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dpack

himalayan balsam, not all bad

while i was out and about today i spotted a rather nice ladybird on a patch of quite short himalayan balsam beside the nidd.
in the next 5 mins or so i established 9 different ladybird species within a volume of about 100 litres (area does not explain it well as they were at different "altitudes" on the plants. Im not sure why they were there, if it was to gobble a late flush of aphids they had eaten them, they could have sunned themselves on a variety of plants but they were concentrated on this patch of HB.

2 points ,i have never seen so many different species in a small space and each species had multiple examples present.

maybe HB is not the monster it has been designated as and in some places it might actually be good for biodiversity as well as feeding bees for months when in full flower.

perhaps it needs some proper study to establish what else can treat it as home or grocers/butchers shop Wink
Mistress Rose

I think the major problem with it is that it spreads so much and out competes native plants. I agree about its use as food for bees and other insects, and I actually like it, but then I don't have to worry about trying to keep it out of my land as we are far too dry.

How many different sorts of native ladybird are there Dpack?
buzzy

I can answer that! There are twenty three species of native ladybird. There are three immigrant species

Harlequin

Bryony

Thirteen Spot - this may have been native but is now regarded as extinct with occasional colonies arising from immigration

Henry
derbyshiredowser

We have hundreds of mtrs of this around the parks in Derby completely devastating any other plants. Despite using the Community payback people as labour to pull it out year after year it has taken over. Access to the river bank has been stopped by beds of it over 15 ft wide, quite amazing as it was not there 5 years ago.
dpack

there were harlequins and 8 others of assorted sizes and spot counts.
Hairyloon

We have hundreds of mtrs of this around the parks in Derby completely devastating any other plants. Despite using the Community payback people as labour to pull it out year after year it has taken over...

What happens to the stuff that is pulled up?
If ways can be found to monetise it, then there will be more funds for control.
derbyshiredowser

Its left lying on the ground with the roots exposed and then I assume the council collect it. Thinking about it maybe that's why its come back with avengence as it should be removed straight away. with regards to monetising it I remember a recipe for currying the seeds on here a few years ago.
buzzy

Its left lying on the ground with the roots exposed and then I assume the council collect it. Thinking about it maybe that's why its come back with avengence as it should be removed straight away. with regards to monetising it I remember a recipe for currying the seeds on here a few years ago.


As I recall, HB grows from seeds, which it produces in great profusion. Thus it is important to pull or cut it before it flowers. Stuff you pull just dies, but if there are seed pods close to ripening, they will help the spread! Being a fast growing annual I expect the plants are of little use for biomass fuel.

Henry
Treacodactyl

As I recall, HB grows from seeds, which it produces in great profusion. Thus it is important to pull or cut it before it flowers. Stuff you pull just dies, but if there are seed pods close to ripening, they will help the spread! Being a fast growing annual I expect the plants are of little use for biomass fuel.

It can also root from broken pieces during the growing season, if you look at the stems they're covered in little roots waiting to come into contact with some soil. Whole plants can also get washed down stream only to wash up and carry on growing.
Hairyloon

Being a fast growing annual I expect the plants are of little use for biomass fuel.
Anything can go into anaerobic digestion to make gas...
derbyshiredowser

Despite years of protest , public enquiry and changes of control at the council this is nearly ready to be fired up.

http://resource.co/sustainability/article/gib-invests-rrs%e2%80%99s-derby-incinerator-3247
buzzy

Being a fast growing annual I expect the plants are of little use for biomass fuel.
Anything can go into anaerobic digestion to make gas...

I'm sure you are right. The question is "Does HB produce enough gas to make it worthwhile cutting, collecting and transporting it?"

Henry
buzzy

As I recall, HB grows from seeds, which it produces in great profusion. Thus it is important to pull or cut it before it flowers. Stuff you pull just dies, but if there are seed pods close to ripening, they will help the spread! Being a fast growing annual I expect the plants are of little use for biomass fuel.

