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How to put Microbes back into soil

Posted by little_acorn 5A (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 11:00

I am going Organic and would like to know how to put Microbes back into my soil.

I am also looking at different brewers: I have looked at Vortex Brewer and Keeping it Sample Brewer and they are the 5 gallon ones, and would like to know if anyone has used ether one, and what you think of them?

Since my soil is dead from using chemical fertilizers something needs to be done with it.

I have started last Fall by putting leaf compost on it and spading it in and than I worked it up a week ago and put Organic Fertilizer on, yes a soil test in being done also.

Has any one used Sea Crop on there garden?

Worm Tea or Worm Castings? I am putting three worm beds in by basement with composting worms in them.

Also do you know of some every good books to read on building your soil naturally? I could use all the help I can get.

Where is the best place to get a TOTAL COMPLETE SOIL TEST? I have hear that it will cost around $70.00. Which is the best the Morgan Test or the Reams Test?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Acorn,

First and foremost, DON'T go wasting your money on all these miracle products, they are unnecessary! Your soil is not "dead" from the synthetic fertilizers, it is just damaged.. Don't go buying into all these products, your getting fooled out of your wallet!

The best thing to add to your soil:

-Compost(make yourself,etc)
-plant matter(cover crops/green manures)
-mulch(again plant matter, leaves,etc)
-get a carbon water filter and filter the chlorine
-compost tea(make yourself, simple 5 gallon bucket($3), a water pump($10) and some compost(free?, but is really priceless!) simple as that..
- did I say compost? Compost,Compost,compost

I would just keep adding compost, planting cover crops/green manures, an continue mulching.. That's the best way for your soil, as well as your wallet! Please don't get foole an buy all these products, it's unneccesary!

Contact our local Agriculture extension for the soil test,etc...

Good luck,
Joe


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

This is one of my favorite gardening movies! Watch it, you'll gain great insight!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sustainable Organic Gardening


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

I agree with Joe. In Florida a complete soil test is only 7 bucks. The hort agent will explain the results to you for free. They were hard to understand. Kitchen scraps help, too and weeds that haven't gone to seed. Worm castings are excellent! I repotted my 4 inch tomatoes into 1 gallon pots with just a small amount of worm castings. They are growing like crazy.


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Your soil is almost certainly not dead by using chemical fertilizers...the only thing that will usually kill (or rather, lessen effectiveness) a healthy microbe population is not enough organic matter in your soil (less than 2%), a very low pH, or high salinity.

That said, a compost/worm/kelp/manure/etc tea can replenish microbe populations as long as there's some OM for it to feast on.

Microbes, as far as plants go, really only help break down immobilized nutrients into mineralized nutrients. It's an important role, but it's not the most important thing going on in your soil. They can help play a role in improved structure via this action, but unless you have 5%-ish OM in there for the microbes to go to work on, there's going to be little structural benefit from the microbes.


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Joe The Garden of Eden was very interesting and it gave me some very good information that I can do even if I already planted my onions.

I can go get a pick-up of compost and put it on my 15' X 15' garden and than when I plant the rest of my garden go get a load of wood much and put on it.

How deep should I go with the compost and much?

How about putting some Sea Crop on it also?


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Good ol' Back To Eden...because waiting years for wood chips to break down underground rather than speeding it up 1/2 or less time in a separate pile then adding it is too simple to pass up.

Somehow removing your top soil and digging a hole in the ground to add wood chips is good, but tilling is the worst thing ever...somehow.

Touring his many many many years old and already broken down components garden vs most people's "BTE" gardens is a night/day experience. He's already had a chance to overcome his years of suppressed/non-ideal growing period. He seems to not want to bring this up to people, though.


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Why not just put compost on 3 inches deep and than put 3 inches of fine wood chips on top?

Than in the Fall put on another 4 to 5 inches of leaf compost along with another 4 to 5 inches of compost and another 4 or 5 inches of fine wood chips?


