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!!!!!!!!!! the quest for super soil  RSS feed

 
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You mentioned 25% Organic Matter. Most universities list the soil Organic content as 5%. And list 10% as a "magical" number for their supersoil.
and I have seen studies where over 10% biochar (made at 450C and fully activated and mineralized) end up not being better for plants.

Animal based compost (manure) normally have a Nitrogen to Phosphorous ratio of 1:1 where as Plant based compost have 7:! ration that nature seems to prefer.

and I know that with 25% Organic matter the soil would be filled with all the nitrogen that it needs (250lbs/acre).

Is there a specific reason why you state 25% as the "perfect" number for a supersoil and what is that reason.

Others seem to suggest that over 10% is not bad or at least not better, what views do you have on this. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

According to the universities soil is:
25% Air
25% Water
45% Parent Material
5% Organic Matter.

What would the breakdown look like with your 25% organic matter like:
25% Air
25% Water
25% Parent Material
25% Organic Matter??


Edit
Or maybe you were disregarding the 50% air+water so that 25% is really 25% divided by 2.
Actually you to be more accurate you said 23% so more like 23% divided by 2 for a total of 13.5 if we account for air and water. And that number seems to be the upper limit naturally found in healthy prairie soil

 
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hau Angelika, It is nice that you realize this thread is from the book I am working on for a Doctorate.

Biological content is the organisms quantity we want to have in our soil, not organic matter (that would be humus content or organic matter content).
Rocks and stones of 4 cm and under are what I consider to be ok, anything larger should be removed, for root vegetable garden spaces (carrots, beets, parsnip and so on) I like to remove all stones larger than 1 cm diameter, that allows the crop to grow better.
If you think about it, many places might need rock dust to get certain minerals into the soil. Solomon and I do have some differences, they are opinions and everyone has or should have an opinion, all are valid and it is up to the gardener to try things to determine what works best for them.
Gardening is an active endeavor, not like arm chair quarterbacking, you get out there in the soil and try things, make notes, observe results, make more notes and eventually you come to the best things to use for your plot of the earth mother.


Forest soil is indeed different in make up than Bush soil, Using it for inoculation would depend on if the donor area is growing items that resemble what you want for your soil.
When I grab some forest soil it comes from areas around mycorrhizal active trees that have the fungi I want growing in them. If I have any doubt, I look at a sample under the microscope and determine that the desired organisms are present in enough quantity to be a good inoculant.

Lucerne is a great cover but might not be the best for swampy areas, it depends on your observations of the area. I always recommend trialing something before going all in.
All plants will suck up not only the nutrients they need, many of those toxic molecules are similar enough to "the good stuff" that they end up being taken in as well. In the human body a good example of this process is lead, it mimics a couple of compounds our bodies use for brain health and if it is present in our bodies, the lead will be substituted for the correct molecules, this is what leads to lead poisoning, the same can and does happen in all living organisms. If you have known contamination you can inoculate with several different mushroom slurries and the hyphae will help remediate the contaminates by taking them into themselves.
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:anaerobic compost will have an excessive number of ciliates, these critters eat bacteria, fungi, nematodes and all the other micro organisms we want to add to the soil.
ciliates thrive in anaerobic conditions only, thus by keeping O2 present we are limiting the ability of "bad" critters to multiply or even survive.

As we find out more about how soil organisms work, we also find out which "accepted" methods are actually more harmful than helpful.



Love your posts and was curious about this part. Do you know if using something high in connectivity would help keep the soil from becoming anaerobic? 

I study soil health to know more about human health and everything is pointing to oxygen. Even Dr Seneff Senior Professor MIT links it to diseases and how even how cancer tumors must develop in order to make a way for the oxygen to travel through the body. We are little batteries.

Some of your other posts tie into what I have been searching just Agra uses one term and health uses another. Also the fermentation- goodness it is going to take me some time to absorb.
 
Cinda Wood
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Angelika, It is nice that you realize this thread is from the book I am working on for a Doctorate

All plants will suck up not only the nutrients they need, many of those toxic molecules are similar enough to "the good stuff" that they end up being taken in as well. In the human body a good example of this process is lead, it mimics a couple of compounds our bodies use for brain health and if it is present in our bodies, the lead will be substituted for the correct molecules, this is what leads to lead poisoning, the same can and does happen in all living organisms. If you have known contamination you can inoculate with several different mushroom slurries and the hyphae will help remediate the contaminates by taking them into themselves.



Our area has a great deal of trouble with lead because of smelter waste. We had an employee whose son tested high in lead from school nurse. I gave him a container of eight glycans and his next test was normal. This is one example of hundreds.

