Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Soil science ad lib 2
- Hi Jeff,
It may be possible to fertilize brassicas using mycelia; only my relative ignorance of mushrooms and similiar plant types has prevented me from entering this domain. It's on my list of things to explore.
I'm much less sure about Terra Preta. So far its an anthropological theory; I reserve my judgment till I see farmers growing something with it. And, can anybody figure out exactly what form of carbon qualifies and how do you produce this carbon. Also, if large numbers of farmers are burning something to produce carbon, wouldn't that add to pollution and global warming. Would we need autoclaves with scrubbers to make the system work?
Dalziel O'Brien back in the 50's used soot in a very complicated (and profitable) system of vegan farming that hardly anybody else has been able to duplicate. Maybe she was using Terra Preta without knowing it?
One form of fertilization you don't mention is to find well-behaved (not weedy, spready, or heavy-wood-rooted) perennial grass such as vetiver (or Chinese jiji for cold weather) and make hedge rows with it. Some cocoa plant growers have observed that vetiver grass circles protect the crop from many pests and donate nutrients to it. Grasses like these pump an enormous amount of nutrients up from depths of 10 ft or more, grow much faster than most trees and, if cut at the crown to allow the massive roots to decay, produce a sort of "underground compost" (and, of course, the tops can be cut and composted or mulched). Until Wes Jackson gets his perennial grains and veggies going, we can use the perennial grasses directly for fertilization. And, it's much easier for the average gardener to experiment with perennial grasses than try to develop perennial grain crops.
New Orleans, LA
Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote:
I sometimes have the feeling that the idea
> of remineralization is being pushed as the latestJust a quick definition on these terms listed above might be useful
> fad after mycorrhizae, EM, terra preta, etc.
> I think one needs to ask if a soil deficiency is
> real, or if the biological soil activity is reduced
> to such a degree that nutrients are not supplied
> to plants in the most suitable form. I'm a firm
> believer in feeding the soil exclusively by organic
for others reading over the shoulder:
remineralization- has two different definitions, in traditional soil
science this refers to the evenutal break down of organic materials
into their base compounds (ie proteins to N2 gas, and carbohydrates to
CO2 gas and H20 water) and includes such process has releasing iron
other metals into the system via biotic processes.
In the modern context it typically refers to using rock dust
(non-organic/mineral parent material)ground finely. This makes many
trace minerals available to the system, typically inhances pH,
phosphorus, calcium, and sometimes potassium concentrations. It has
been found to be sucessful in certain areas in reversing
desertification (possibly a side affect from increased surface area
which leads to increase moisture availability), and is being encourage
is a supplement to chemical fertilizers.
mycorhizae- the use of spores and cultures fungus that enter a
symbiotic association with the root hairs of many plants. Specifically
VAM fungus has been noted. Reseach indicates that they are most
effective in perrenial systems or systems with limited phosphorus
availability. Phosphorus is highly pH sensitive when soil is too acid
or basic or there is a low background concentration of phosphorus
these fungus can increase the uptake of phosphours over 17 times.
EM- effective micro-organsisms- typically a brewed and aerated culture
of bacteria (and some fungus) that enhance soil activity and their by
enhances the productivity, essentially this works because dead
bacteria are easier to absorb than non-organic nutrients. Bacteria are
much more proficient at absorbing these nutrients.
Terra preta- adding bio-char (10-30%) to the soil (if anyone has a
good source for bio-char or knows how to easily create it let me know)
Bio-char is special charcoal that is produced at low temperatures. The
low temperatures keep much of the nutrients from literally going up in
smoke, in addition to holding on to many hundreds of times the amount
of nutrients as ash or regular charcoal, bio-char has an extremely
high surface area (similar to activated carbon) high surface area
increase moisture availablity, increases infiltration, decreases
evaporation, and will also act as CEC (cation exchange capacity),
normally the clay portion and the organic portion of soil is what
holds the CEC (nutrients). So the bio-char reduces the leaking of
nutrient in a rainy environment significantly. There are places in the
amazon that have grown corn every year for 30 years with no fertilizer
what so ever.
ANd finally, using Standard Gourmet mushrooms. In Mycelium Running
Paul Stamets experiemtns with increasing yield of crops through use of
mushrooms (rather than just mycorhyzea) Garden Giant and Elm Oyster
were both found to increase yeilds (plus you get mushrooms out of the
deal) and if I remember right it worked for brussel sprouts (cales)
that dont' participate in the mycorhyzea world.