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Even if the level of organic matter in your soil is below 1 percent there will be some soil biology working there and increasing the level of organic matter is what is necessary to increase the soil biology, Spending your money on stuff that is supposed to increase the microbes in your soil without providing a habitat hey can live in is a waste of your money, time, and energy.
Wood chips, ala the Back to Eden video, will, eventually, get the level of soil organic matter and the soil microbes up to par but that can take several years. Increase the amount of organic matter in your soil and the soil microbes, the Soil Food Web, will grow and prosper as will your plants growing in that soil.
Perhaps these simple soil tests will be of some help,
1) Soil test for organic matter. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. For example, a good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains’ too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

and perhaps the link to this Soil Biology Primer will be of some use.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Biology Primer


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Joe The Garden of Eden was very interesting and it gave me some very good information that I can do even if I already planted my onions.
I can go get a pick-up of compost and put it on my 15' X 15' garden and than when I plant the rest of my garden go get a load of wood much and put on it.

Sounds good.. You really can't have to much compost, then a layer of mulch(leaves,compost,woodchips,whatever..)

As mentioned, I would make a compost pile so you will have compost sooner.. However, I would still lay down mulch, as Kismer stated, you need a habitat for the life in the soil, mulch is a good start..

Somehow removing your top soil and digging a hole in the ground to add wood chips is good, but tilling is the worst thing ever...somehow"

Where do you get this from? I understand I am no fond of tilling, but digging holes and adding wood chips, what?

"Touring his many many many years old and already broken down components garden vs most people's "BTE" gardens is a night/day experience. He's already had a chance to overcome his years of suppressed/non-ideal growing period. He seems to not want to bring this up to people, though."

I bet you wish your garden like his, huh? How many years you been gardening in your same lot NC? You have to thin root crops to get good yields, right? This man doesn't thin anything, he has huge beats pushing eachother away with his fertile soil.. He doesn't even water or fertilize, It's amazing.. It doesn't take ice ages like you say.. You don't have to do exactly what he does.. Do the best of both worlds.. Make a compost pile, speed up the process, grow cover crops, etc.. It dont take as long as you think...

Acorn:

I would do the best of all worlds... Make a huge compost pile and speedup the process ten fold.. At the same time, lay down mulch and make a nic habitat for life in the soil.. Grow green manure/cover crops.. Add that back to your soil... Get any free local resources you could, keep an eye out for free conpost from the city, manure from a farmer,etc... Get a quality soil test and get an idea where you stand... There's no right and wrong way... It's best to implement everyones great ideas and have the best of all worlds.. Do what you think you should.. Your intuition is the best key...

Best of luck gardening,
Joe


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

"I bet you wish your garden like his, huh? How many years you been gardening in your same lot NC? You have to thin root crops to get good yields, right? This man doesn't thin anything, he has huge beats pushing eachother away with his fertile soil.. "

I'm sorry you're butt hurt...and that you assume his garden is better than mine...for some reason...other than you want so badly for it to be true.

So, to defend myself...and my advice...which seems to be untrue, unfounded, and useless to you...

*clears throat*

I don't need my garden like his because my soil and garden production is near ideal for the things I grow. I harvest heavy and often with minimal inputs. I carry a drifting 6.5-7.0 pH, 5-6% OM, loamy clay production area that kicks ass. I mulch with 3" of straw and my water/nutrient use is a lot less than many others in my area.

If I started a garden here in my area like he suggests I would have 3+ years waiting for most wood chips to break down into soil. FACT. I've seen it in other people's gardens and besides it's predictable and known behavior of wood breakdown in our local soils. If you go 200 miles south, it takes about 2 years...if you go about 120-150 miles East it can be done in about a year because of high moisture/sandy-loam conditions. None of this ever enters into your suggestions...everywhere on this planet is the same conditions and nature will "make it awesome" in a matter of months...no problem...it's all good.

This isn't a good amendment route in my area...or many areas...unless you have years to wait for this amendment to actually happen. Even then most woods contain ALMOST NO available N content except the very small amount found in woods like yellow birch, pin cherry, and beech...and we're talking about 1-2% N content even in those cases.

Speaking of...you can't even differentiate between wood chip sources. It's all the same to you based on your many "help" threads on this subject. At least I can tell you how long a yellow birch wood chip source will take to break down vs a pine wood source. Watch out, this involves science, something you're not a fan of. Cellulose and lignin content have predictable and known breakdown variables depending on environmental conditions (heat/moisture/oxygen). I know, you're plugging your ears and eyes up trying not to learn some lamestream media, Illuminati, science tested brain-washed information...but try to press on with the lesson. Heck, let's cut to the chase...yellow birch breaks down about 2.5x faster.