This is why I ask about any research of glycans and plants because I too believe the plants cells will communicate and expell the unneeded lead. Certainly the animal kingdom could be different but so far I have not seen the evidence.

In permaculture it seems the plants have such high sugar contents that most bugs do not bother because of it. Some have said bugs do not process sugar.

Anyway just wondering if plant cells too detox or not take in what is not needed.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Let me start this answer with some of the information contained in "Essentials of Glycobiology. 2nd edition" by Ajit Varki and John B Lowe

As with other major classes of macromolecules, the biological roles of glycans span the spectrum from those that appear to be relatively subtle, to those that are crucial for the development, growth, functioning, or survival of the organism that synthesizes them. Many glycans have not yet been assigned a function, because efforts to study them have not been made or a function is not yet evident. Over the years, many theories have been advanced regarding the biological roles of glycans. Although there is evidence to support all of these theories, exceptions to each can also be easily found. This should not be surprising, given the enormous diversity of glycans in nature. Added complexities arise from the fact that glycans are frequently targets for the binding of microbes and microbial toxins, that is, they can be detrimental to the organism that synthesizes them.

The biological roles of glycans can be divided into two broad categories: (1) the structural and modulatory properties of glycans and (2) the specific recognition of glycans by other molecules—most commonly, glycan-binding proteins (GBPs).  The GBPs can be subdivided into two major groups: (1) intrinsic GBPs, which recognize glycans from the same organism and (2) extrinsic GBPs, which recognize glycans from a different organism. Intrinsic GBPs typically mediate cell–cell interactions or recognize extracellular molecules, but they can also recognize glycans on the same cell. Extrinsic GBPs consist mostly of pathogenic microbial adhesins, agglutinins, or toxins, but some also mediate symbiotic relationships. These two types of glycan recognition likely act as opposing selective forces driving evolutionary change, at least partly accounting for the enormous diversity of glycan structure found in nature. Further complexity arises from the fact that some microbial pathogens engage in “molecular mimicry,” evading immune reactions by decorating themselves with glycans typical of their hosts. Finally, some microbes are themselves targets of their own pathogens (e.g., bacteriophages that invade bacteria), and glycan recognition is a common feature of these interactions as well.

Approaches taken to understand the biological roles of glycans include the prevention of initial glycosylation, prevention of glycan chain elongation, alteration of glycan processing, enzymatic or chemical deglycosylation of completed chains, genetic elimination of glycosylation sites, and the study of naturally occurring genetic variants and mutants in glycosylation (see further discussion below). The consequences of such manipulations range from being essentially undetectable to the complete loss of particular functions or even loss of the entire glycoconjugate bearing the altered glycan. Even within a particular class of molecules, for example cell-surface receptors, the effects of altering glycosylation are variable and unpredictable. Moreover, the same glycosylation change can have markedly different effects in different cell types, or when studied in vivo or in vitro. The answer obtained may depend on the structure of the glycan, the biological context (intrinsic or extrinsic interaction), and the specific biological question being asked. Given all of the above considerations, it is difficult to predict a priori the functions that a given glycan on a given glycoconjugate might mediate and its relative importance to the organism.



Glycans are sugars, in humans sugars feed cancers. In plants sugars are the energy providers of the cells and they are also part of the exudates given off to stimulate bacteria to provide minerals by being ingested by the proper predatory organisms (I have previously mentioned that cycle and how it works).

The biggest issue of lead is that it can be substituted into long chain structures needed, by the mitochondria working to fill the organisms needs. This is how lead becomes an issue in humans and plants alike. Plants remove lead from soil by utilizing it in long chain polysaccharides and other similar molecules. They don't get expelled into the atmosphere, which would be bad for humans, but are bound up in the cellular structures, that is how the lead is remediated and the soil "cleansed".  In the human organism things work differently, the kidneys are remarkable filter organs and they are why we can "cleanse" our bodies by taking in certain molecules that will attach to "poisonous atoms and short chain molecules" that are then ejected from the body in the urine stream. In the plant world, this action is provided through respiration but the size of molecule able to be ejected is limited by the size of the stoma.  Plants work well as soil cleansers because they hold on to the contaminates they take in through their roots.

Redhawk
 
Cinda Wood
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Red hawk this is what I wanted to hear. In medicine they too believed what you just posted but they now know different thanks to MIT seeing molucles. In fact I may be the only one to date that can prove it with documents from daughters hospital stay. She was first in nation to have surgeons give her entire tub of glycans and her espionage grew back from 4cm cut in 11 days.