It can also root from broken pieces during the growing season, if you look at the stems they're covered in little roots waiting to come into contact with some soil. Whole plants can also get washed down stream only to wash up and carry on growing.

Thanks. I didn't know that - and I've not come into close enough contact with it to have seen detail of the stems. I just know it seeds very well.

Henry
Mistress Rose

That does of course highlight why it needs to be controlled. Like ragwort, it probably ought to be put head first into a plastic sack then taken away and allowed to rot in the sack or be burnt. derbyshiredowser

That does of course highlight why it needs to be controlled. Like ragwort, it probably ought to be put head first into a plastic sack then taken away and allowed to rot in the sack or be burnt.

The ill timed ad hoc approach to its eradication means the seeds are triggered by people and dogs and when pulled up just left lying on the ground has left us with vast swathes of it. Looking at it yesterday there must be a kilometre of it along the bank of the river Derwent by 15ft deep beds and the further 400mtrs along some flood defences. To my horror they have come along last week and mown it down in three places and left the stems in small sections on the ground. I don't think the council are taking it seriously.
Hairyloon

Being a fast growing annual I expect the plants are of little use for biomass fuel.
Anything can go into anaerobic digestion to make gas...

I'm sure you are right. The question is "Does HB produce enough gas to make it worthwhile cutting, collecting and transporting it?"
The better question is: can we set up a digester at this place with a HB infestation?

The cutting and collecting is wanting to happen anyway to control the problem. The gas is a bonus.
Slim

Perhaps those eradicating it need a lesson on seed disperal of the genus Impatiens and why it would be inappropriate to just throw them around if you're trying to get rid of them Shocked

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UiCRJE9e88
buzzy

Being a fast growing annual I expect the plants are of little use for biomass fuel.
Anything can go into anaerobic digestion to make gas...

I'm sure you are right. The question is "Does HB produce enough gas to make it worthwhile cutting, collecting and transporting it?"
The better question is: can we set up a digester at this place with a HB infestation?

The cutting and collecting is wanting to happen anyway to control the problem. The gas is a bonus.

I'm not sure it's a better question, just the same question asked in a slightly different way. Replace 'transporting' with 'setting up a digester and removing it when the HB is cleared'.

Henry
Mistress Rose

Many years ago I thought that digesting waste rather than burying it was a good idea, and it seems to have happened. Sadly I have never had the knowledge or been in the right industry to make these things happen, but it is nice to know that they eventually do. Perhaps a small volume one to take round to sites with things like HB, severe ragwort infestations etc. might be a good idea. If all else failed, perhaps they could store the gas so that it could be used to power their transport, so apart from the cost in money and energy making the thing, it would be carbon neutral. Treacodactyl

As I recall, HB grows from seeds, which it produces in great profusion. Thus it is important to pull or cut it before it flowers. Stuff you pull just dies, but if there are seed pods close to ripening, they will help the spread! Being a fast growing annual I expect the plants are of little use for biomass fuel.

It can also root from broken pieces during the growing season, if you look at the stems they're covered in little roots waiting to come into contact with some soil. Whole plants can also get washed down stream only to wash up and carry on growing.

Thanks. I didn't know that - and I've not come into close enough contact with it to have seen detail of the stems. I just know it seeds very well.

Henry

Here's a pic of a small plant that's probably floated down the stream and re-rooted. The original roots on the right and the lower two nodes have sprouted roots. I snapped it whilst pulling it out so not a great photo.

dpack

it is a very persistent and "enthusiastic" plant ,in the wrong place (most places are wrong ) it is a rather bad development but in some circumstances it does seem to enrich the biosphere rather than smother and monoculture it. Hairyloon

Many years ago I thought that digesting waste rather than burying it was a good idea, and it seems to have happened. Sadly I have never had the knowledge or been in the right industry to make these things happen, but it is nice to know that they eventually do. Perhaps a small volume one to take round to sites with things like HB, severe ragwort infestations etc. might be a good idea...
There is nothing complicated about methane digestion: you can do it with not much more than a couple of buckets. It's not quick though: takes a week or few before you start getting useable gas.
buzzy

Many years ago I thought that digesting waste rather than burying it was a good idea, and it seems to have happened. Sadly I have never had the knowledge or been in the right industry to make these things happen, but it is nice to know that they eventually do. Perhaps a small volume one to take round to sites with things like HB, severe ragwort infestations etc. might be a good idea...
There is nothing complicated about methane digestion: you can do it with not much more than a couple of buckets. It's not quick though: takes a week or few before you start getting useable gas.

