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Re: [fukuoka_farming] references

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  • Larry Haftl
    ... Hi Zack, I clicked on the link and when it came up I remembered that I had seen it before and thought it would be counter-productive to include in the
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 26, 2002
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      At Monday, 25 November 2002, Zack Domike wrote:

      >(her site, http://www.soilfoodweb.com/phpweb/ would be
      >a good link for Larry, not that you Hafto, tho.)

      Hi Zack,
      I clicked on the link and when it came up I remembered that I had
      seen it before and thought it would be counter-productive to include
      in the links pages for the following reasons. If, however, you still
      think the site has something useful to add to the mix, let me know
      and I'll post it.
      Dr. Ingham is in the business of selling and promoting a microbial
      soil testing service and the use of microbial cocktails for use in
      composting. This puts her into the biodynamic/Nature Farming school,
      which, of itself, is not so terrible. But what she is doing and
      promoting makes no sense other than to make her some money.

      The first few pages of her "practical applications" are a decent
      intro to the importance of microorganisms in soil fertility. Not
      unique, but decent. Then she gets into her "plan", which makes no

      " Briefly, the plan is this:
      1. Determine the organisms present in the soil.
      2. Add back the organisms that are missing, or out-of-balance.
      3. Add food to make certain the added organisms can survive and grow.
      4. Check to make sure the foodweb is moving back into the correct
      balance for the desired plant.
      5. Repeat steps 2 - 4 until the correct foodweb is obtained.
      6. Monitor yearly to make certain soil remains healthy."

      Sounds good, but by her own admission the best current technology
      can only detect less than 1% of the microorganisms in any give soil
      sample. The best sites I found on this, including one she references,
      agree that we have only identified less than 5% of the total types
      of microorganisms in soils, and don't know what they do or how they
      interact with each other and the other 95% of soil life, except in
      very general and admittedly very incomplete ways.

      So if we can't identify 95-99% of what is there, why do the testing
      (expensive by her admission)? And if the best we can find out is
      less than 1% of what is really going on in the soil, how can we justify
      messing about with microbial cocktails to "adjust and manage" it?

      I'm not anti-testing or anti-science by any means, but it has to
      make sense and tell me something that is really useful without hiding
      all the other factors involved. Testing soils for chemicals (which
      she mentions briefly) makes sense to detect if, for some usually
      man-made reason, there is an excess or serious deficiency of any
      given mineral. This you can do with a cheap test kit available in
      any garden store or department. I am also interested in Brix testing.
      But what she is promoting seems, to me, to go against exactly what
      Fukuoka is saying.

      The early information she gives is good, but then it seems, to me,
      to smoothly lead to a very false and dangerous conclusion, which
      is to buy her testing service, books, CDs, and use microbial cocktails
      to mess with something which we can't possibly begin to fully understand,
      let alone manipulate without potentially doing far more harm than

      That's why I originally omitted her site from the links list. But
      I could be missing something or misreading what she has to offer.
      If that is the case, then please let me know and I'll post the link.

      Larry Haftl
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