She too came out of stage 4 with just food - plant based nutrients- vitamin d had to raise first. No glycans will not bring people out of cancer.

I really wanted to find the person who would know and as I called and wrote doctors from all over USA could not find one in Agriculture. Believe me hospitals are all trying to create them but cannot be done.

Each seed has its own DNA and each cell knows exacted what its job is and communication is the beginning of health for all cells. Even forensic testing proves the DNA part.
 
Cinda Wood
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Here is some links.  The first is Dr Reg McDaniel before the Colorado Supreme Court  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSaxFjMTPtU
If you watch you will see where children come out of diseases no one thought possible.

Here is a CBS special on youtube at Wake Forest growing body parts.  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+wake+forest+growing+body+parts&view=detail&mid=CE10D72DB4A2C31528C2CE10D72DB4A2C31528C2&FORM=VIRE


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413105003785


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920122140.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3174969/

Please do not get me wrong because as you know there is so much to this and I am now searching to see how these glycans react in plants when missing.  I would love to find out if anyone right now is in the study. 

I did order a lab test on the product I am test and was able to find out at lease the beginning test at http://www.highpointcompany.com/glycan_test2.pdf ;

Here is the paper where they are started to use milk for the n-glycans http://www.highpointcompany.com/nglycans.pdf

Another thing I am very curious about is the fact that man and beast were made to regenerate on plants not rocks and yet man and beast do take them just not as easily used in the body.  In plants and I may be very off here but it would seem the same could be true in that the plant itself does not break down the minerals, the fungi, etc does and then the plant absorbs.  Their life comes from the soil.  In people, if all the cells have enough cell surface sugars and communication is running well, the cell will only take in what it needs.  Welll I won't go further - will take time and go over all your posts.  Thank you.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Yes Cinda I agree with your assessment of glycans and their uses for humans. You are also correct in that fungi and bacteria do most of the work of breaking down contaminants in the soil.

The sugars we want are complex sugars, not the simple sugars, the longer the atom chain that creates the molecule the better to a point.

This is not exactly my experimental focus but I do try to keep up with many of the new developments currently going on since they will eventually be found to be connected to many other types of research that is on going.

Redhawk
 
Cinda Wood
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Yes and one more question about the oxygen if you do not mind.  Do you know of any study on the electric connectivity of plants or even if there is such a thing.  Most well water reaches 1900 and some where people go to bathe can reach up to 3800.  I read where some soils have even higher numbers.  If you have - could you share your source?

Also the glycan I look for in any test on plants would be:

Ribose (Rib)
Arabinose (Ara)
Rhamnose (Rha)
Fucose (Fuc)
Xylose (Xyl)
Glucuronic Acid (GlcA)
Galacturonic acid (GalA)
Mannose (Man)
Galactose (Gal)
Glucose (Glc)
N-Acetyl Galactosamine (GalNAc)
N-Acetyl Glucosamine (GlcNAc)
N-Acetyl Glucosamine (GlcNAc)
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Cinda Wood wrote:Yes and one more question about the oxygen if you do not mind.  Do you know of any study on the electric connectivity of plants or even if there is such a thing.  Most well water reaches 1900 and some where people go to bathe can reach up to 3800.  I read where some soils have even higher numbers.  If you have - could you share your source?

Also the glycan I look for in any test on plants would be:

Ribose (Rib)
Arabinose (Ara)
Rhamnose (Rha)
Fucose (Fuc)
Xylose (Xyl)
Glucuronic Acid (GlcA)
Galacturonic acid (GalA)
Mannose (Man)
Galactose (Gal)
Glucose (Glc)
N-Acetyl Galactosamine (GalNAc)
N-Acetyl Glucosamine (GlcNAc)
N-Acetyl Glucosamine (GlcNAc)



I am currently working several experiments on the methods of plant communication both with other plants and with the micro biosphere of their soil. The study is looking very promising now that we are 3 months into it.
1900 what? ohms? just a number is rather meaningless without knowing what it represents.  The water at my farm has a conductivity of 1247 micro-ohms.
 
Cinda Wood
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That is exciting as communication is the most important part of any society be it the human body or maybe the plant kingdom.

I traveled extensively to hear doctors who were forerunners and prepare as some pay a dear price. Dr Carson,dr Goen and Dr Reg were my favorites. It has been 15 years since they shared and Pharma has done everything to shut them down. I can't believe I haven't received another letter from another attorney but maybe because of the hospital paperwork. Anyway I would love to read your abstract when complete.

