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An experiment inspired by the story of microbes

 
pollinator
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@R. Ranson: "How much water will I be needing?"

This is where I'm hoping Charlotte A. or someone else already familiar with applying teas for this purpose can begin to weigh in. If 3+ members give some suggestions from experience, it may be that you can average the responses or go with one who has a climate and soil-type similar to your own.
 
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My suggestion would be to water as required and add it up. The question is your starter mix, but that's what I'm trying to find out: part of what we want to investigate is if there is anything in the claims made by the proponents of the practice, so my suggestion is you use their protocols. Tap water contains chlorine to kill bacteria, so you need to let it stand. If your groundwater is clean there seems to be nothing stopping you using that, but it will have different dissolved chemicals and a different pH. What you need to be is consistent: use the same water for the whole trial.
 
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@JohnW: Agreed. Didn't mean to imply that the nettle stages should be a variable, but these things are good to note. There's so much we CAN'T control but our observations are limitless.
 
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I like the idea of keeping the actual experiment and procedure simple, but leaving lots of room for observation. Observe without bias, then evaluate the observations later.

I'll take lots of photos, and the local weather station is more or less a good indicator of what the weather is like here, so we can grab some data from there.

If the procedure is simple, maybe we can encourage more people to try give it a try. Charlotte's experiences have been fantastic with this method and she's not alone. I want to know if this method would work for me.

If it works or doesn't work for me, then that's what we find out, how it goes where I am. I think if we could get a few other people in on this, then these people will discover if this method will work where they are. What's more, people with sciencey tendency can correlate the data gathered and make suggestions on how to modify future experiments with this method. At least, that's how it looks from my point of view.

I don't know enough about microbes to know if this method will work or not. I don't think I need to know much to give it a try. If there's only 1% chance that I'll get half as good a result as described in the other thread, I think it's well worth taking the time and space to do a little trial like this.

A big thank you to everyone to help me plan this.

 
Neil Layton
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This may be considered of some relevance to those following this thread: http://www.permies.com/t/56598/permaculture/Science-Permaculture
 
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i have been asked to chime in here. maybe the 9 steps i suggested should be listed here.

some things to look at in the science or permaculture design.

1) what results are we looking for.

a) i am looking for more organic content in the soil which means more water holding capacity, more soil biology. there are labs that do these tests for soil biology, i hear from gabe brown as well as elaine ingham.

b) i am looking for more nutritious food which i claim has to be grown without irrigation or at any rate with little water and no fertilizer. maybe this is not part of your design.

(1) how do we define more nutritious. i am defining it as more micro mineral content. elaine ingham says the briggs test may or may not measure this. according to gabe brown the soil may have very low NPK and the plants have great NPK levels. he might have ideas on how to measure this. this is a major interest of his.

c. more soil tilth, gabe brown calls it clumping, visible soil structure.

c. more production per acre.

d. less pests

e. less disease

to get these results the microbes must be applied according to me with polyculture, 20 different varieties. elaine ingham does not seem to agree with this, at least it was not mentioned on the video i watched.

 
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charlotte anthony wrote:
to get these results the microbes must be applied according to me with polyculture, 20 different varieties.



This seems to be saying that unless we plant a polyculture of 20 different varieties, the benefits of the microbes will not occur. Am I understanding correctly?

Because initially it sounded like we would see the benefits of the microbes if we applied them to our gardens. Now there seems to be another requirement - a polyculture of 20 different varieties. Is this the case?

 
charlotte anthony
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as i said, i do not apply microbes outside of what i call a permaculture cotnext which is a polyculture.

i did also say that elaine ingham seems to think that they will work with monoculture.

these things are usually considered in an experiment.
 
