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I do not water my garden

Posted by hishouse Guatemala/tropical (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 17:44

Greetings:

My name is Jon Hutton and it is great to be here. First I would like to say I have thought about posting for a while. Many of my friends are saying I should start a blog on this, and I probably will. I have tried to find out how to do a blog here with out any luck. I could go to a third party site, but I'm hoping it can be done here. If someone knows please fill me in. This is not spam so please do not report this. I thought about applying for a patent on this technique for growing vegetables. After studying the whole process. I have decided to publicly give out the information in hopes that others will further my work that is completely new. Sorry if this still sounds like spam or asking for money, but if you knew me and my life's work you would understand. I have many videos pictures and pdf files I have made, I would like to share. Many hours of research on the subject of growing your crops with out ever watering them with: rain water, waste water, streams, drains, ponds, well water or city water, I do not plow till, do not use hydroponics, do not use drip irrigation, no sprinkler systems, and do not use special mulch, I do not water plants after they are transplanted into my system, and use no chemicals.

I do not have to spray for any insects. I do occasionally watch them to see how they are growing, AND I DO GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO SUE THE PANTS OFF ME IF YOU EVER HEAR ME ASKING FOR MONEY.

All I ask is that you help me develop this because I am the only one with this secret in the world and it has the potential to help so many people living in areas that have little rain but not enough to have a successful garden. I want to share it so people do not have to worry where their next meal is coming from, but I want to share it only with people who will write me back here, and post their results and questions. Thank you for your reply. I look forward to posting when I hear from you.

Jon Hutton
Director
His House Inc.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I do not water my garden

Jon, (if that is your name)

You will pardon me for thinking that this post comes off as extremely immodest if not lunatic.

I have also worked for many years on the issue of growing food plants without irrigation. However, never, ever, would I make such an absurd claim as this, from your post:

" I am the only one with this secret in the world"

I am quite familiar with mental illnesses, we have it on both sides of the family, and that statement, IMO, is a fairly classic piece of egomania. I would encourage you to acknowledge such and seek help. Or you could explain how you came to learn how to grow crops on little rain in tropical rainy Guatemala (which would have zero value for the temperate zones, rainy or arid), or did you learn it someplace else?


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"I have tried to find out how to do a blog here with out any luck. I could go to a third party site, but I'm hoping it can be done here."

You can't do it here ... blogspot is easy to use, and free.


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ok I agree that did sound very egotistical but if I could word it in another way, I would humbly say I do not know of anyone doing this same method that I am doing. Neither do the universities that are looking at my method with me. I wanted to mention this first before any one related with this project would try to solely claim credit. Yes, Jon Hutton is my real name, I have nothing to hide. Guatemala usually is very humid except for the 5 months out of the year that it doesn't rain. I will write more when I get back to the house. I am on my cell phone right now. Thank you for your comments.


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Hello everyone,

Here are a series of photos that show the process. You will understand completely when you see it. I had to change all the pics in one of my pdf's to pictures. I have many other pdf's I would be glad to share with those who want, where I show the process with different host trees. I use the same process to grow celery, peppers, beans and am currently trying it with sweet corn which is a real thursty creature.


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The pictures are spaced about 1 to 2 day intervals.


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I will try to make some followup. Please be patient. There are so many variables to this process. The most important is the type of bag. If you use too thick of a bag the humidity level will nearly stop the tanspiration process in the host plant.