Your mistrust or total dismissing of known science is occasionally dangerous to others...we're not even talking about controversial subjects here.

You can't just go treating every soil and every environment on this planet as if we're all in the same area, but that won't keep you from handing out your "I'm just trying to help"/"good intentions" advice and calling out others when it's questioned...even to the point of insisting someone else's garden is better than my garden...which you know nothing about...except you really want it to be worse so you can prove some kind of point to yourself.

Lame move calling out a garden you know nothing about in order to try to prove yourself right, guy.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Wed, Apr 17, 13 at 1:32


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

we're not even talking about controversial subjects her"

You sure make it out to be that way.. You seem to have the same misunderstanding about me, as I do about your garden.. You have no clue what I'm even about, but your guessing from my previous posts in other threads that I am against everything "modern" "science" "government" .. As you said there is no controversy here, well of course there always is.. Quite wasting your time chattering to me, help the original poster out... Spend your time positively, there's no reason to becker about little trivial nonsense... Your garden is much better than His garden, and mine put together, is that better? Don't waste your time typing me a lengthy response, help someone that has a question, like the original poster.

Happy gardening,
Joe


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

There is no "misunderstanding"...

This isn't the first thread you've been in...and it's not the first time you've given off-the-cuff advice while dismissing other's counter-points to your advice...especially if they back it up with science. Your talk in other threads about how people "over think" stuff and how we should "look to nature" are 2 incorrect assumptions in that 1- you can't over think stuff that can be (and has been) studied and 2- NATURE IS GIVING US THESE ANSWERS.

What you don't get is I'm trying to help the original poster. Hell, I've already chimed in on the subject independent of you...but when I dared question BTE as a solution, then things got all weird.

Adding wood chips to "make soil" will do nothing for him/her unless they have years to wait. You, for some reason, believe this is false even though there's reams of science that says otherwise...heck, there's plenty of "real world" that says otherwise, too. There is no immediate remediation via this process...and there's a lot of ways to do it quicker. Your glorified/worshiped advanced mulching technique isn't as quickly turned into soil as you think for most of the US (or the world). You treat so many issues as if the whole world lives in your front and back yard...and you're not very open to anyone telling you that things aren't the same as your front and back yard.

Also, the nitrogen content of various woods is KNOWN...the breakdown of wood in various environmental conditions is KNOWN...your hunches and good intentions cannot conquer nature.


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Boy oh boy oh boy.. Go argue with Paul, the one who inventing the BTE method. I could tell you were mad i even advised him to watch the video..I am advising him to compost to speed up the process,etc.. As I said take the best of all worlds and do what you feels best. Glorified worship, what? Im sorry if you're having a bad day or I upset you telling you someone has a better garden then you.. I have to watch what I say, these gardenweb gardeners are going to off me. There's much more to life than science and your intelligence, get off your high horse and let loose, have some fun! I can
feel the tension just from your posts, guy. I'm sorry, I'll make sure I don't give anyone anymore advice, hopefully now you can sleep sound?


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Yes, one can tell by the counter-arguments based on known science that I'm sharing as well as the further explanation of wood sources and their N availability that my rage cannot be contained.

You telling me that my garden can't be as good as some other dude's (which you repeated once again in your last rant while knowing nothing about my garden) and that I'm mad+tense are great counter-argument to my points that will help many people.

This is not the first "raw vs the world" post on GW where points brought up are met with baseless comparisons and outright dismissal of known issues with something you champion.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Wed, Apr 17, 13 at 3:06


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

I have read your post and found it as a misunderstanding between both of you.

Yes since tells allot and doing tells allot.

I have found that what works for one person may not work for the other person.

So I am going to try Joe's method and see what takes place, it cannot hurt any thing the only thing it can do is improve my soil.

Seeing the improvement that Joe has is very amazing. I am sure that it did not happen over night, like everything else it takes time and by adding compost , leaf compost and wood chips will do allot to my soil. Like I have ask do you feel 4 inches of each is to much?


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

"So I am going to try Joe's method and see what takes place, it cannot hurt any thing the only thing it can do is improve my soil."