Bob Monie- many oriental crops are in this family. It strikes me as
something you could use to possibly reduce your fertilizing of your
PS if anyone has experience with growing mushrooms like this or
conventionally I'd like to hear about it.
> You mentioned that the most frequent soil deficienciesSelenium, Zinc, Magnesium and Manganese are the common TRACE
> are of Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium, and Manganese.
> What are the best dynamic accumulators for these
deficiencies. Typcially N, P (sometimes K), Fe (iron), S, and Ca are
the deficiencies most places are concerned with. I know next to
nothing about the species that are best to use for various minerals.
> The advantages of field composting are as follows:This is not always the case, it depends on the crop used, and climate.
> 1. Less labour
> Plant residues can be left where they are cut and don't
> need to be carried back and forth. The compost heap
> does not need to be turned.
> 2. Fewer losses of nutrients into the soil
> Well cured compost has lost nutrients into the soil
> through leaching. With field composting, leaching
> into the soil is the desired result.
> 3. Fewer losses into the air
> The compost heap emits nutrients into the air, especially
> during the high temperature phase.
> 4. More biological activity
> In nature, plant residues deposited on the soil surface
> are decomposed under aerobic conditions by numerous
> creatures, including earthworms, aerobic microbes,
> etc. If this biological phase takes place in the compost
> heap instead of on the soil, it stands to reason that there
> is less biological activity in the soil.
There are several cases where biological activity is higher in the
composted material, indeed some materials (sawdust, and alleopathics)
can leave a vaccum where biological activity slows due to binding of
> 5. Better soil protectionpoint 3 is very correct, the only conditions it might not be true
> If plant residues are moved to the compost heap, the
> soil remains bare and exposed to erosion by wind,
> sun and rain.
> Some of the above may be open to debate. In particular,
> point 3. above probably depends very much on the climatic
> conditions. Under wet conditions a mulching layer will
> disintegrate quickly into the soil, while during dry conditions
> it is far more difficult to know how much of the plant residues
> return to the soil and how much will volatize into the air.
> Does anybody have information to clarify this last point?
> Or know where I might find an answer?
would be cool, dry conditions.
Even warm dry conditions would intially retain enough moisture and
even create some from catabolic process to lose significant nutrients
Advantages of Heap Composting
The advantage to heap composting is building micro organisms for a
place that has been previously 'fried' by too much chemicals,
Also the compost will concentrate the nutrients that allows can be fed
by teas or by side dressing to specific high demand crops (corn,
squash asparagus) or for container gardens,
any place with high soil leaching potential (rainy climate sandy soil,
thin soils, tropical soils, acid soils) will benefit from the heap
compost as the organic matter not stable enough to last has already
been 'chewed' through
While lagzana gardening does offer field composting, it is difficult
to get the green'brown'ph'moisture regime right for that method, Heap
composting allows for faster composting and thus more rapid soil
building for extremely deficient soils. and getting a head start on
newly acquired land
Manure and urine;
manure and urine are good (although urine needs care to not be applied
during the heat of the day as urea will evaporate) sources of
nutrients, organic matter (not so much with urine), and trace minerals
One application of manure will typically supply 5-10+ years of trace
minerals for a conventional farm using otherwise chemical fertilizers
Poultry manure should be combined with straw and composted, uric acid
in the poultry manure is well, acid, not solubility and not very
available to plants
of other livestock....Lowest N to highest
Cow, Horse, Sheep, Human
I'm guessing rabbits would be between horse and sheep
I have no idea about goats, prolly depends alot on diet
With human manure I would definitely compost it just to keep
infectious agents out of the food supply,
That also goes for any leaf vegetable... must compost to kill the
vermin... the recent spinach E. Coli example in the US points to this
need...... of course only dairy, or feed lot cattle are likely to have
E. Coli (OH157) because it is more tolorant of the highly acid deits
(corn and soybeans) that these animals consume.
OK here goes: the only reason Mad Cow disease exists is because we
grind up dead cows to make vitamins for cows still living. Coyotes and
Wolves don't catch these disease nature has programmed them to deal
with them. omnivores and herbivores haven't evolved protection
Other than that manure is good spread it around use it, be careful
with urban night soil (human...)because of industrial heavy metal
If I missed any questions repeat them and I'll do my best.
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