Are there any plans available for a (reasonably) portable methane digester that includes efficient storage for the gas produced?

Henry
Hairyloon

Many years ago I thought that digesting waste rather than burying it was a good idea, and it seems to have happened. Sadly I have never had the knowledge or been in the right industry to make these things happen, but it is nice to know that they eventually do. Perhaps a small volume one to take round to sites with things like HB, severe ragwort infestations etc. might be a good idea...
There is nothing complicated about methane digestion: you can do it with not much more than a couple of buckets. It's not quick though: takes a week or few before you start getting useable gas.

Are there any plans available for a (reasonably) portable methane digester that includes efficient storage for the gas produced?
There are plenty of plans available until you come to that last requirement. For that, the only one I've found so far is the one in my head...
Slim

Many years ago I thought that digesting waste rather than burying it was a good idea, and it seems to have happened. Sadly I have never had the knowledge or been in the right industry to make these things happen, but it is nice to know that they eventually do. Perhaps a small volume one to take round to sites with things like HB, severe ragwort infestations etc. might be a good idea...
There is nothing complicated about methane digestion: you can do it with not much more than a couple of buckets. It's not quick though: takes a week or few before you start getting useable gas.

Are there any plans available for a (reasonably) portable methane digester that includes efficient storage for the gas produced?
There are plenty of plans available until you come to that last requirement. For that, the only one I've found so far is the one in my head...

I can't imagine the amusement is worth the brain cells lost when it comes to huffing methane
Hairyloon

Many years ago I thought that digesting waste rather than burying it was a good idea, and it seems to have happened. Sadly I have never had the knowledge or been in the right industry to make these things happen, but it is nice to know that they eventually do. Perhaps a small volume one to take round to sites with things like HB, severe ragwort infestations etc. might be a good idea...
There is nothing complicated about methane digestion: you can do it with not much more than a couple of buckets. It's not quick though: takes a week or few before you start getting useable gas.

Are there any plans available for a (reasonably) portable methane digester that includes efficient storage for the gas produced?
There are plenty of plans available until you come to that last requirement. For that, the only one I've found so far is the one in my head...

I can't imagine the amusement is worth the brain cells lost when it comes to huffing methane
A plan you fool, not a storage for methane. Rolling Eyes
Bodger

I first came across HB nearly forty years ago. This was when I was mink hunting with The Border Counties Mink hounds and it was on the river banks. I can well understand how it spreads down stream but where I live now, we even have it on the cliff tops. Hairyloon

There are plans afoot to address a local problem with HB and other invasive weeds so I want to give this idea of digesting them some proper thought.
A digester is fairly easy to build: you can make one out of an IBC or an old barrel or whatever, but it seems to me the harder part is how to mash up the bulk of the biomass and get it in the tank.

I'm thinking that there could be a series of digesters, and one portable plant mashing device, but I'm not aware of any suitable machine...

Any thoughts?
Slim

A small wood chipper would do the trick I would think... Hairyloon

A small wood chipper would do the trick I would think...
For the amount of stuff I think we are talking about, a small chipper would be tedious, and a larger chipper tends to fling stuff about rather vigorously, but if the area is infested anyway, that latter shouldn't matter. Might be worth a try.
Slim


For the amount of stuff I think we are talking about, a small chipper would be tedious, and a larger chipper tends to fling stuff about rather vigorously....

It's not like the material is going to bog down the chipper (though you might worry about where all the juices that are freed will go). I think it would deal with it as fast as you could feed it. So unless you're planning on using machinery to move the material around, I don't think I see the point in a larger chipper.