My point is that it isn't harmful...in the long term...and will do little to nothing harmful in the short term...but in the short term it will also do little to nothing beneficial except for the mulching benefits on water use and soil retention of added water/nutrients (which is true of any properly applied mulch).

All along all I've been saying is it's nice if you have the time to burn waiting for it to become part of your soil structure. Once it breaks down (years for most areas) it will take even longer for it to move down in your soil profile past the first couple of inches. It doesn't just sit there on top while it's breaking down, either...some chips will infiltrate the first couple inches of your soil unless you have some very large grained sandy soil which can physically impede it's movement. In "heaving clays" it can move well more than a few inches before it's broken down and well incorporate it in the soil, slowing it's breakdown even longer.

The BTE dude has had MANY years to build up all of his soil with his method, plus he dumps a lot of fish emulsion on his crops to get his results. Nature doesn't chop up trees and apply them in 3-5" layers every year...BTE dude's method of "do like nature does" is just a man-provided, slow-composting mulch method that can be quickly sped up in a separate pile using ideal wood sources and a mixture of healthy composting additions.

It's not BTE that I have a problem with as much as it being advertised by some as a quick solution to garden issues. Unless that issue is structure, and you have time to burn...it's not much of a solution to immediate issues. Even if you use a BTE method, the type of wood you source for your mulch is going to play a role in the time it takes for the mulch to break down and become soil....and even then it's going to take time for roots/worms/water/etc to move that OM down into deeper soil profiles. Compost (or already composted wood chips) is much faster if time to remediate is an issue...and generally of greater nutrient content since it has a variety of source material.

Aside from that, it won't do much for microbial action in the soil...except the microbes sitting on the soil surface trying to break down wood chips...until it's composted to a size that can move deeper into the soil profile.

Also as an aside, the BTE guy dumps a lot of fish emulsion into his garden and could probably apply less if he had a greater clay portion in his extremely fluffy soil to actually hold more of the nutrients he's adding to it. While OM provides a a variety nutrients on it's own while it's breaking down in it's smaller state, it's not known for good nutrient holding capability once it's broken down.

It has a place...but it's place and concerns are ease of use + time in order to build OM in the soil + micronutrient and small amounts of P/K. Depending on the wood source you may not be adding much N and at best you're looking at 1-2% of content added. There's a lot of wood sources that have N content so small it's not even reported as part of it's makeup (less than 0.5%).

There's a lot of known things about source materials that can help people out. Heck, while yellow birch is a near ideal wood for quick breakdown thanks to it's low lignin and cellulose content, it's leaves are the opposite thanks to their high lignin and cellulose content. If one assumes that because the wood breaks down fast, the leaves must also break down fast...it's just not the case. Using this known and proven knowledge you can build a profile for potential uses that nature provides us in order to properly use these resources in a manner that best fits man's timetable.


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

So I am going to try Joe's method and see what takes place, it cannot hurt any thing the only thing it can do is improve my soil."

Let's get this straight, back to Eden is not my method,it is Paul G, the man in the video.. In fact, I don't even put wood chips on my garden! I use leaves and winter rye straw(cover crop).. I was simply advising you to watch the video to get insight and ideas.. I actually brings half a foot of compost in for my garden, I don't wait for nature to do it.. But I do mulch heavily, and I believe that was the whole key to the back to Eden method.. I compost lots of stuff and I make humus in monthes, not years.. I also apply compost tea(concentrates microorganisms) to break down the mulch quicker.. I only have a thousand or so square feet of garden, Paul has acres... It's a much different story...

Four inches of each should be ok.. I would personally do 5-6 inches compost, 2-3 inches mulch.. I bring in lots of compost for my garden.. the key is to have a healthy soil foodweb.. There are more than a few ways to obtain healthy soil.. Compost, and mulch is what I do.. I would not call it "Joes method" who am I? I only been gardening some years.. Compost and mulch been used since the dawn of nature...


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

My next question is , if I already planted two rows on onions would you still put 5 or 6 inches of compost on the rest of the garden or would you put it over the onions also?

Than put much on top of that?

Has any one used Sea Crop on there garden? SEA-CROP® produced by Ambrosia Technology LLC

I would like to have the best garden I have ever had this year. Yes I do know it all takes time to have a garden like Joe and Paul has. But it can take place in the starting stages. Right.?