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pic 4


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pic 5


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pic 6


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notes


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In a few minutes or over the next few days I will post more pictures with other experiments. I stumbled on this over nine years ago, and put it away because my life back then was very complicated. After purchasing a piece of property, I saw it had 10 guayaba trees that were in a place that I would have to use. I almost cut them down but decided to do the tests again. They were the right height, Probably about 4 years old, 3 feet tall, with 100 leaves. I took a very thin plastic bag and placed it completely over the tree. After 30 minutes the bag was misting, after 1 hour there were noticeable drops forming on the inside of the bag that were dripping on the bottom of the bag. I noticed that the wind was causing the drops to pool in the bottom. After 2 days the bag had over a liter of water. I emptied it and placed the starter tomato plant in the bag. I first thought I would kill the host tree and the experiment would come to a screeching halt. The experiment lasted over a month and the the host tree was doing so well it was blooming in the bag. Since this proof of concept experiment I have tested the process on Elm, maple, cottonwood, Avocado, figs, and various fruit trees with the same success. There are some trees that transpire better than others but all evaporate great quantities of water. I have not done tests on pines, ceders or desert plants or shrubs, banana or fan palms. I am currently only using the guayaba because it is really resistant to high humidity. This process could easily be used in conjunction with drip irrigation. In fact I used to use drip until it finally dawned on me to put the vegetable inside the same bag as the host tree. As far as the tomato plant goes. It ended up with so much water in the bag I had to add another 3 tomato plants. You can use a hole punch toward the bottom to middle of the bag and place the holes if the tree is transpiring too much water. There are 3 universities that are currently taking on this project, but they have just started with gathering my info.

This post was edited by hishouse on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 23:15


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What you are doing is not new. Many people use this technique to start seeds and keep young plants growing healthy. They may not use tree bags, but the principal is the same: water, then trap the humidity via ziploc bag, saran wrap, plastic sheeting, seedling tray, etc.

That being said, it is not advisable to use this method for prolonged periods of time (unless you are trying to grow a humid-hungry plant in an area with low humidity), because where humidity is present, mold and other yuckies thrive. So, in the long term, you could actually kill your plants.

Also, I would rather choose appropriate plants for my environment so I don't have to water (unless there is a freak drought) than have them covered by unsightly plastic year round.

Just my two cents!


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This was taken at 4:00 pm usual transpiration I am getting with this species of guayaba. The bag has been on the tree for almost 2 months. This is why people have not tried this before because it is said you will damage the tree. I have challenged this idea with great success.

This post was edited by hishouse on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 23:48


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This really goes against conventional gardening. Perhaps we have been going against nature all along. Slash and burn, when we should of been planting trees and rows and rows of vegetables. What got me thinking about this process was I was looking through old dust bowl days photos. I noticed that in some of the shots the trees along old dried riverbeds were still quite green, while showing in the foreground the family garden ruined from lack of rain. I took a zip lock sandwich bag and stuffed a few fig leaves in it and watched it for a day. At the end of a day it had about a tablespoon of water in the bottom of the bag.


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This is not water conservation by protecting evaporation. It is using the transpiration process of trees to water plants. A healthy oak with transpire up to 40,000 gallons of water per year. It will only use 1 percent of the water for the photosynthesis. The process of placing plastic over tilled up rows of ground is not new. I agree, but you still have to water, spray for bugs, and weed. I have never had to do any of that from seed to harvest. To prove the point further I started a garden at the base of a large elm in the middle of a school that had placed concrete right up to the base of the tree. Using bags on branches and tubes dripping water onto the plants at the base of the tree sitting on the concrete.

This post was edited by hishouse on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 23:44


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Jon,

Your experiment and results are interesting.

However, the main flaw in my opinion, and as someone who live in a dry area, is that those trees you use are trees which perspire. In dry areas like mine, the adapted trees don't perspire : pine trees, oleanders, pytosporums, wild shrubs of which I don't know the names in English, have leaves that shut the water Inside. Those which perspire grow along rivers or in watered gardens.

Physiologically, some plants absorb water by their roots when they perspire, perspiration through the leaves create aspiration of water by the roots. But those adapted to dry climate don't function like that.

But I might be wrong.

Although I can't really see how I could honestly put a plastic bag on those nasty wild shrubs without making holes everywhere, my hands included.

I'll make pictures of the vegetation around my place near a river and a few feet away today when walking the dogs, so that the difference between watered/unwatered is more obvious.


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I think Francois has touched on just one of the many differences between arid/temperate and tropical/humid.

A dry season is not the same as an arid climate. I am familiar with gardening in florida, which like central america has a 5 month dry season. Some years there is almost no rain during that time, others there is some but not a lot. Unlike Guatemala, Florida mostly has a perishingly dry sand soil which greatly magnifies the lack of rainfall. One will notice that grasses and forbs grow much more lushly in the partial shade of large trees due to both the shade reducing loss of moisture from the sand plus the early morning dew that drips of the many leaves of the tree.

