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[fukuoka_farming] Re: On Fungus

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  • Allan Balliett
    Robin, Leland, et al - I m a biological farmer in northern virginia, usa. I ve established 3 major gardens and am currently serving as head gardener for a 167
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 2, 2002
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      Robin, Leland, et al -

      I'm a biological farmer in northern virginia, usa. I've established 3
      major gardens and am currently serving as head gardener for a 167
      member biodynamic CSA. I'm only saying this to point out that I spend
      a lot of time with crop plants and have been doing so for years.

      This season we have a drought. Fungus attacks were horrible, just the
      same. Fungus does thrive where there is a lack of circulation, but
      fungus does not need damp, moist, soil conditions to attack fruit or
      leaves.

      It's really important for growers who hope to address hunger issues
      to be aware of the toll that undiagnosed fungus takes on the energy
      and ultimate productivity of their crop plants. Until you garden is
      totally balanced and your fertility levels balanced and high, fungus
      can be a problem (depending on crop, variety and location.) It is
      important to have a program of fungus control in place before you
      even notice the fungus.

      In biodynamics we use a tea made of horse tail to 'prevent' fungal outbreaks.

      I'm not saying this to push biodynamics. I'm saying this because
      there are tools in each of the essence gardening schools that can be
      used to advantage by all the essence gardening schools. Horse Tail
      tea is one of those useful tools.

      Check out Howard Shapiro's GARDENING for the FUTURE of the EARTH
      book. Howard was an actual student of Fukuoka. He wrote this book to
      show how 'specialization,' e.g. following Steiner, Mollison or
      Fukuoka to rigidly can delay attaining our true aims. In my case,
      that would be growing the most highly nutritious food possible for as
      many people as possible for as little money as possible.

      -Allan


      >I have seen that fungus thrives in wet unweeded areas beneath food
      >plants and moves onto the food plants when it gets its chance.
      >
      >Further I have noticed that a small amount of weeding underneath
      >severely effected crops can arrest the fungus especially given sunny
      >days. It is difficult to stop fungus spread during rainy periods
      >though keeping the crops as airy and exposed to sunlight all the way
      >down to the stem will definitely help.
      >
      >What crops are the most affected in your climate?
      >
      >Leland
    • Allan Balliett
      ... Bad smells from compost or compost teas are first warning signs that something is wrong with the compost or the tea. You want a nice earthy smell, like
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 2, 2002
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        >
        >First off, I have been using simple compost teas and they have clearly
        >worked well but smell terrible. Thus I will phase out of using them as
        >it appears the smell is meant to be in the ground and not in the air,
        >according to my nose.

        Bad smells from compost or compost teas are first warning signs that
        something is wrong with the compost or the tea. You want a nice
        earthy smell, like leaf mulch in a healthy woods.

        NEVER NEVER NEVER apply bad smelling compost tea to crops!!

        Manure and herb teas are a different story. Some of the bad smells
        indicate that the nitrogen is freed up and they are excellent at that
        point to apply, diluted, to root zones.
      • Don Graves
        Hi Allan ... I am hopefully meeting Dr Elaine Ingham in Blenheim New Zealand ... this Thurdsay Aug 5th In my relatively short experience with mycorrhiza
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 3, 2002
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          Hi Allan ...
          I am hopefully meeting Dr Elaine Ingham in Blenheim New Zealand ... this
          Thurdsay Aug 5th

          In my relatively short experience with mycorrhiza research & organic
          research, my observation
          is that both are mostly about (PROCESSes) = (understanding & maintaining
          soils & mycorrhizas)

          Mycorrhizas & Organics research attract very poor levels of scientific or
          technology research funding ...
          providing few REMEDIAL MYCORRHIZA ( PRODUCTS )
          aeroponic AM fungal spores
          seed-balls
          soil attached to fresh weed or crop roots from biologically diverse soils
          eg. under pasture / lawn (undisturbed)

          for use mainly in degraded & nutrient-'poor' soils

          ie. research without 'product development'
          = R without D
          R&D are almost bound togther
          more is the pity for the sake of planet Earth - (Gaea)

          there are very few mychorrhiza inoculation technologies
          & thus few 'development' opportunities for 'middle'-people to manufacture &
          sell nutrient & crop-protection products to so-called 'producers' or growers

          he she we ge can sense what was inherited free
          GAEA's soil is alive, Earth lives!


          we can manaaki (take care of) our whenua (land)
          treat vegetation like a korowai (cloak)
          or a living green skin
          mulch & (suitable) plants protect against bare soil surfaces ... thus
          reduce soil exposure to drying, & minimise wind & water erosion
          however, ... compared to bare soil surfaces, shaded soil surfaces under
          mulches / plants are slower to heat up at the beginning of Spring
          here & now in Nelson, southern-hemisphere South-Pacific Aotearoa (New
          Zealand) the Magnolia trees are in full spring bloom ... & life is truly
          great..