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

My next question is , if I already planted two rows on onions would you still put 5 or 6 inches of compost on the rest of the garden or would you put it over the onions also?"

Just over the bare garden, you could mulch the onions with compost but keep it away from the base of the plants stem, it could lead to rot,etc.. If you pile up compost/mulch around any plants stem, it will eventually lead to rot.. Just throw some compost down, plant your plants, and mulch.. Keep the mulch a inch or away from the stems, it can lead to problems..

""Has any one used Sea Crop on there garden? SEA-CROP® produced by Ambrosia Technology LLC""
Haven't used it but it seems pretty good, and expensive! It reminds me of azomite... They are great products, but you dont neccesarily need them.. Personally I would rather pick up another yard or two of high quality topsoil/compost then pay for a gallon of concentrated seawater.. Catch your own fish, make fish emulsion/compost.. Hard woodash(campfire) has some trace minerals and other elements in it, just use a very small amount, it has a liming effect.. Use that money to buy cover crops,etc.. Don't be fooled out your money, there are plenty of cheap,superior ways to improve your garden.

"I would like to have the best garden I have ever had this year. Yes I do know it all takes time to have a garden like Joe and Paul has. But it can take place in the starting stages. Right.?"

You never seen my garden, how do you know if it's good or bad? NC garden is probably better then mine, seriously..

Acorn, if there was few things I would do to improve your soil it would be;

-quality compost
-mulch
-never keep your soil bare
-grow a green manure/cover crop
-use rainwater, or get a chlorine filter
-research research research

Remember the soil is what grows your plant, Grow your soil not the plant. The base of your gardening success starts at the soil., It takes time but if you apply enough compost initially, you will have good results, and it will continue to improve year after year after year..

Best of luck,
Joe


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

I am getting too old to be turning compost piles.
I am trying to find a way to let nature do most of this work for me.
So I do compost my woods chips by spraying honey water in layers as I pile them up.
Then I do not need to turn them or dig a hole to bury them.
In around 4-6 months they are good enough for mulch.
After a year of serving as mulch, they are good enough to work into the soil.
The softer materials I just spray a little honey water on it and work it directly into the soil.
Direct composting is pretty fast that way and I get broader bio-activity.
From everything I have read, a compost pile tends to be mostly bacterial,
with just a few thermophilic fungus.
Direct composting the soft stuff encourages the saprophytic phase of all
my mycorrhizal fungus.
It also encourages a broader range of life in my soil so it stays aerated.
I am doing less work.
And my soil has more life.
When I used to compost everything, by the time I worked the material into the
soil, there was not much left for the other life forms.
And I grow a lot of things that encourage a broad range and high numbers of microbes,
such as leek, sorghum, barley, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden For Nutrition

This post was edited by GreeneGarden on Sat, Apr 20, 13 at 10:47


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

From everything I have read, a compost pile tends to be mostly bacterial,
with just a few thermophilic fungus.
Direct composting the soft stuff encourages the saprophytic phase of all
my mycorrhizal fungus.
It also encourages a broader range of life in my soil so it stays aerated.
I am doing less work.
And my soil has more life. "

You hit the nail on the head my friend! Although there is ways to Have a dominant fungus population in compost(not heating/turning), most compost are higher in bacteria.. Mulch is one of the things that really wake up the life in the soil..


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

"Nature doesn't chop up trees and apply them in 3-5" layers every year"

Thanks, NC! I have meant to point that out so many times and gotten distracted by trying to correct other misunderstandings. This persistent idea that sticking strictly with organic mulches is imitating nature is of course quite inane. The primary misunderstanding is that nature does not intentionally concentrate food-production suitable for human consumption into some little area, or if she does it's a great rarity, like a trout run, or a piece of bottomland in berry season, that sort of thing. Even so, it's seasonally brief whereas we gardeners are attempting to have crops available most of the year.

In that millennial effort, we have created a marvelous host of human-manipulated plants and many proven and sustainable techniques for creating artificial conditions to stimulate the growth of those particular crops. There is nothing "natural" about it. It is distinctly human, just as is building a machine called a wood-chipper and making big piles of chips to be given away free, or maintaining hay-fields and making hay with big machines so that one can buy a bale for a few dollars to use as mulch.