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I have a question with regards to the earlier post by Charlotte about using microbes to get rid of quack grass. Nature doesn't know which plants I want and think of as good, and which I don't want and think of as bad. So, if I apply microbes in the manner suggested, why do the microbes make the quack grass stop growing, and everything else grow better? If I plant a polyculture of 20 plants, and one of them is the quack grass, why does the quack grass not take over, like it does in my lawn?
 
charlotte anthony
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only explanation i can think of is that the quack grass is a primary succession plant and when it is no longer needed, because the soil has changed, it no longer grows.
 
charlotte anthony
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more about my microbe experience. i and my team have planted more than 650 gardens in people's yards in eugene, oregon.

i have planted probably 20 more gardens and/or farms in india and forest gardens in oregon and california. i have never planted without a polyculture so this is my experience. i would encourage folks in their gardens to plant herbs if they wanted only a few vegetables, to make sure there was a lot of diversity. in india i saw in one instance 6 grains and legumes (one of which is cotton) growing together for what i was told was hundreds of years with no fertilizer, no irrigation with the soil improving each year. i realized that with the right combination of plants, the number could be as little as 6. also in India they had hedgerows. i also saw in baskar save's garden (the Indian Fukuoka) as few as 6 plants, as well as a lot of plants in his hedgerows. since i do not know what the 6 plants are that would work together, then i just go for 20.

anyway maybe we are off the subject. maybe mr. ransome wants to do a monoculture.
 
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If anyone wants to know about Brix testing, I posted some info on the Growies forum, under Plants. Sorry, but I don't know how to make a link to it. The topic name is "Brix testing". It may help explain what Charlotte is talking about when she mentions it.
 
Tyler Ludens
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charlotte anthony wrote:
anyway maybe we are off the subject. maybe mr. ransome wants to do a monoculture.



Will the microbes work with a monoculture?

 
r ranson
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charlotte anthony wrote:more about my microbe experience. i and my team have planted more than 650 gardens in people's yards in eugene, oregon.

i have planted probably 20 more gardens and/or farms in india and forest gardens in oregon and california. i have never planted without a polyculture so this is my experience. i would encourage folks in their gardens to plant herbs if they wanted only a few vegetables, to make sure there was a lot of diversity. in india i saw in one instance 6 grains and legumes (one of which is cotton) growing together for what i was told was hundreds of years with no fertilizer, no irrigation with the soil improving each year. i realized that with the right combination of plants, the number could be as little as 6. also in India they had hedgerows. i also saw in baskar save's garden (the Indian Fukuoka) as few as 6 plants, as well as a lot of plants in his hedgerows. since i do not know what the 6 plants are that would work together, then i just go for 20.

anyway maybe we are off the subject. maybe mr. ransome wants to do a monoculture.



Oh, I'm sorry. I must have read it wrong. I remember reading that it was the micro not the macro that was doing the work. But I want to do this right to give the microbes the best chance of success, so if that means a polyculture, then I can do that. You're story is inspiring and it would be wonderful if this could work in my conditions.

I also want the experiment to be easily repeatable, so we'll have to brainstorm some seeds that are easily accessible to most people - maybe spices and lentils?
 
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What has been done? Any results?
 
r ranson
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:What has been done? Any results?



I got confused as to what method I was supposed to use to grow the microbes.  Then it was too late in the season to plant anything new as our drought season had begun.


However... I will be growing an overwinter crop in that spot, probably fava beans.  If we can keep the method simple (and I mean really simple: simple tools, simple method, simple ingredients - I've got a bucket, some rain water and stinging nettles, is this enough?) I'm willing to give it a shot.  
 
charlotte anthony
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hi r ransome.  in the genre of uses i have put to the microbes on this go around, i have not used stinging nettles.  stinging nettles is something that the biodynamic people have been using for 50 years so it would probably work.  i do not know if you plan to bubble the concoction or ferment it.  the biodynamic people ferment it.

i would recommend that you check our korean natural farming.  they have a lot of stuff on facebook.   they have their version of EM which is what i buy and then i use mycorhizzals from paul stamets organization fungi perfecti.  i believe as they are using leaf mold in their concoction you would not need to add the mycorhizzals.  they call korean natural farming low budget natural farming sometimes, very inexpensive to make these products.

they make this from several grains (small amounts).  they recommend making it locally.   elaine ingham also recommends local teas.

