Topics

Copper Immobilization #metal #copper


Shaked From
 

Hi,
I'm looking for advice on practical soil remediation from high levels of copper.

A friend is starting an organic market garden on land that is not yet certified.
He is starting with a quarter acre, approx. 1000 m2, but can grow to an acre.
The previous use of the land was commercial vegetable horticulture.
The copper levels in the soil are slightly over the organic certification limits, it is suspected that the higher levels of copper are from copper spray applications part of the previous growing system.
I can see that there are many research papers on biochar and copper immobilization, but not much advice on how to do it at scale, and best practice.

It seems like the use of phytoextraction (growing plants on contaminated soils with the purpose of plant uptake for removal) makes sense. I have seen some papers on using sunflowers.
This seems to make sense as it not only immobilize the copper but has the potential to actually remove (some of) it from the soil.

Would you add biochar to the soil at the same time of planting such 'extraction' crop or after?
Should the biochar be 'charged' or raw for optimum uptake?
If raw, it seems like a risk of reducing available plant nutrients (due to the impact of raw biochar in the soil) for the first few years, with potentially reducing plant growth, is that so?
If that risk is real, would adding compost at the same time of raw biochar mitigate that risk?
Would applying liquid humates, sprayed onto the soil, have a similar immobilization effect?

Thanks for reading!
Any advice will be appreciated.
Any other directions for dealing with that issue will be appreciated too.

Thank you
Shaked


mikethewormguy
 

Shaked,

If you friend wants to be a grower rather than enviromental engineer than an approach to consider is to start with 2000sf and cover it with permeable poly-fabric and build raised beds filled with organic certifiable biochar'd high performance growing mix. Spread 3-4 inches of wood mulch between the raised beds and inoculate with King Stropharia mycellium.

With the proper execution, your friend could make $15 per sf gross. One can get 1.8lbs of garlic per sf or 5lbs of tomatoes per sf.

Use vertical space to grow and clay pot irrigation to water. Use proper crop selection, intercropping, and succession planting to maximize output. Inter plant vegees and Almond Agaracus or Elm Oyster mushrooms.

This approach means that your friend can sell organic certified produce right away, as well as, focus on being a grower and not an enviromental engineer.

First season,  maximize the 2000sf, one foot at time, and expand from there. 

This approach helps you work smart and not hard.

The above suggestion comes from my experience in trying to clean up lead contaminated urban soils to grow vegees in and being sure the vegees are safe to eat......

my 2cents,

Mike


Dick Gallien
 

Great suggestions Mike and what do you use for raised beds?  I've offered to donate black locust to the City, for raised beds in their parks.  With 2 opposing sides sawed flat, how well does anyone think they would work on a rich soil base for anchoring posts ?    




On Thu, Oct 15, 2020 at 4:02 AM mikethewormguy via groups.io <mikethewormguy=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Shaked,

If you friend wants to be a grower rather than enviromental engineer than an approach to consider is to start with 2000sf and cover it with permeable poly-fabric and build raised beds filled with organic certifiable biochar'd high performance growing mix. Spread 3-4 inches of wood mulch between the raised beds and inoculate with King Stropharia mycellium.

With the proper execution, your friend could make $15 per sf gross. One can get 1.8lbs of garlic per sf or 5lbs of tomatoes per sf.

Use vertical space to grow and clay pot irrigation to water. Use proper crop selection, intercropping, and succession planting to maximize output. Inter plant vegees and Almond Agaracus or Elm Oyster mushrooms.

This approach means that your friend can sell organic certified produce right away, as well as, focus on being a grower and not an enviromental engineer.

First season,  maximize the 2000sf, one foot at time, and expand from there. 

This approach helps you work smart and not hard.

The above suggestion comes from my experience in trying to clean up lead contaminated urban soils to grow vegees in and being sure the vegees are safe to eat......

my 2cents,

Mike


mikethewormguy
 

Dick,

Material options to use for raised beds... depending on time, scale, budget and location....

1. Hypertufa with biochar added...
2. IBC frame skin'd with large bubble wrap as a small mobile green house.  
3. Cinder blocks, one can grow in each cell also.
4. Untreated wood,

Wood sided raised bed should be at least 12 inches deep.

Using an IBC tote frame is a great option because it is mobile which provides flexibility in placement each season.  

Raised beds allow you to mitigate pests, reduce weeding time, and extend the season.

Mike




Harald Bier
 

If you do want to get more into environmental engineering: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42773-020-00053-3 
Brenton Ladd has done some highly interesting work worth checking.

Am 15.10.2020 um 00:54 schrieb Shaked From <shakedfrom@...>:

Hi,
I'm looking for advice on practical soil remediation from high levels of copper.

A friend is starting an organic market garden on land that is not yet certified.
He is starting with a quarter acre, approx. 1000 m2, but can grow to an acre.
The previous use of the land was commercial vegetable horticulture.
The copper levels in the soil are slightly over the organic certification limits, it is suspected that the higher levels of copper are from copper spray applications part of the previous growing system.
I can see that there are many research papers on biochar and copper immobilization, but not much advice on how to do it at scale, and best practice.

It seems like the use of phytoextraction (growing plants on contaminated soils with the purpose of plant uptake for removal) makes sense. I have seen some papers on using sunflowers.
This seems to make sense as it not only immobilize the copper but has the potential to actually remove (some of) it from the soil.

Would you add biochar to the soil at the same time of planting such 'extraction' crop or after?
Should the biochar be 'charged' or raw for optimum uptake?
If raw, it seems like a risk of reducing available plant nutrients (due to the impact of raw biochar in the soil) for the first few years, with potentially reducing plant growth, is that so?
If that risk is real, would adding compost at the same time of raw biochar mitigate that risk?
Would applying liquid humates, sprayed onto the soil, have a similar immobilization effect?

Thanks for reading!
Any advice will be appreciated.
Any other directions for dealing with that issue will be appreciated too.

Thank you
Shaked


Shaked From
 

Thanks for the article link, I'll explore it in detail.

In regards to building raised beds: Thank you for the creative approach and advice.
Unfortunately, during the coming decades in New Zealand, we will have to deal with the legacy of our extractive agricultural systems.

My friend's family has owned 20 acres of good agricultural soils for 90 years now.
He has been given 2 acres to show he can do well with it.
As he put it "my family have received so much from these soils, it took them out of poverty, it is only appropriate to give something back."
So I suspect we are on the remediation track.. :-)

P.s. We do have enough experience in regards to creating economical organic market gardens, it's the contamination that we haven't had the opportunity to deal with yet.