          There is more to wonder about
          than we can ever learn,
          ... awesome eh!



          appolls for any philosophy & poetry
          try my mycological (fungal) regards
          Don





          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Allan Balliett" <igg@...>
          To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 11:53 PM
          Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] On Fungus


          > Robin -
          >
          > Check out Elaine Ingham's Soil Foodweb work. I think its at
          http://www.sfi.com
          >
          >
          > Elain is the academic who has been studying the making and applying
          > of hi-diversity compost teas to cultivated plants and garden soils.
          >
          > What she's doing, basically, is taking the highest quality compost
          > and perculating it to remove the micro life from the physical matter.
          > The water she does this in is high in appropriate nutrients, so, in
          > this highly oxigenated media, they breed like crazy. the resulting
          > brew is either sprayed on plants to control the colonization of
          > harmful fungi (by applying beneficial fungi - and good compost is
          > predominately beneficial organisms - which out-colonize the bad ones)
          > or by pouring it on the soil, trying to re-create the lush diversity
          > the soil that plants evolved in actually had.
          >
          > It's a great subject. It's more work, but it's very natural.
          >
          > For those on the East Coast - Elaine (and many others) will be
          > speaking at my biodynamic conference on Oct 4-6 outside of
          > Washington, DC http://www.gardneingforthefuture.com
          >
          > Ask me if you want to know more
          >
          > -Allan
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • RobinFernández-Medina
          Thanks to all those responses on the issue of Fungus. I agree with Jamie and others on the result of an imbalanced ecosystem being conducive to fungal
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 4, 2002
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            Thanks to all those responses on the issue of Fungus. I agree with Jamie and others on the result of an imbalanced ecosystem being conducive to fungal outbreaks. The land I am currently mulching and cultivating on was and is on what has always been an olive tree orchard and almond trees. Both dry tolerant. I know the old owner was using foliar sprays and this must have impacted the surroundings in ways I can only dread. Since we purchased the land two years ago we have done nothing in the line of fertilizing or clearing or anything out of choice to see what direction things took. The prescence of certain weeds indicated patches of poor soil, and the sun burn, drought, salting and mineral deficiency look was apparent. Last year we started laying cardboard and manures down on the areas we were preparing to grow veggies in the future (which turned out to be this summer). The aphids were all over in the beginnig and they thinned out to manageable levels alone, but it took a long time to see ladybugs so I am not sure what happened there. The plants showed deficiencies and the latest (which was my comment on fungus) was the spread of leaf rot and just plants dying and noticing that the fungus were clearly invading. I try to limit my watering hours and always in summer wet the soil and not the leaves. I am thinking that perhaps the close by piles of fresh grass clippings has been the focal point of this invasion. Not sure but a hunch. Its the first time I have seen dill get decimated in this fashion.
            We have a very dry climate here during our summer months. Borderline drought and drought prone areas.
            Either way, I really am just standing by and watcing how all these processes unfold during these years as the land continues to go untouched.
            Here on the grape vines we use a blue dust that suppreses rot on the grapes. I dont know what its called but the farmers tell me that it is innofensive. Is this so? Can I apply it to the area under fungal attacks as a solution?
            I would be intereseted to hear of your comments.
            Regards,
            Robin
            jamie wrote:Hello Robin,
            I can only imagine your problem is literally growing out
            of a previous imbalance that has not yet righted itself. What was the land
            you're growing your vegetables on used for previously?
            I've been using a deep mulch for my veg this year instead of watering
            with no fungal problems (I'm just over the border in France from Barcelona).
            I cleared much brushwood last winter and have used this as part of my mulch.
            I noted when spreading it early this year that although we'd had no
            appreciable rainfall over the winter there was still white rot
            (basidiomycetes) invading the twigs and leaves. It might be such an approach
            this autumn/winter might help you by introducing a competing fungus for that
            which is causing your problem - another form of innoculation of the soil,
            but if you have the brushwood it might help.