Doctors just could not believe it was simple sugars that allow the cells to communicate and it takes all as everyone gets enough table sugar but without all of them things just won't work. That is really the reason I read so much about agriculture.

These doctors in simple terms showed that all cells are covered with glycans and it allows their receptors to let other cells know if they need vitamins,etc. they also have the ability to call in killer cells to surround things that are foreign. Problem today is all tainted seeds cause inflammation which causes the cells to call in help raising inflammation in turn causes heart disease, asthma etc.

The reason I asked about connectivity was because we are little batteries and you talked about oxygen.  A form of the product I am testing has an EC of 136,000. The higher the EC the more light can be emitted. Higher grades of soil I believe higher EC.

This is another very important part to me. If people are eating rocks for their vitamins the body can get too much. If they eat plant based vitamins etc the body will expell what is not needed. I wonder if plants can do the same with enough glycans. i just have not found enough data as yet other than watching a man named Paul on fungi.com.

Don't forget to share when done.
 
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Cinda,
I am very interested in this topic. I don't quite understand what you were measuring in the chart. 

Well water reaches 1900 what?  

Yes, Redhawk is working on a PHd and has taught all of us a lot, but some of the rest of us don't have advanced degrees in science. Can you please explain what you are measuring?
Thanks
John S
PDX OR
 
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Redhawk

Biological content is the organisms quantity we want to have in our soil, not organic matter (that would be humus content or organic matter content). 


so biological content is all living critters that means soil consists of three 'things' the stuff which comes from rocks, humus (+organic matter) and living critters which probably include fugis. Were does the non composted organic matter go? Seems a bit nit picking but I want to get things straight.
The Australian bush does not resemble anything which I want in my veggie garden nor in my orchard, there is a reason why aborigines did not do agriculture. So this method does not work here.
 
Cinda Wood
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John. The 1900 in my post was about electric connectivity. There is even less research on this subject other than in health. If you believe we are little batteries and need charged it might be easier to understand- or maybe not. I just look for that measurement if possible because the higher the light too can be raised and scientists are doing studies on light and health.

Around us fish are dieing in the lakes. Mostly bebecause agriculture causes increase in plant growth in water and it sucks the oxygen out killing the fish. Recently they have started putting hydrogen peroxide pellets in water to give oxygen. Dr Seneff is one that says cancer timers must develop when there is not enough oxygen in the body and even you might remember the doctor who was forced into Mexico to treat people with cancer with hydrogen peroxide.

Angelia
Not sure why you would not want soil from Australia as some of the plant nutrients I take are from there and one is the highest measured antioxidant to date. Guess it depends on the place etc.
 
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Hi Cinda.

1900 what? What is the unit of measurement? Redhawk, I believe, mentioned that he takes measurements of something related to soil health in micro-ohms, which sounds like conductivity or cation exchange to me. What unit are you measuring in?

-CK
 
Angelika Maier
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You write about compost, and like many gardening books you propose layering it and not simply chucking everything as it comes on a pile. Now we are having neat bins and layering would be one pile beside the bin (everyone has bins), the picture underneath. What if I throw the weeds simply in the first bin and when it's full we layer as per prescription - would this interfere with the process? Second you turn the pile only once aren't there different opinions and why once or more?
Third the materials: as good permies we have no lawn but weeds, often grasses. Until they are yanked out they are usually tall (half a meter), does this still count as greens? My husband brings often woody material (or mixed) from gardening jobs are these browns or we would dry that and do charcoal. Otherwise we could use woodchips which I don't always get. Are the layers green and brown the same size? There are less and less horese around here, so I buy dried cow manure by the trailerload, would this work? The weeds we throw in are not small and gardening Australia recommends clipping them small, this is just not doable, what's your take on it?
Since I rely heavily on woodchips to build the soil I throw these on pathways between the beds and often rake them in the beds a year later, if I compost with woodchips too then would that throw the balance out?
Next question is the compost tea brewer. The commercial ones are prohibitively expensive. Which is the best DIY for dummies on the web?
P1070577_opt.jpg
[Thumbnail for P1070577_opt.jpg]
 
John Saltveit
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I think that we move the soil in the direction of what we want to be growing.  So many "weeds" are medicinal, edible, or healthy for the soil/ecosystem that if we let them serve their purpose, they will do their job.  They are telling us about problems rather than being the problem.
John S
PDX OR
 
