Adding Mycorrhizae and/or Actinovate to my EarthTainers

Athenian(USDA 10B/Sunset 22)May 29, 2012

How exactly should I add either (or both?) of these products to my EarthTainer? Was I supposed to add them before planting? Can I add them to the water resevoir or should I mix up a gallon and pour some down the planting slits?

I have found a local source for the Actinovate but I haven't yet found a water soluble Mycorrhizae locally and shipping for this stuff is rather steep.

I hope these products work; my EarthTainer vegetables are on their way to becoming the most expensive produce in town.

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howelbama(7 NJ)

Athenian, I'm not sure you should bother with them in a container. You will probably get tons of mixed opinions, mine included, but organics are tough to pull off in a container as the good bacteria/fungus can quickly die off and get taken over by the bad stuff. A good well balanced synthetic feet will give you great results. As far as synthetics go, it's the herbicides and pesticides that harm you, not the ferts, so dont be afraid to use them... It's over use of synthetic ferts in agricultural practices that harms the environment by destroying the soil life over time. In a container this is not an issue. I'm sure some of the swc growers in this forum can give you good advice on what ferts to use and how and when to use them... But I really don't think the mycorrhizae or actinovate will be of much benefit in an earth trainer.,.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:21AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

It only takes your money, does no damage to the environment. If it makes you feel better, and convinces you that you have done all you can to make your vegetables the best, go ahead. I am assuming you can afford it. Al

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:34AM
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"water soluble Mycorrhizae"

just use the granular and add it to the planting hole.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:43AM
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Athenian(USDA 10B/Sunset 22)

I can't really add it to the planting hole at this point since the plants are pretty well established so I took the tablets I bought (cheapest option available) and poked them in around the plants. As Al says, it can't hurt and it makes me feel that at least I tried everything I could for my peppers and cucumbers.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:19PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I don;t know how much benefit they will be in a container, but I think they can live in there. A couple years ago I would have been more skeptical, but I grew some pawpaw trees from seed in 3 liter clear plastic soda bottles, using the 5-1-1- mix. By the end of the sumer, a few of them had obvious mycelia in the mix, and some mushrooms appeared.


Here is a link that might be useful: my previous post on this

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:20PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

I'm not sure why you think mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria wouldn't work in containers? Most beneficial organisms stay very close to the roots of plants (if they feed off exudates and are "associative") or directly colonize the roots or the internals of the plant itself (endo & ecto bacteria). So long as there are sources of carbon available (peat, bark, root exudates are all high C sources) along with some gasses and water then the bacteria will survive and flourish.

"bad stuff" will only takeover insofar as they are better colonizers than the beneficial microbes. Many beneficial microbes are selected based on their ability to colonize aggressively. Quite a few of the products work merely by colonizing the limited number of sites on a plant which prevents the bad guys from operating. It's not so much that they actively engage in good behavior (though some do), as it is that they prevent bad behavior. Check the EPA spec sheets on GBO3 and QST-713.

Insofar as you believe that beneficial microbes are effective at all (and they are if you are careful about what you are trying to prevent and select appropriate strains) - then the microbes will work in containers.

They will work significantly less well in containers with limited sources of available carbon (eg gritty mix). The gritty mix does have a carbon source but in terms of available surface area for the microbes to feast upon it is far less efficient in terms of keeping microbes alive than something like the 5-1-1. The microbes near the vast majority of roots in the gritty mix will rely solely on root exudates and some plants are better than others in that situation.

This is just based on my recent reading with respect to beneficial microbes. Maybe Al has something to say about microbes in the gritty mix... what I'm learning is that they will have a tough time operating efficiently without supplemental carbon sources from something like sugar or humic acid or etc.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 1:18AM
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My own trials over the last 2 years with organics (and previously synthetics) in containers have found that a mix from "forest floor mulch" has produced the best results from anything I've tried: organic or synthetic.

It's a spongy mix that occupies about 3" on the top of the ground under some pine trees on my property.

It is filled with mycorrhizae, which I believe is one of the reasons the mix works so well.

Interestingly, the surprising benefits (no transplant shock wilt) and strong stocky growth, were only seen with a 100% forest floor mulch mix. When I mixed the mulch in with compost or leaves, the plants still did well, just not as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Transplant shock

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 3:29PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

I use Actinovate along with Great White myco at planting time. Added in 1/2 Cup of 15-0-0 Bat Guano this year:

Barlow Jap, Gary'O Sena 62 days after plant-out. 76 inches tall as of today.