            Jamie
            Souscayrous

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Robin Fern�ndez-Medina <flyingdebris1@...>
            To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 10:56 AM
            Subject: [fukuoka_farming] On Fungus


            >
            > Hello everyone,
            >
            > It was nice to read you last email Don Graves. I find Mychorizea a
            fascinating subject. I had the opportunity to Study with Paul Stamets in
            Washington State a few years ago. I learnt a tremendous amount on the
            importance of Fungus in the Ecosystem. In fact, so much so, that I got the
            impression that no fungus, no ecosystem. The beautiful chanterrelle and
            Bollete are two examples of Mychorizea that are enough to get you interested
            in the whole subject.
            > Now that I am on the subject, I find that in the Natural farming method,
            and doing my best to follow the "do nothing approach", the prescence of
            fungus takes a leading role in plant deaths. I always have been one to think
            of leaving all the insects do their thing and if they wasnt to eat my
            vegetables to do so until something or other brings them into balance...as
            well as interplanting other plants and such to control the spread. However,
            fungus is my biggest "pest" ( to use that word) in my Natural farming
            approach. I see it just decimate so many of my plants and trees even though,
            most of the time it doesnt kill its hosts. Fungus are very prolific, and
            some strains seem to be able to leap from one plant to the other without a
            care of type or size. Is there a way at minimizing their impact on my
            vegetable patches?
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Robin
            > Malaga, Spain
            >
            >
            >
            > ---------------------------------
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            >
            >
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          • Chris Sawyer
            If you want to clean up the spores, try using a product called Zerotol. It is OMRI approved for certified organic operations. It works by oxidizing the spores
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 4, 2002
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              If you want to clean up the spores, try using a product called Zerotol. It is OMRI approved for certified organic operations. It works by oxidizing the spores and can even be used as a soil drench.
              Chris Sawyer
              www.jakesfarm.com
            • jamie
              Hello again Robin, I find it useful to consider fungal problems as indicating a general problem in the health of my plants, the fungus just doing what it is
              Message 6 of 17 , Sep 4, 2002
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                Hello again Robin, I find it useful to consider fungal problems as
                indicating a general problem in the health of my plants, the fungus just
                doing what it is supposed to do, decompose dying or unhealthy plants. To put
                it more simply it's not the fungus that is the problem. But then I think you
                probably know this already. But thinking like this will help you avoid
                spraying your veg with the copper sulphate that I'm sure is what your local
                viticulters are spraying on their crops. It does indeed work well against
                certain fungal and bacterial attacks such as mildew, however, copper enters
                the soil and then remains there, as the concentration increases through
                respraying it reaches a level of toxicity toward earthworms. Here is some
                more information on copper compounds and their effects on plants (sorry I
                don't have the www address);

                >copper compounds. Copper is a foliar fungicide with protective action.
                Copper compounds can be highly toxic to many fruit crops and must be used
                with extreme care. Copper >sulfate is soluble in water. This high degree of
                solubility is the fundamental cause of toxicity problems, which copper
                sulfate can cause to all fruit crops. Fixed coppers have been >developed
                that are relatively insoluble and therefore less toxic to plants. However,
                fixed coppers can also result in phytotoxicity under certain conditions. The
                fungicidal activity of >copper is based on its ability to destroy proteins
                in plants. This is true for all plants, fungi, and fruit plants. When lime
                is combined with copper compounds, it reacts with the copper
                >making it more stable. Thus, copper compounds in the presence of lime would
                generally produce lower, more uniform concentrations of free copper, which
                in turn would be less apt >to injure plant tissues than if no lime were
                used. Because copper has the ability to kill all types of plant tissue, the
                use of copper fungicides carries with it the risk of causing injury to
                >fruit plants. Ideally, copper on the leaf or fruit surface should be high
                enough to kill the fungus or bacteria but low enough not to cause injury to
                the plant. Factors that can promote >injury include: failure to use enough
                lime; cold, wet weather conditions that apparently increase copper's
                solubility, allowing more into the plant and resulting in toxicity; and
                >application of excessive rates of copper. Even when no injury is evident on
                the plant, subtle effects of the copper on the plant may be occurring. In
                addition, to reduce growth and >yields, it has been shown that the use of
                copper fungicides can reduce the maturity of the fruit as well as that of
                the shoots. Copper fungicides can have subtle, chronic negative >impacts on
                fruit plants. Copper provides low to moderate control of many fungal and
                bacterial diseases. Fixed coppers, plus lime, are safer than Bordeaux. They
                may be used for >leaf curl control on stone fruits and pre- and postharvest
                leaf spot control on tart cherries. Copper compounds should not be applied
                in a postharvest spray without adding lime. If >copper is applied without
                lime, orchards will show toxicity symptoms such as chlorosis (yellowing),
                leaf drop on tart cherries, and necrosis (browning) on sweet cherries. If a
                >copper material is applied without lime and yellowing and leaf drop occur,
                an application of lime within 2 to 3 weeks after the copper application may
                prevent further yellowing and >leaf drop.


