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Dr. Elaine Ingham - Soil food web 5 éve 9 hónapja #9426

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Reply to second part of #9405
What is a soil food web friendly way of making the soil acid for blueberries?
Do I need to care with it at all? A healthy food web won't alter the soil's PH to the right level "spontaneously"? (So I only have to care to bring back the full set of organisms)
Balance of fungi to bacteria control soil pH. And since it is the plant exudates that directly influence what and how much fungi versus bacteria are growing, then the plant is really in control of the pH around their roots.

Let's back up a second though and think this through. Typically when soils people collect soil from a field, or from a place they want to sample, they pay no attention to whether the soil they are collecting is from a bare patch of the field, from a weedy patch, from next to a tree, or next to the grass. They mix together the soil cores they gather from all those places. When you consider that trees require more ammonium around their roots to stay healthy (books have been written on why ammonium is better for trees), and thus the soil has to be on the acid side of neutral, while grasses need a balanced ammonium and nitrate for their N sources, and dryland weeds tend to require strictly nitrate in the soil, which means alkaline conditions in order that nitrate can be produced by nitrifying bacteria, you can see why sampling randomly from the soil in a field may end up with nonsensical results.

The focus needs to be on the plant, not on random samples from the soil in the field. The pH will be different around the roots of the different plants in the field..... well, unless.... the soil has been blasted with 3 or more tons of lime recently per acre.

Sample from the root system to the plant that is desired. If the plant isn't doing well, start looking at the balance of bacteria and fungi, predators, etc. but as permaculture people, you already know this. Bill made quite a deal out of understanding this.

So, nothing "spontaneous" about how to control soil pH.......you just need to know that the major waste product released by AEROBIC bacteria are alkaline glues they use to hold themselves on the surfaces of sand, silt, clay, organic matter and plant. and thus help keep the soil slight alkaline so the conditions are right to enhance nitrate predominance.

Fungi on the other hand, make organic acids as waste products. And so maintain soil slightly acidic.

Anaerobic bacteria and fungi (the anaerobic fungi are yeasts), both make very acid organic acids, and thus drop soil pH very low.

So, if soil becomes anaerobic --- any number of reasons why, but big machinery driving over it is a big cause for concern - then pH tends to drop lower and lower. And plants can't grow in dirt with that low a pH.

How to fix? Build structure, build air passageways and hallways. Built by.......... who?
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Dr. Elaine Ingham - Soil food web 5 éve 9 hónapja #9428

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Dr. Elaine Ingham beküldte:
Reply to the last question in #9418
How do you prepare the soil and compost samples for the microscope?


Easy for me to show you step by step. There is a website that links a you tube video...... hum Gail Swithenbank manages the website. Don't remember the name. I'll try to track it down.

Dr Elaine Ingham talks about soil microbiology and microscope setup, preparation - video series
Sustainable Studies
Nem az a beteg, aki nem alkalmazkodik egy abnormális világhoz.
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Dr. Elaine Ingham - Soil food web 5 éve 9 hónapja #9432

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Dr. Elaine Ingham beküldte:
In practice, how can it be carried out to use two cattle's manure which accumulates 10 tons a year as compost tea? It is enough for five hectar orchard?

Reply to 9406:

Any waste material needs to be composted and can be either thermal, or worm composted in order to make certain that the disease-causing organisms, the pests, the parasites, etc are gone. As a secondary control measure, make sure the habitat during and after composting selects for beneficial organisms. Beneficial organisms should be selected for, and not any disease organisms that might happen to fall into or otherwise contaminate the compost.

So, composting is critical. The recipe used as a starting recipe for anyone to start composting and learning how this is done is:
1. 10% high N material (e.g., manures, legumes, germ of seeds; C:N = 1:10 or thereabouts)
2. 40% green plant material (must be a mixture and better if it is actually still juicy; C:N 30:1 or thereabouts)
3. 50% wide C:N materials (e.g., woody, wood chips, sawdust, paper, cardboard, stalks, standing dead material; C:N around 100 or greater)

Percents are in volume as long as you remember to pack things down when estimating percentages. From the first pile you make, you start to learn what YOUR plant materials are like and how you will adjust the recipe to always get good temperatures or keep your worms happy. worms are strict aerobic organisms, and they will try to leave the building if something is wrong in the worm bin.

So if you have 10 tons of manure per year, you can make 100 tons of good compost.

For a 5 hectare orchard, you really only need to be making 14 tons of compost ...... 5 times 2.5 tons/HA = 12.5 tons, plus maybe another ton for making extracts and teas as needed through the growing season.

Thank you for your answer. I will try to follow your advice.
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Dr. Elaine Ingham - Soil food web 5 éve 9 hónapja #9433

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Hi Elaine,

Thank you for your answer! My next question is a theoretical one about thermocompost:

If I understand correctly, the goal of the high temperature in the thermocompost process is to get rid of the 'bad guys', namely weed seeds, plant and human pathogens. On the other side the goal of composting is to boost the complexity of the soil food web.

My problem is that in a food web there is no such thing as good or bad. If I use a simple method (heating) to kill a lot of very different organisms without differentiating then complexity will decrease. For example if I kill every pathogen then I also kill pathogens of bad guys. (And pathogens of bad guys are good guys.)

Another view of this problem is that high temperature is not natural for any soil organism. It seems to me that if the main goal is boosting complexity then I should not use such a highly selective biotechnology.

I understand that human pathogens are a big concern and thermocomposting is a safe process. But in my garden I am not very concerned about these bad guys. What do you think, do I need to do thermocomposting or is there any better method in my case?
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Dr. Elaine Ingham - Soil food web 5 éve 9 hónapja #9434

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Our grandfathers already do this process but they didn't call it as a thermocompost.They stick the yoke into the mound of manure and if it was unpleasantly hot than the maturation of the manure was good.
I would like to know that with the help of worms how different compost arose if we talk about its quality.
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Dr. Elaine Ingham - Soil food web 5 éve 9 hónapja #9435

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Dear Elaine,

In my area we can find sandy soil. If we got 1-2-3 mm rain ithe soil is behave like "water repellent sandy soil" the water stay on the surface and after evaporate to the air. But is we got about 10-15 mm or more rain the soil behave like the "non wetting sandy soil" about 4-5 days and the upper 5-8 cm is dry out. We try grow grain (trticale) and sun seed. I enclosed a photo about my soil. Last year the grain have got 2 tonns/ha avarege with 70 kg Nitrogen. I think the biggest problem is about the water.

Inversionturnsthetablesonsoilconstraints.jpg


I think the biggest problem is about the water.
What operations do you advise for me for the bigger harvest??
And for everything informations I will grateful.
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