Just what I would expect.
Hairyloon


For the amount of stuff I think we are talking about, a small chipper would be tedious, and a larger chipper tends to fling stuff about rather vigorously....

It's not like the material is going to bog down the chipper (though you might worry about where all the juices that are freed will go). I think it would deal with it as fast as you could feed it. So unless you're planning on using machinery to move the material around, I don't think I see the point in a larger chipper.

Just what I would expect.
Of course, with you being across the pond, you may have a different idea as to what constitutes "small"... Wink
Slim


For the amount of stuff I think we are talking about, a small chipper would be tedious, and a larger chipper tends to fling stuff about rather vigorously....

It's not like the material is going to bog down the chipper (though you might worry about where all the juices that are freed will go). I think it would deal with it as fast as you could feed it. So unless you're planning on using machinery to move the material around, I don't think I see the point in a larger chipper.

Just what I would expect.
Of course, with you being across the pond, you may have a different idea as to what constitutes "small"... Wink

Just your usual backyard model, something like this: https://youtu.be/-0WSbZyjvX0?t=2m38s



In reality I was thinking something like this: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTuD2hp8xSuLDAnpgj-LgZt7W3EQ_xPqRhXWBNffmMtP_j2jrkApw

or maybe even an apple eater from a cidering operation (probably hard to find a volunteer willing to lend theirs however!)
buzzy


For the amount of stuff I think we are talking about, a small chipper would be tedious, and a larger chipper tends to fling stuff about rather vigorously....

It's not like the material is going to bog down the chipper (though you might worry about where all the juices that are freed will go). I think it would deal with it as fast as you could feed it. So unless you're planning on using machinery to move the material around, I don't think I see the point in a larger chipper.

Just what I would expect.
Of course, with you being across the pond, you may have a different idea as to what constitutes "small"... Wink

Hmmm - chipper on invasive weeds. HB might be all right, but you really really wouldn't want to get people putting Giant Hogweed in one. Shocked Shocked Crying or Very sad

Henry
Hairyloon

Hmmm - chipper on invasive weeds. HB might be all right, but you really really wouldn't want to get people putting Giant Hogweed in one. Shocked Shocked Crying or Very sad

I was thinking some kind of big macerator...

But back to OP... I was told today that Himalayan balsam seeds make a very nice oil.
The tricky question now is how to harvest them in sensible quantities, and ideally remove the plants at the same time.
Mistress Rose

Probably the same as some other plants. Pull when the plant when the seeds are nearly but not quite ripe so they don't fall out and spread, and put the heads in a large paper bag. Hang up to dry and shake seeds out. Destroy plant. This is the way ragwort is hand pulled and the heads put in a plastic sack. The whole lot is then burnt. dpack

im not sure about oil but the seeds make a fair black pepper substitute.

toxicity might be an issue as not much seems to eat any part of the plant so i havenít tried more than a small amount.
Mistress Rose

That could be because it is toxic, or because, being an alien plant, nothing has developed a taste for it. dpack

naptha quinones, alkaloids, glycosides all get mentions ,

leaves almost certainly toxic by ingestion

i could not find any ld50s for it but several close relatives come out at 3000 to 5000mg/kg in rodents. so a decent sized portion of leaves etc would likely be a bit iffy.

it has a few medicinal uses
heptoprotective ( similar to milk thistle- sylimarin)
anti fungal (see naptha quinones)
ingredient in pile cream
topical for contact dermatitis, bee stings etc etc

i would consider it not food (a few seeds are probably below toxic levels)

the oil might be ok (see castor oil etc ) but i recon i would want to send a sample for full toxicity testing before frying my chips or dressing a salad and as far as public sale i would consider jump many hoops first to be essential.

sorry not to find more but most effort seems to have been directed at killing it rather than looking for uses Laughing
Mistress Rose

As you say from the amount needed to be ingested by rodents, it doesn't look too toxic, and most plants contain alkaloids etc.
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