                I've used cardboard also this year to inhibit the growth of plants in an
                area I'm now preparing for winter veg. It has certainly worked well,
                allowing minimal 'weeding' before I seed the surface with things like
                spinach, chicory, lettuce etc. I declined the offer of manure earlier this
                year after it being suggested by Emilia that the best way to improve the
                fertility of the soil and keep it in balance was by simply using plants,
                just as happens in nature. I'd think you might very well be able to plant
                much of your land this winter with a cover crop that you could scythe and
                leave as a green mulch on the surface when you plant your veg next spring or
                even interplant amongst a cover crop such as white clover. You might want to
                look at http://www.sare.org/handbook/mccp2/index.htm for a cover crop that
                will suit your climate which, I suspect, is very similar to Southern
                California in this cover crop database (I've just remembered this one also,
                should just be what your looking for as it's aimed specifically at
                California http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/cgi-bin/ccrop.exe). Have a look at
                that earlier discussion on this list (from message 330 the thread is called
                to souscayrous, emilia and all and then Soil Amendments).

                You seem to be taking a patient approach to your land so rather than go in
                spraying, see if you can't ameliorate the worst of your conditions by simply
                following nature's lead by rebuilding the natural fertility of your soil
                through plants. I'm about to build some raised beds for next years crops and
                I intend planting the beds this winter with cover crops to stop erosion,
                keep the soil loose, feed the soil microorganisms and build up plant
                available nutrients. Why not order Emilia's video (which I'm sure she has in
                Spanish and I know she has in English) and we can compare notes on progress
                and keep in contact with Emilia via this group to keep us on the right path.
                Whilst the beds take a little work to build and there is some weeding
                through the first couple of season's, once the beds are established you will
                have the soil in as natural and 'wild' a state as is possible and thus a
                healthy soil that produces nutritious crops that come to resist pests and
                diseases.

                Jamie
                Souscayrous



                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Robin Fernández-Medina <flyingdebris1@...>
                To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, September 04, 2002 11:10 AM
                Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] On Fungus



                Thanks to all those responses on the issue of Fungus. I agree with Jamie and
                others on the result of an imbalanced ecosystem being conducive to fungal
                outbreaks. The land I am currently mulching and cultivating on was and is on
                what has always been an olive tree orchard and almond trees. Both dry
                tolerant. I know the old owner was using foliar sprays and this must have
                impacted the surroundings in ways I can only dread. Since we purchased the
                land two years ago we have done nothing in the line of fertilizing or
                clearing or anything out of choice to see what direction things took. The
                prescence of certain weeds indicated patches of poor soil, and the sun burn,
                drought, salting and mineral deficiency look was apparent. Last year we
                started laying cardboard and manures down on the areas we were preparing to
                grow veggies in the future (which turned out to be this summer). The aphids
                were all over in the beginnig and they thinned out to manageable levels
                alone, but it took a long time to see ladybugs so I am not sure what
                happened there. The plants showed deficiencies and the latest (which was my
                comment on fungus) was the spread of leaf rot and just plants dying and
                noticing that the fungus were clearly invading. I try to limit my watering
                hours and always in summer wet the soil and not the leaves. I am thinking
                that perhaps the close by piles of fresh grass clippings has been the focal
                point of this invasion. Not sure but a hunch. Its the first time I have seen
                dill get decimated in this fashion.
                We have a very dry climate here during our summer months. Borderline drought
                and drought prone areas.
                Either way, I really am just standing by and watcing how all these processes
                unfold during these years as the land continues to go untouched.
                Here on the grape vines we use a blue dust that suppreses rot on the grapes.
                I dont know what its called but the farmers tell me that it is innofensive.
                Is this so? Can I apply it to the area under fungal attacks as a solution?
                I would be intereseted to hear of your comments.
                Regards,
                Robin
              • RobinFernández-Medina
                Hello Jamie, Your email and information are sincerely appreciated. As a student of all these applications, I listen. Thanks for taking the time to elucidate
                Message 7 of 17 , Sep 5, 2002
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                  Hello Jamie,
                  Your email and information are sincerely appreciated. As a student of all these applications, I listen. Thanks for taking the time to elucidate Copper sulphates true colors. As of yet I have not used anything like that. I am really disposed to just say if its going to die, let it die. I like the idea given on this topic to just use the seed of those plants that best handled the fungus onslaught for the next season. I am a real believer in erradicating all pesticides and biocides from agriculture and the world. It makes me quite paranoid as I am sure others. I do my best to spread that word to anyone that listens and of course apply it "in situ" to our way of life. If its going to die, let it die. If you are not going to eat as a result things get more tricky, but eating copper sulphate sounds a little harsh too.
                  Last week I visited an area in the North Mountains of Malaga that is a major producer of raisins. To my surprise these vines spread over all these moutains, up and down ravines, and not a drop of water. The temperature was close to 34� and the solar radiation was impressive. Anyhow what I am getting at is it was all "left alone" as its been done for centuries and every year they get great yields. No sprays or other. Quite a learning trip.
                  Where can I learn of Emilias video etc.? I read some of her work and learned. I also appreciate the relief on our backs!
                  Thanks again for all the input as to all others who contributed to the Fungus conversations. Its a learning curve.
                  Robin