Jon, this is interesting, directly capturing moisture from the transpiration of a small tree. However, I suggest that to use new plastic is the wrong direction for us to go in. If it's repurposed plastic then that is another thing.

Tomato is a moisture-hog, as you know. Tomato is also native to your region, so clearly it knows how to survive the dry season without help. It does so by picking its spot - moist rich soil but not totally water-logged. IME, even supposedly water-hungry crops can survive on low rainfall if they are in deep rich soil. Such is the idea behind hugelkulture.

I tend to bear in mind Albrecht's saying: "fertility is the best drought-hedge". So building super-live soils over time would be a much better direction to go than any kind of above-ground shenanigans, and certainly the use of plastics, etc.


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Any other comments. Anyone willing to try this with me?


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I was born in Tampa Florida, but I have spent the last 20 years here in Guatemala. I had the impression that Guatemala is a lush tropical rainforest, but quickly learned differently. I was told there are 17 climate zones here including desert (although I can not find the documentation on the internet to prove this). The humidity levels between the months of October to May can crash to less than 30%. Compare this to various places in Florida. I do not want to get into any kind of tit for tat here. Like I mentioned I only want to share this idea and all my research surrounding it with people who are interested in duplicating and improving the results which have the potential to help out so many living in many places, especially 3rd world countries. Trash dumps could become gardens, Trees growing on open sewers in shanti towns, mountain tops and other areas could support gardens and all types of crops, but it would take radical redesignign. This might be the one biggest hindering factor. Yes, a bagged tree could be an eyesore, but worse would be to cut it down and smolder it for charcoal. All trees transpire 99% more water than is needed for its survival through photosynthesis. Today I finally did the test with great results on 2 different species of ceder tree. If you are interested in continuing this discussion please let me know here. I know I set many off with my bold remarks, sorry for ofending you if I did. This may not be for everybody but it could help some where gardening was never even a possibility. Please let me know. By the way the celery, peppers and tomatos are growing great and I have not watered them ever. We had .20 inches of rain that I shielded the plants from getting wet.

This post was edited by hishouse on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 0:46


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RE: I do not water my garden

Jon,

I said I would send you pic hence here they are. I took them yesterday, to illustrate how it is round here and that's not even considered as very dry. Especially this summer with 37 % more rain than usual.

As you can see, it would be very difficult to wrap the local "trees" in plastic, whether recycled or PLA or worse, brand new.

I also think that wrapping trees in plastic will kill them pretty fast. So what's the use of killing a thriving tree to grow a tomato ?

I also wonder whether I'm wasting my time being gullible when answering this crazy thread ;-)


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I don't know how to send more than one pic at a time, sorry !


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another one


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Last one, as you can see not much perspiration to expect from half dried thyme, oaks and such, trying to survive on very little soil.


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Thank you for posting. You are not being gullible, and the trees will not die. Give me a few hours to answer this post. I think our time difference will give us red eyes.

thanks


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You, Jon, are saying that keeping a small tree wrapped in plastic will not kill it. All common sense and experience says otherwise. Plus, what is the point in using a resource-intensive high pollution-causing product to grow a tomato plant when any experienced gardener knows there are other ways to do it?

I do want to get into tit for tat, IOW, cut the crap. You say you were born in FL, clearly to imply that means you know about food production in FL. Do you? I was raised in FL, but didn't learn a thing about food production there until later. In any case, if the extent of your experience is in FL and Gautemala, then you effectively know nothing about food-production in north america.

Regardless of how dry it gets in Guatemala (and obviously you know that winter in central FL also can get to very low humidity), a tropical region is simply not going to offer useful comparisons for temperate climates. I mean let's get real. In the tropics there is a staggering range of spectacular land-races that can be established (without wrapping trees in plastic), which either cannot exist in temperate zones or must be treated as annuals (common tomato being one tiny example). Vines, trees, bushes, forbs.

I think you must know all this, and you must think this forum is full of morons.


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yes, I guess I've been a moron to take that stuff seriously ;-)

Fortunately I didn't try and wrap all those poor stinking bushes in plastic !


