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Hi everyone!
  New to this forum.  theDave, Merlin, Oregon.  Anyone have any experience using soil innoculants?
 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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Do you mean legume inoculants, like for peas, beans, clover and tagasaste, etc?

I've used them for peas and beans, as that is the only one available around here (and just barely).  But I recently discovered that Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in CA carries more kinds than any place I've seen:  http://groworganic.com/browse_seeds.html?sCategory=366

Garden Combination inoculant for Legume Oat Mixes, vetch (except crown vetch), fava beans, bell beans, crotolaria, garden beans, peas, lentils, lima beans, cowpeas, and peanut.) 2 sizes containers

Alfalfa & Clover inoculant

Pea, Vetch and Lentils inoculant

Cowpea, Peanut and Lespedeza inoculant (also suitable for tagasaste, I have read)

Soybean inoculant

Crownvetch inoculant

Sesbania inoculant

Garbanzo bean inoculant

 
                
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Oh, sorry Susan, I should have been more clear.  I am looking for information on soil inoculants.  Topsoils here are shallow and lawns are raised mainly on chemical fertilizers.  I am researching ways of improving existing soils without total renovation.  Thank you for the reply
 
                        
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I ordered the MycoGrow for Lawns from http://www.fungi.com/mycogrow/index.html    Can't wait to get it down so I can cut my use of Ringers down.

To quote:
MycoGrow™ For Lawns contains spores of 4 different species of endomycorrhizal fungi, plus additional beneficial organisms for control of lawn-disease-related pathogens.


Company is  paul stamets':  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI5frPV58tY

 
                
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Thanks Paulie!
  I will check it out.  We have something here at the grange I am going to try also.  Can't remember the name. I will post it when I buy it Thursday.
 
samiam kephart
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I  had found a link on homemade innoculants and I lost it.... bummer...it was from the Korean Natural farming system where you bury a box of steamed rice up in the woods and the mycellium innoculate the rice and then you process it more and innoculate your land with the local stuff  which seems better than importing fungi from outside. Does anyone on this site know the recipe?  thanks    Sam
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Samiam:

That sounds incredibly smart.

I've also heard of digging up a few buckets of duff and soil from the nearest (in climate and intended ecosystem, as much as space) wilderness area that can spare it.

The rice trap sounds like it will add much more of some sorts of life, but less (maybe none) of other sorts. Which my intuition says could be useful in a few situations, but not as good most of the time.
 
Scott Reil
Posts: 179
Location: Colchester, CT
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LOTS of experience in this arena; I was (up until fairly recently) the corporate trainer for an organic lawn care company.

The very best innoculant for your soil is local compost. Simply putting down innoculums , while they are likely needed is ineffective, as you likely lack sufficient humus in your soil (your mention of chemical fertilizers is a hint, as these do nothing to replace the humus consumed by plants). I rarely saw soils with the minimal 5% we liked; chemically treated lawns are usually in the 2-3% range...

This is important because ALL soil biology lives in humus. Without this important factor, your store bought innoculum are little paratroopers being dropped into hostile enemy territory. They will be able to scrounge for a little while, but without necessary supplies, and surrounded by hostile forces, they are likely doomed... ops:

A topdressing of compost, on the other hand, supplies a multitudinous variety of organisms (Paul Stamets says the average scoop of good soil contains a variety of species that rivals the entire flora and fauna count of North America, and compost is no different), all native to your area, many of which will directly support your grass, and many that don't will provide direct nutrition through nitrogen amplification (smilingly dubbed the poop loop by Dr. Ingham) and weak acid forces, etching mineral sourcing from the CEC. AND we have seeded this little ecosystem in the ready made housing our humus provides... all contingencies accounted for...

While your store bought innoculants are not a BAD idea, they are a much better idea once you have supplied habitat and food, and compost is a good way to provide those. Find a reputable supplier you can look in the eye and shake hands with (both mine are local farmers that I have vetted their operation, looked over their product, and even glanced at it under a microscope). Local is alway better, but many bacteria and fungi are circumboreal, so even not so local is better than none. Bagged prodcuts should be avoided for the most part; these are aerobic organisms for the most part, and YOU try breathing in a plastic bag for just a minute and see how you like it  (There are exceptions; some better companies are microprickng bags to increase breathability; Organic Mechanic, Coast of Maine and North Country Organics all fit this bill).

You can get some companies to blow a nice even layer for you, but that is pretty expensive. Simply spreading compost about a quarter to half inch deep, working it in past the crowns of the grass with the back side of a lawn rake, and watering in deeply will get you innoculant (thousands rather than two or three species), humus AND nutrients, all in one package, Not bad, huh?

HG
 
jeremiah bailey
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samiam: I have heard of using rice as a growing medium for mushrooms before. The conditions were fairly sterilized for keeping a strain pure. The rice was cooked and compressed into jars and sterilized in a pressure canner and then inoculated with mushroom spores. The medium was just regular brown rice. Apparently white rice doesn't work very well. This more of a laboratory type setting, so I imagine just burying cooked brown rice would do the trick. Don't know for how long. Probably a few days to a week would do the trick. Perhaps try doing this throughout the course of a year as different organisms have different life cycles, thus being active at different times during the year.
 
samiam kephart
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thanks Jeremiah... Do you know what to do with it once it is innoculated?  spray in on the soil?  Sam
 
Scott Reil
Posts: 179
Location: Colchester, CT
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Sam, when you import local fungi from the woods, you are importing bacteria and fungi suitable for growing woody plants. This is an entirely different biological crew and process from what goes on in lawns. Very specific sets of microrganisms work with each plant; the ones that support grass usually do not support trees and vice versa (there are crossovers occasionally, but they are exceptions and not the norm...)

So try your rice trick in an established organic grassland and you might be on to something but the example you outline is not supported by science; storebought for lawn WILL outperform wild caught in a dissimilar ecotype.

S
 
jeremiah bailey
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Scott is right on about the different ecosystems bearing different organisms. And I'd just toss the inoculated rice around on the ground that I wanted to inoculate. Perhaps toss some sort of mulch on top of that to keep it shaded and moist. Straw, compost or grass clippings would work.
 
Seth Pogue
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An excellent innoculant is EM-1:
These guys are the best I know of. 

http://www.emamerica.com/

Open to learn of better if anyone knows.
 
Scott Reil
Posts: 179
Location: Colchester, CT
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EM is a very good selection of biology that will do well on most soils and situations (indeed the bacterias used in EM are found in most soils), but lack any fungal component. So you are inoculating with only one particular kingdom of species rather than with a complete ecosystems worth... EM is designed for anaerobic digestion and would be helpful on a particularly compacted situation (where redox levels would be understandable low), but it would do little to lift compaction or increase field capacity, as would fungal inoculates).

Just fungal isn't so great, just bacterial isn't so great, and there is only one sure fire way I know of to get an already working, established group of organisms that will work together to improve soil and therefore plants, and that is compost...

S
 
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