HI, I've written & continue to update a list of soil tinctures (& related info) for supporting organic plants - what is your favourite? Is it already in this article - if not, are you happy for it to be included? If yes, would you/who should I credit as the source? Together, we can create an excellent resource for us all to grow & share our knowledge!
Using Soil Tinctures to = “Feed The Soil, Not The Plant”.
Healthy plants look great, produce high quality produce, repel pests (via volatile organic compounds) & more. To sustain health, they require a wide range of nutrients, much more than NPK – nitrogen, phosphorus & potassium. The basic nutrients (biochemical sequence) are used in the order…
Boron, which activates:
Silicon, which carries all other nutrients, starting with…
Calcium, which binds =
Nitrogen to form amino acids, DNA and cell division. Amino acids form proteins such as chlorophyll and tag trace elements, especially =
Magnesium, which transfers energy via…
Carbon to form sugars, which go where –
Potassium carries them to build plant cells.
Nutritional requirements change from…
– plant to plant –
– species to species –
– season to season –
– location to location –
Thankfully, planet Earth is a living lab which has been working on plant health for billions of years! So we don’t need to work it all out – we just need to work with (or mimic) nature.
Plant nutrients are produced by soil organisms who decompose large particles into small particles – so small, that they dissolve in water & are taken up by plant roots (via capillary action).
Healthy soil = living soil!
We can identify the presence of healthy, living soil – because the soil stays attached to a root system when it is lifted. The plant has a ‘fluffy’ rhizosphere (or root zone) as roots, living beings & soil become one.
This is (bio) activated soil – it is living soil.
…the living organisms within activated soil are:
The key to ACTIVATED SOIL = MICROBIAL DIVERSITY !!!
Earthworms & small animals
…proliferate when fed = simple carbon sources:
Green materials (leaf)
Milk Fish emulsion
…proliferate when fed = complex carbon sources:
Brown materials (bark, wood, roots)
Cellulose (i.e.. Lucerne)
Hard-hooved animals are absent.
Synthetic pesticides & pollutants are absent.
Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) grown in buckets from pond water which has been allowed to sit for a few weeks (until it goes green).
Soil tinctures keep soil healthy by feeding the soil organisms.
Dominant soil biota:
Bacteria-dominant soils (agriculture) = groundcovers, salads, grains, root-crops, herbs, leafy vegetables, flowers, shrubs.
Fungi-dominant soils (horticulture) = larger shrubs, bulbs, mushrooms, fruit trees, nut trees, sap trees, vines, small & medium trees, large canopy trees…
One cup of boiled rice.
Add selected nutrient based on what organism you wish to be dominant:
Bacteria eat (simple carbon) – brown sugar.
Fungi eat (complex carbon) – carbohydrates.
Place in a bucket with holes drilled into the bottom & sides.
Place into worm farm (on top of castings) for 1-2 weeks.
One cup additional nutrient:
Extra food for bacteria/fungi
Whatever your soil lacks (i.e. if it is low in calcium, add fish).
Plant nutrient (see ‘The biochemical basis of plant nutrition’ above).
Optional step: Aerate (with a bubbler or pour between containers/vigorously mix twice daily).
One part compost (as diverse a mix as possible).
Ten parts water.
Aerate (with a bubbler/vigorously mix twice a day).
Brew for one week (minimum).
Dilute to the colour of weak tea.
Apply to the soil (target the plant roots).
Make a ‘Compost Tea’ – but use lucerne (in place of compost).
If a plant species is known to shoot roots when placed in water or directly in the ground, it is high in root-growth hormone (usually indole acetic acid or a derivative of). This is the same store-bought hormone used in propagation as a dipping powder or gel.
To collect & use = macerate the plant in a minimal amount of water, pour liquid off & use fresh. (This will not keep, use immediately.)
dip a cutting (clone) into the liquid & plant into growth medium (ie. soil, perlite etc).
pour around the stem (to target the roots).
Pest repellent + :
The above tincture can be used for any desired plant product, for example – to repel pests, macerate a plant which contains a repellent & spray liquid onto leaves.