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Also, in the photos you have posted, the toms are in smallish pots. Why are they in a pot? Why not grow them in the ground where the roots would have access to moisture?


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Jon ... All you are doing is creating a "terrarium" also called "Wardian Case", which was invented in the 1830s.

But you are doing it with plastic bags instead of glass panels.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wardian Case


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I understand How you could think they are similar, but there are large differences in that one is used to conserve the water. What I am doing is raising the temperature to a point that causes the host plant to open the pores (stomata) to allow a regulated dew point to water the secondary plants. For the same reason that the plants did not die in Nathaniel Wards glass houses is the same principle that mine do not die. It is never noted that he used it to grow gardens by drip irrigation, but it is good to know that this is in the same family of a proven work. I have recently. The following pictures will explain more with celery, Jalapeno plants. This was an experiment a while back. Now I use white bag to protect the evaporation of the soil layer, and poles inserted in 2 liter bottles to keep the bag off of less tolerant species of trees. I use a variation of this to just place the bags over limbs to water plants below.


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The photos are in a series of one of the process used. I since have compartmentalized the plastic bag to retain and guide the drop to better water the root balls


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The following is how the plant is growing. I realized that the plastic is too thin and slows down the transpiration process too much. By using a thinner bag the wind shakes it and causes less humidity to build up. I will post hygrometer readings that are crucial for this process to provide max efficiency. There is also enough dirt in the bag for up to 10 plants.


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I have many photos of growth of different plants using this process. I will post more later. In short the celery is tender, and receives plenty of water. I started this during one of a long dry spell here in Guatemala.


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I would never think that people here are morons! As a matter of fact I consider most all people on this forum more knowledgable than I am on the subject of Organic Gardening. My father was a biology teach and always had me working on his project. I wish I would of paid more attention to what he was trying to teach me. I have lived in Indiana, and worked for pioneer seed. I spent 2 years in Kenya, Africa. Many years in Oklahoma, have been all over the U.S. especially North Dakota. However, the last 20 years here in Guatemala. I now have an event center here in Guatemala that I use to help support the work of the primary school where I am director of about 170 students. This is the picture of the event center that I have worked on for a few years.


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One of four yards/gardens


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One of many weddings. I am not going to post where this is because I do not want anyone to think this post is spam. This is a few years ago. When I was just starting the garden work


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Here is our 100 ft (small) herb garden. Anise, basil, tomillo, and many other plants. I know this is probably very poorly done for many who are seeing these pictures. Even though this is a bit off subject I would welcome your comments and critique. My parents were from Kansas and retired there so the sun flower is in memory of them. Gotta love sunflowers.


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My current project is sweet corn with this method.


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I still wouldn't do it. Too much of a risk as far as making it an excellent reservoir for fungi, bacteria, and dreaded fungus gnats. I battle those issues often, even when I don't manipulate mother nature.

Plants have survived naturally on their own without intervention from humans for millions of years.

As I mentioned in my previous post, no way in h-e-double-hockey sticks will I plastic my entire garden. It is ugly and goes against everything I know about the way nature works.

We get enough rain in the PNW anyway.


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Why not have started with a more balanced and informative posting, like these later ones, instead of a very bizarro intro? It was big turn-off, for me. It's hard to get over someone thinking they know something that not one other person in the entire world knows.

Still, (or perhaps because) this thread is getting a lot of action for a nearly dead forum.


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Ok, AuroraWa, This is not for everyone. I have buried many people here because of health problems and starvation. Here is a picture (one of the first pictures of this community that is now over 7000 people) of where I visited and later bought a piece of property. Drilled a 700ft well, and provided water to over 4000 people. After Hurricane Mitch the people were unloaded by the truckload like a scene from Grapes of Wrath. They had no water the the ground too rocky, The streams were from sewers, no one was planting to bear crops. I am currently trying this method here but have just started. Perhaps other places in the undeveloped world could benefit from this, recycled plastic bags work just as well and can be sewn or melted together to fit over most scrub trees.


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pnbrown.......