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

"Nature doesn't chop up trees and apply them in 3-5" layers every year"

No but she does drop hundreds if thousands if dead, decaying trees everyyear.. She also drops tons of leaves everyyear.. Leaves is what I personally prefer, it's what nature uses after all.. To say it is stupid to imitate natures mulch, is ridiculous, it's beyond me.. Go use some inert mulch that does very little for the soil, and tell me that using organic mulch is insane? I think we already covered one thing, it is inane to wait years for nature to work her course, it would be greatly beneficial to speed up that process.. I think we could all agree that having a complete purists "caveman" theory of plant production is not going to get us to far as well..

The primary misunderstanding is that nature does not intentionally concentrate food-production suitable for human consumption into some little area"

No, she concentrates plant/life production into the whole world, in every city, every continent. You could say the earth is small, thinking about the whole of creation, that's another discussion... Nature does concentrate food production across the majority of all land.. I would say that half the plants you see around you are edible.. But, as we all know, we are doing somewhat of a different thing, we are trying to get the most food out of a very very small space, i think that is your main point.. Your correct is it completely unnatural.. Well so it growing figs in Ohio, we still do it, unnatural circumstances call for unnatural measures.. Gardeners hav so much success, and have the ability to garden year round, because they concentrated nature, and created a very strong ecosystem.. We are taking what would take years, even decades in nature and condensing it in monthes.. It might not be so pure and natural, but who said anything is wrong with that, i sure didn't.

Joe


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

"But, as we all know, we are doing somewhat of a different thing, we are trying to get the most food out of a very very small space, i think that is your main point.. Your correct is it completely unnatural.. "

Why all the preliminary disagreeing if in the end you agree with my point?

Regarding the "natural" mulch:

Neither leaves and dead branches and so on that fall in a forest over years and decades are comparable to chipping live trees and shrubs with giant machines and then laying down the chips in large amounts all at once. That is the kind of un-natural 'concentration' that I am talking about. Combine doing that for a number of years combined with more concentrations of energy like adding fish emulsion or seaweed emulsion and you have a situation no different form other types of intensive gardening.

So we aren't claiming that the "Back to Eden" method featured in the video you referenced (and which has been storming around the internet for quite a while) is inferior (or superior) to other intensive non-chem methods, we are simply pointing out that the persistent claim that the method is a breakthrough of some sort, some discovery of nature's laws, is hyperbole.


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

"From everything I have read, a compost pile tends to be mostly bacterial, with just a few thermophilic fungus."

It depends on your source material and the pH ranges that are breaking it down until it hits a more neutral stage.

Generally, you'll find more fungal activity in a lower pH source material and more bacterial activity in a higher pH source material. It's not a huge swing to an extreme, though. Both are acting on the compost. It's not an either/or unless the pH is at extremes, like 8.5+ or below 5.5 (which is highly unlikely given good source materials).

Also, thermophilic fungi are not the only players in a compost pile...the high-heat surviving fungi rarely get a chance to set up a huge population unless you don't turn your pile. There's a lot of non-center rot going on.

You will rarely see huge strings of visible fungal growth because you're constantly turning/disturbing the pile, but it's still there doing it's thing.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 16:25


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Why all the preliminary disagreeing if in the end you agree with my point"

There was not any disagreement.. Nc was saying something smart about the back to Eden method, and I said something smart to him, that's what starting the agrument..


Neither leaves and dead branches and so on that fall in a forest over years and decades are comparable to chipping live trees and shrubs with giant machines and then laying down the chips in large amounts all at once. That is the kind of un-natural 'concentration' that I am talking about"

Who said it was? I dont understand why you guys are looking at me - I simply was advising someone to watch the ideo to give insight.. To close the case I don't even use wood chips! I don't even use wod chips, get a laugh out that one! I use what the rest of nature does, leaves.


So we aren't claiming that the "Back to Eden" method featured in the video you referenced (and which has been storming around the internet for quite a while) is inferior (or superior) to other intensive non-chem methods, we are simply pointing out that the persistent claim that the method is a breakthrough of some sort, some discovery of nature's laws, is hyperbole"

I am in no way affiliate with Paul or back to Eden.. It does not offend me.. I don't even do the back to Eden method.. I like his point of views, and I will defend some of his thoughts, buts that about as far as that goes.. Who said it was backthrough?? I never heard anyone saying that.. Nature been mulching for eons.