I wouldn't be without both Actinovate and Great White for a moment:

Not a yellow leaf in sight as of June 1.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 6:14PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Raybo do you know what's inside Great White or Orca? I can't find the specific strains listed anywhere on their site (which makes me leery about their effectiveness - your particular experience notwithstanding). The science on beneficial microbes indicates that they are not one size fits all and I wouldn't buy anything that says "mycorrhizae" or "beneficial bacteria" without knowing exactly what they are.

Several beneficial bacteria are beneficial on tomatoes and pathogenic on other crops. I have no idea why they wouldn't list what's inside - any microbiologist worth a darn would be able to replicate any of these formulations without difficulty (in other words: it can't be for trade secret reasons).

Emgardener: depending on the makeup of your forest mulch it is possible that the leaves and compost were too high in carbon. If you give microbes large sources of carbon they will temporarily lock out major nutrients (mostly N, some P) until they consume the available C, die, and then release the major nutrients back into the soil. The general rule seems to be that anything above a 30:1 C:N ratio will give you a microbe explosion and nutrient lockout. See, for example,

Depending on what is in the forest floor mix it's also possible that you had *more* carbon than the average mix (how broken down is it?), had a huge microbe explosion reducing growth up-front but offering some protection from pathogens and nitrogen fixing from bacteria, then had a burst of growth later as the nutrients were released. If the plant survives the lockout and N2 is fixed in the meantime then overall you gain more nutrients and the plants would perform better.

Course... there's CEC, water, etc so maybe it had nothing to do with C and microbes..

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Athenian(USDA 10B/Sunset 22)

I'm hoping to have a late summer/early fall crop to supplement the huge tomato crop we'll get from the in-ground plants in July. This weekend I will be planting 2 tomatoes in another EarthTainer will add a tablet to each planting hole then follow that with an Actinovate drench mid-month.

It's all about discovering what works...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:28PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

Here is a listing of Great White Endo and Ecto ingredients:

Pisolithus tinctorius - 112,500 spores per cc
Rhizopogon luteolus - 3,125 spores per cc
Rhizopogon fulvigleba - 3,125 spores per cc
Rhizopogon villosulus - 3,125 spores per cc
Rhizopogon amylopogon - 3,125 spores per cc
Scleroderma citrinum - 3,125 spores per cc
Scleroderma cepa - 3,125 spores per cc
Glomus aggregatum - 13 spores per cc
Glomus intraradices - 13 spores per cc
Glomus mosseae - 13 spores per cc
Glomus etunicatum - 13 spores per cc
Glomus clarum - 3 spores per cc
Glomus monosporum - 3 spores per cc
Glomus brasilianum - 3 spores per cc
Glomus margarita - 3 spores per cc
Bacillus subtilis - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Bacillus licheniformis - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Bacillus azotoformans - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Bacillus megaterium - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Bacillus coagulans - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Bacillus pumilus - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Paenibacillus polymyxa - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Streptomyces griseus - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Streptomyces lydicus - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Pseudomonas aureofaciens - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Pseudomonas florescence - 269,786 CFUs per cc
Trichoderma konigii - 93,750 spores per cc
Trichoderma harzianum - 93,750 spores per cc

It is my understanding that only the Endo strains are of any value to vegetable growth. Seems like a pretty comprehensive product.


Here is a link that might be useful: List of Ingredients

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 11:25PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

oOoOoo - Hadn't seen the Oregon site before. Their registration process looks great (for consumers).

Off to investigate a host of microbial products that were being coy about their contents... thanks Raybo!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 11:52PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)


Your mater's look amazing :)

That is

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:55PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Correction, that's Raybo... Not Raybo's

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:57PM
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I live in the Nematode capital of the world. We have warm sandy soil and all the other necessities to keep nematodes very happy. I have never been able (in 7 years) to get more than a handful of tomatoes from a plant before the dreaded creeping of brown leaves got to the top of plants.

Last Fall I bought 2 Ozs of Actinovate. This year I have rows of okra, silver queen corn, over fifty tomato plants, mucho peppers, and so much more. I'm at the point of visiting neighbors with care packages. Actinovate is WONDERFUL!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Are you saying it kills nematodes? That's not its purpose. It's a fungicide.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 5:08PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

And how are the nematodes getting into the containers?


    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Yea. Also, adding those only is needed if you fertilizer program is organic. You are adding these to convert organic material into inorganic nutrients. By the time the microorganisms turn the organic matter into inorganic nutrients, it is the same thing as just using inorganic fertilizer. Tapla talks about this in the container forum-plants cant tell the difference from synthetic or organic fertilizer.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 3:37PM
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