Your right, I am sorry this was such a big turn off. Here is the reason. I started a thread like this only much more low key on. Organic Gardening. Several people jumped on me right away saying I was trying to put up spam. After posting the start of what I did here. The administrator erased everything I wrote, and pulled my registration. That's okay. It takes a whole lot more than that to rankle me. I knew I had to make a big point up front to tell people this was not spam.......and, perhaps I overdid it on the bragadoshis, egotisticle manner of presenting this. Thanks for sticking it out.


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  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 16:49

Having read the whole thing...perhaps there is value in water poor countries that have subsoil moisture (like your area).

Here where most of the US has ample water, or we have climate and terrain with little to no-subsoil moisture, your technique isn't very ummm applicable/impressive/desirable, but I can see in places where water is scarce, it could be useful.


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francoisefromaix...Wow you were not kidding. That stuff looks dangerous. I would probably try to place thin plastic over some of those scrub oaks to see, what if any moisture comes off the plant. This method is also a good way to measure how long of intervals you can go without watering your garden. For instance check the transpiration rate of a plant in your garden (don't worry it is a small test and it will not kill the plant). Then take the area in square inches that the plant occupies. If you are working with a circle take radius squared times pi. multiply it times the inches of rainfall at any given time. Then divide it by the quantity of water the plant transpired in a day the result is how many days before the plant will transpire all the rain from the recent rainfall. There are variables so it would be best to do the test under the hottest part of the day in full sun. From this you will know the worst case scenario or the shortest evaporation time. I would also subtract a day for soil evaporation.

This post was edited by hishouse on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 17:07


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Ok, thanks, Jon, finally we get to the crux of the deal. I had a feeling there was some urgency behind this idea, just didn't know what: random mania, save the world, etc.

So you see this as a method for people to grow food in disrupted situations, I take it? Obviously in a warm climate where there is enough rainfall to have plenty of small trees and shrubs. Could there be enough re-purposeable plastic bags/sheeting, etc, in a situation like that?

Again, I question whether this would be a more effective method than some other method not requiring plastic. Ditto for the pots and potting soil, is such going to be available in quantity in difficult circumstances?


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Pnbrown,

I don't know about the world, but definitely a few could benefit from this. In Third world cheap plastic sheeting, and plastic bags are in abundance, so yes this could be very applicable in Africa, hati, most all of central America. I would only be guessing but I am sure others.


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This method is certainly, faster cheaper, and lower maintenance than others I've see.

This post was edited by hishouse on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 21:08


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You haven't answered my question about the pots. We know that production is very small if one confines a plant's roots to a pot. If planted in the ground and the tomato becomes full size and thriving then it will be accessing the same nutrients and moisture as the small tree next to it.

Perhaps the plants are potted because of this? You are using the condensed water to raise the plant, and then going to move it to another location when it outgrows the pot?


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Ohhhhh, I didn't understand what pots you were referring to. The tomato is not in a pot. The starter was given to me about dead in a black plastic bag with holes in it. So I took it and placed it in the host tree. This was the first experiment to prove the concept would work. The next was to apply dirt (potting soil) directly in the bag to allow room for root growth. The next was to melt plastic dividers in the bag to make cones so the vapor collects and drips down the sides of the bag into the cones and waters the roots from the bottom. Much better response this way. The whole process is aimed at evaporation reduction. If I let the root ball of the plant and host tree coexist I would lose the ability to control the water content and chem makeup of soil. But, what you are saying makes sense. A person could drip the water back on itself to reduce evaporation, water loss into the atmosphere.

This post was edited by hishouse on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 10:00


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There are hundreds of variables of this process I have not worked out, and that is where I am hoping, people here can help. Such as maintaining max transpiration rates, water yield rates by tree throughout the year, water from tree vapor makeup and how this effects flavor of different fruits and vegetables, application of fertilizers, and organic composts, best methods for larger crops such as vines and tall plants.....corn, beans, etc. I could go on and on, but this is new and to me perhaps because of where I live, worth the time and energy.


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Please don't think I am so conceited that I think people will grow a third arm to stop what they are doing to work on this. Of course not. Even if someone helps with one aspect, it would help. Yes, KSU, Colorado, and California are showing interest in looking at this, but it will be years before any usable data comes out. Thanks for wadding through all this. Jon H.

This post was edited by hishouse on Mon, Aug 25, 14 at 9:27


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