using EM and mycorhizzals after 7 sprays i started  seeing results here in the desert.  it is very exciting, although far slower than anywhere else i have worked, probably because of the lack of water.  the results that i am seeing are showing that the water in the soil is already way up.  what i am seeing is a lot of weeds growing.  no place else on the farm are their green weeds growing in the rye grass.  also some visitors came and said that for hundreds of miles they had seen no weeds in the fields except where the whole field was green and they were watering.   they normally plant things like winter wheat and rye here in the fall and it comes up in the spring.  i planted in the spring and most of the plants did not come up.  it just rained yesterday and i am hoping that with the moisture that the microbes help the soil retain, the plants will now come up.  we shall see in a couple of weeks.

in my work in india i used givumreit which is made from cow dung, cow urine, a powder from legumes and molasses.   this is what the local people used.   i did not add mycorhizzals and got tremendous results.

good luck with your experiment.

 
John Weiland
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I couldn't find the original thread on this topic so am posting some recent findings from the Pacific Northwest here:

News story --- http://www.rdmag.com/news/2016/09/microbes-help-plants-survive-severe-drought#.V-Ra8rC-xoc.twitter

and original study --  http://depts.washington.edu/envaplab/papers/DroughtTolerance_PostProofs.pdf
 
John Weiland
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Many in the north may not be thinking about this topic until next year, but it's never too early to start planning and of course many elsewhere are already getting their hands dirty.  The following appears to be open-access:  

http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13630

The abstract of the article posted below.
SoilBuilding.JPG
[Thumbnail for SoilBuilding.JPG]
 
charlotte anthony
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thank you very much John Welland for these informative articles.  also gabe brown, elaine ingham, especially the roots of your profits and many others are sharing great results with mcirobes.  gabe brown is not innoculating.  he is just allowing ruminants to graze and do his innoculating for him.

some results from my microbe innoulation at terra lingua farm in eastern oregon.

this farm gets 8-14 inhes of rain per year.  the soil is a sandy loam.  the farm has 100 acres of rye grass (not rye).  i have leased 20 acres of this self seeding rye grass.

this last year i sprayed 13 times with EM, effective microorganisms which i bought from a company.  you can google where to buy this.  also i used soluble mycorhizzals which i got from Fungi Perfecti (Paul Stamets company).  when i was working in western oregon (eugene) where we had the ability to water i only sprayed once.  

at this point i would recommend using korean natural farming tehnics to grow your own microbes.  they in the advanced sections even teach you how to replicate mycorhizzals.   elaine ingham recommends that local microbes will be a lot more help than buying them as i have done.  (i felt this year i did not have the band width to make my own with my 20 acre project that i am essentially doing alone.

someplace around 7 sprays i started seeing green weeds growing, including lambs quarters and red root (amaranth).  the weeds grew quite tall (3.5 feet) and bushy, so they had water.  in none of the 80 acres that i did not spray were there any of these weeds growing.  visitors to the farm mentioned that they had not seen green weeds growing in the last 100 miles without irrigation.  so we know we had increasing organic matter.  




in my nursery section where i watered, i now have 4-5 inches of the type of black aggregated soil that is called humus.  even in 100 degree heat, this soil retains moisture.

i did dig around these "weeds" and could not see any black soil or even any moisture.  if i had a microbescore i probably would have seen the budding humus.

i also want to mention that we did contour plowing with a chisel plow (the closest i could get to a yeoman's plow)  about 70% of the weeds were growing where the chisel plow had made a cut in the soil.

in february i will begin to broadcast the herb, berry and tree seeds that i want to plant. i am planting only seeds.  if i bring in plants, i would have to water and besides carrying water by vehicle, i cannot water.  hence all the work to hold the water in the soil by innoculating with microbes so  water is not needed

last year most of the seeds for the 20 odd grasses, legumes and broad leaves that i planted did not oome up when i planted them in may and july.  everyone tells me that they will come up when there is enough moisture, which because of a storm, we got significant rain in the typical time to plant is in the fall and many of the seeds did come up.   For added insurance,  i did another planting in the fall.  i was going to broadcast the herbs, berrries and trees but i ended up leaving the farm for the winter, so will plant in the very early spring, unfortunately having to stratefy the seeds.  I have found a way to stratefy the seeds in several weeks by putting the seeds in earth and then refrigerating them.

 
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