

Nov 25, 2020
"Naked soil" is akin to having a deep second degree burn on a human body. It kills microbe and 'hurts' deeply.
by: Pat Browne

If a person takes a thermometer 'gun' and records temps of the following surfaces:A. 'naked' soil exposed to sun;B. the top of the leaves of plants; C.a paint color swatch of the same hue as the plants;D. the top of mulch; and lastly,E. the soil underneath a healthy layer of mulch or well covered by the plants; they will find an almost bipolar range of temperatures in relation to the ambient temp in the shade of a building.
The naked soil and paint swatch will both be about 20-30 degree Fahrenheit higher than the leaf tops, the covered soil, and the ambient shaded temps. The mulch top will be somewhere in between.
Most folks get how vital their skin is as a major 'organ' when they are sun burnt or have a burn injury from heat. So is the covering of carbon in the form of dead leaves, straw, and seed husks that plants drop off.
If we are truly to practice 'earthside nursing', we must encourage the growth of a new skin to shelter us all.

Nov 25, 2020
Nursing your energy
by: Caroline

Thank you Pat,

for your thought provoking, original contributions. I would also love to know more about the microbial families. I'm hopeful that as we find out more about them, new worlds will open up that we could not imagine in our wildest dreams. I hope you had a positive experience with Nitrosomonas Eutropha.

I only saw your lovely mozaic floor when I published this, so I've had to rewrite my message to you. It really is a lovely piece of art. Its patterning is reminiscent of natural processes, rivers, vegetation patterns, patinas. Its extremely complex, an object of contemplation ! You have a very sensitive and observant eye. I'd be interested to know about your process.

The conservation of energy you speak of with respect to gardening is also one of my goals. My garden is my lab, and I'm constantly reinventing gardening with busy people and small budgets in mind. To reverse climate change as many people as possible have to be gardening in a way that cools the earth (I rely here on the wisdom of Walter Jehne). I want to make it easier for those who are otherwise employed and don't have time to invest in gardening, even as a hobby. Developing self maintaining systems is vital. To enable everyone on earth to do this, the costs also have to be close to zero.

I've been criticized for using 'labels' in this article, when we're all 'on a journey'. I don't know if its clear, but I don't care what belief system people espouse. I think I didn't voice my point clearly enough, and hope to do this by the end of this series of 5 blog posts. So for anyone who reads this. The label or the belief system is not the point. The point is to speak to the minds and hearts of people who feel that when growing vegetables or keeping decorative gardens, or maintaining public space, it is necessary to have naked earth.

The gardeners and public authorities call it 'clean'. The vegetable gardener claims you can't grow vegetables or fruit when they are 'competing' for nutrients, light and air. As you all know, this practice can be found anywhere, under any name, even though it isn't true to biodynamic, permaculture or conservation principles. I hope just to stimulate the 'naked earthers' to rethink their practices and goals a little. It must be possible to grow food and not damage the environment and soil biome. These often very talented gardeners could find a way, if they had their attention directed to the living soil issue, and the liquid carbon pathway. They are motivated enough to be total soil friends.

I think that the benefits of the bacterial wealth from not having naked soil, added to the bacterial wealth brought by neighboring plants via the liquid carbon pathway, and the resilient, disease resistant soil created by a diverse planting which carries diverse microbiomes with it, these probably outweigh the costs of competition.

I grow vegetables in very competitive surroundings. I don't bother about good companions anymore, though this mutualism is useful. I don't bother because I am creating a much easier form of gardening with less cognitive load and need to have knowledge. The expertise would be a choice.

Most plants tend to help each other and compete a little. The regenerative gardening idea informs us that not only is total and diverse plant cover earth friendly, it actually brings higher yields. The beets might not be as large, the cabbages may not be show worthy, but the dense planting makes up with quantity, what it lacks in the size of individual vegetables.

Small vegetables are more tender and sweet too. So a shift in the taste, or the goals of the vegetable garden, and the expected product would also help to be more earth friendly. So would forgetting the expectation that 'good' gardening or farming involves tidiness, order, even regimentation of plants. Kiss the Ground would agree with that.

How to reach people and get them on the program is a huge challenge for me. I'm constantly dreaming up new forms of propaganda and often alienate people I'm trying to reach. I don't want to alienate. I might be lover of the earth with a fire in my pants, but I'm also a peace lover,and a lover of people, who all, such is my belief, are beautifully made and have things I can learn from.

Naked soil is ok if you are creating a new system, especially establishing a container garden of some kind. It is not cool as an ongoing strategy of garden maintenance. It is desertification inducing.

I feel its vital to speak out about these things. Gently but over and over and over, or I've wasted my life.

Thank you for your patience.

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