"Combine doing that for a number of years combined with more concentrations of energy like adding fish emulsion or seaweed emulsion and you have a situation no different form other types of intensive gardening"


This is exactly where I'm coming from! Us "gardeners" are all doing the same thing growing plants.. We want compost, rich soil, and maximum production, simply put, we want a healthy garden. Wether you till your soil and amend that year after year to get a healthy garden.. Whether you never till your garden and wait years for nature to take place. Whether you bring in thousands of pounds on compost and speed up the natural process by decades.. We are all doing the same thing in the long run, trying to get a healthy garden.. There are hundreds of ways to have a truly healthy garden.. We could debate for decades and there would still be people gardening hundreds of different ways... We could debate about what's best and most productive, less polluting,etc,etc,etc, in the end there are still hundreds of ways! Everyone on of them ways will lead to a healthy garden.. If you step back, you will realize, even though we stand apart, we are really all on the same boat... We are all striving for a healthy garden, we all could use a different method to get there.. We all our on the same exact boat in the long run, we really all strive for the same thing..


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

You will rarely see huge strings of visible fungal growth because you're constantly turning/disturbing the pile, but it's still there doing it's thing."

Are you sure the fungus/mycelium is really still there doing "it's thing"? I grow mushrooms and I'll tell you, if I turned my spawn(mycelium) I would literally ruin/kill the whole batch.. I understand it's a different environment, but mycelium is very delicate.. I have multiple compost piles, one I never turn, just so I can make sure I have variation...


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Yes, I'm sure.

Mushrooms are only reproductive masses. There's more to the fungal world than spreading thick masses of string-like structures in the soil and producing spore spreading mechanisms.

There's a lot of cellulose/lignin rotting fungi that you'll rarely see with your naked eye unless they're in an extremely ideal environment...some brown and soft rots, for instance. Even some white rots only look like a coating of dust on organic matter. They're all doing their thing and releasing breakdown enzymes.

We're surrounded by fungal spores looking to inoculate sources all around us in most environments, whether we purposely culture them into something or not.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 0:25


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Interesting.. I have to read "mycelium running, paul Stamets".. It's all about fungi and the environment.. It's amazing how much a little fungus can do.. Unfortunately, the closest some people get to learning about fungi is athletes foot.. It's sad how unaware people are..

We are here debating about growing food, when the majority of people don't even know how to grow grass.. We are all birds of the same feather, we should spend a portion of our energy getting more people aware of food production..


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

Those soft powdery "rots" predominate on woody materials in central florida that come in contact with the dry excessively-drained ground, in my gardens there. I have bark and wood chips that have been in the "soil" for five years or more and are still mostly not broken down. When one walks around in the dry-land woods there one sees immense mats of lichens and moss on the ground under shrubs and trees, feeding on the dropped twigs and branches and leaves. There is almost no bacterial decay action of carbonaceous materials in that environment unless one can achieve extremely large piles with sufficient moisture to stimulate thermophyllic microbes. That scale requires machines, of course.

Conversely, the "muck" soils of florida are the result of centuries of anaerobic bacterial action on carbonaceous materials in saturated pockets underlain by poorly drained substrate. Human activity in the form of draining wetlands makes this material dry enough to grow crops and also rapidly burns up the organic material.

It's in fragile environments like those that the basic mechanisms are more apparent.


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

I refuse to argue. All I can do is offer my own observation through ignorance and learned 'skill.'
I have read Pn browns, Nc's, and raw nature's look at 'wood chips.' I also respect and admire each of their opinions. All are intelligent posts that consider thought and do help me to go forward.
With that in mind, and not looking to start any argument,
I use Pine Bark (not inner wood peeps, the bark) raw; in my soiless mix, with fantastic results. To each his own, but my solanaceae plants thrive on it. The next time I am repotting I will post a picture of the hairy, white new growth roots that attach to the buried pine bark chips. My plants thoroughly love the stuff. I am not talking about breaking down, I actually think the plant itself is breaking it down and loving every minute of it. (pine BARK)
edit: spelling

This post was edited by MsMorningSong on Wed, Jun 18, 14 at 15:18


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RE: How to put Microbes back into soil

duplicate, sorry

This post was edited by MsMorningSong on Wed, Jun 18, 14 at 15:09


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