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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Soil science ad lib 2

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  • Robert Monie
    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
    Message 1 of 39 , Aug 20, 2007
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      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.

      Bob Monie
      Zone 8
      New Orleans, LA
      Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote:
      I sometimes have the feeling that the idea
      > of remineralization is being pushed as the latest
      > 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
      > means.
      >
      Just a quick definition on these terms listed above might be useful
      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
      oriental garden??
      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 deficiencies
      > are of Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium, and Manganese.
      > What are the best dynamic accumulators for these
      > elements?

      Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium and Manganese are the common TRACE
      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:
      >
      > 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.

      This is not always the case, it depends on the crop used, and climate.
      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
      available nutrients

      > 5. Better soil protection
      > 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?
      >
      point 3 is very correct, the only conditions it might not be true
      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
      to volitilization.

      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,
      desertification, or.....

      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
      contaimination.

      If I missed any questions repeat them and I'll do my best.

      J






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    • yarrow@sfo.com
      At 3:10 PM -0700 8/21/07, Dieter Brand wrote: I can’t for the h.. of it remember what OSR stands for
      Message 39 of 39 , Aug 21, 2007
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        At 3:10 PM -0700 8/21/07, Dieter Brand wrote:
        I can’t for the h.. of it remember what OSR stands for
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