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                • jamie
                  Hello Robin, living in the heartland of the vine and seeing the amount sprayed on the vines here (vinifera not raisin) I find it hard to believe that grapes
                  Message 8 of 17 , Sep 5, 2002
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                    Hello Robin, living in the heartland of the vine and seeing the amount
                    sprayed on the vines here (vinifera not raisin) I find it hard to believe
                    that grapes can be grown without any spraying at all (and also immensely
                    gladdened). The sun and the aridity I can understand, vines are impressive
                    in their ability to withstand poor conditions, how else could they still
                    grow in the practically dead earth around here.


                    The Synergistic Garden Video Tape By Emilia Hazelip
                    Las Encantadas, BP 217, F-11306 Limoux-Cedex, France
                    Tel/Fax 33+46-83-15-111
                    emhaz@...

                    Whilst the initial digging of the raised beds would not appear to initially
                    favour Natural Farming practices, the actual effect of the raised beds is to
                    ensure the fertility of the soil and then maintain it in a wild state. You
                    can see photos of her raised beds and veg on Jim Bones' Seedballs site
                    (http://www.seedballs.com/hazelip.html) and a useful cropping plan for the
                    raised beds over their first three seasons (though being near Malaga you'll
                    need to develop the plan to your semi-tropical climate from its temperate
                    perspective).


                    Jamie
                    Souscayrous


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: Robin Fernández-Medina <flyingdebris1@...>
                    To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 12:15 PM
                    Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] On Fungus




                    Hello Jamie,
                    Your email and information are sincerely appreciated. As a student of all
                    these applications, I listen. Thanks for taking the time to elucidate Copper
                    sulphates true colors. As of yet I have not used anything like that. I am
                    really disposed to just say if its going to die, let it die. I like the idea
                    given on this topic to just use the seed of those plants that best handled
                    the fungus onslaught for the next season. I am a real believer in
                    erradicating all pesticides and biocides from agriculture and the world. It
                    makes me quite paranoid as I am sure others. I do my best to spread that
                    word to anyone that listens and of course apply it "in situ" to our way of
                    life. If its going to die, let it die. If you are not going to eat as a
                    result things get more tricky, but eating copper sulphate sounds a little
                    harsh too.
                    Last week I visited an area in the North Mountains of Malaga that is a major
                    producer of raisins. To my surprise these vines spread over all these
                    moutains, up and down ravines, and not a drop of water. The temperature was
                    close to 34º and the solar radiation was impressive. Anyhow what I am
                    getting at is it was all "left alone" as its been done for centuries and
                    every year they get great yields. No sprays or other. Quite a learning trip.
                    Where can I learn of Emilias video etc.? I read some of her work and
                    learned. I also appreciate the relief on our backs!
                    Thanks again for all the input as to all others who contributed to the
                    Fungus conversations. Its a learning curve.
                    Robin



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