Angelika Maier
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John, I grow the best, biggest and most beautiful dandelions in the area, you should see them, yet I fail to grow useful cabbage heads and beetroots, the dandelions probably tell me something about my soil!
BTW I eat dandelions but I would prefer that amount in cabbages as I don't eat dandelion kraut. On the top of it why should I eat (well I do) weeds which accumultates something in my soil which is excessive as probably most of my vergetable is excessive already?
RedHawk, thanks for the thread, your writing style is nice you could write a book! I hope you stick to your style writing your Phd.
The whole thread very much emphasises on the soil life rather than adding minerals (fertilizers). What is your take on it? I will try to follow Solomons recommendations once I get my soil test back. How do you balance minerals in your own garden? Do you do regular soil test?
I feel that the Australian soil resource infromation system is a good source, once I manage to understand and use it: ASRIS
I started another thread about deficiencies which show up in leaves, once I started to read about soils I see these deficiencies everywhere, but I cannot really pinpoint what it is. But together with weeds and a soil test I might be able to start reading the soil.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Angelika,  The writing style I use here is the same style I use when I write books, it is different from what is required in scientific publications.

Soil is comprised of; dirt (this is the mineral base that is formed by weathering of rocks) dirt is dead, no life in it, you can make dirt by grinding rocks into fine particles in a hammer mill, then run that product through a roller/flake mill. Or you can let nature do it for you, particles are generally 5 microns to 10 microns in size, smaller is termed clay, larger is termed sand. What we really want our dirt to be is a mix of many particle sizes so there are little pockets of air space between particles scattered all through the matrix, evenly spaced would ideal, but we don't live in that ideal world.
Now that you have the foundation material you need to have humus (a blend of decaying organic materials, bacteria, fungi, springtails, amoeba, flagellates, nematodes and other members of the microorganism world). Once you have this blend you have soil, the better and more populated the microorganism world is, the better the soil is.

Many people try to give methods for creating better soil, they will either follow a simple method or a complex method, they usually don't get into the time factor as much as they should nor do they explain why you should use their method.
I have found that usually it is a combination of methods that gives people the best results in the least amount of time, which is what generally happens to be the most desirable part for most people.

Fertilizers are artificial food for soil, most of them will actually sterilize your soil back to dirt. That means you have two choices from that point; 1. continue to buy and use fertilizers or 2. stop using fertilizers and get your dirt back to being good, nutritious soil.
Dow Chemical, Three M, Monsanto, Bayer chemical, and all the other corporations in the Ag business want you to be dependent upon their products so they push for tilling land into oblivion and then using fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides to keep the land pristine (dead).
That is not a sustainable methodology nor is it a healthy methodology, much scientific research has been and is currently being done on the results of using the "Modern method" and it is being found to be the root of what is killing humans and other organisms at an alarming rate.
Many of the cancers humans are battling come from the nutritionally poor food items in the grocery stores and fast food establishments. Fats, previously thought to be bad for us are now realized to be necessary for good health.
The problem is, to get real nutrition you have to grow your own foods since even the Organic label is not really what it says it is. Even our water supply is adulterated with chemicals that do more harm to the body, so now we need to filter (to .1 micron) our water just to keep antibiotics and other drugs from being ingested accidentally.  There are many facets to getting our bodies back to healthy and it isn't cheap to do but it will keep you alive a lot longer with out having any health issues that could kill you.  This is where my point of view is and where my research is focused.

Redhawk
 
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Angelika: Don't know about the for dummies part, but this Aerated Compost Tea - Field Guide from SARE is great. The authors put on an awesome presentation at the NM Organic Growers Conference. Their focus was not DIY for dummies, but practical, food-safety compliant advice for small farmers. They tinkered for a couple of years with typical DIY and commercial brewers on the way to developing their own plans.

"Over a 2 year period we developed a process for making compost tea that, we believe, meets FSMA Standards. An important outcome of this research was the development of 3 specific assessments that farmers can complete to help them understand all the issues relevant to making a safe compost tea. We also trialed several sources of compost and several variations of making compost tea and listed the results of these trials. The main 2 products resulting from this work are an 85 page Monograph “field Guide” and a set of PowerPoint slides. Both of these are available as a pdf document."
 
Angelika Maier
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Yes a writing style is seen as scientific when it puts you to sleep in a minute!
I don't use artificial fertilizers, in fact what I use is blood and bone and woodash, that's maybe a bit meagre given the poor soil I have (next year I'll get the soil test back!!). American books refer to bloodmeal, is it just another name or is it blood and bone?
I have linked some designs of compost tea brewers in another thread, and asked which one is the best:
brewer1
brewer2
brewer3
brewer4
To me, they all look functional, are they? It seems easy enough to build.
Another question: what abnout mulching? I try to mulch comfrey around tomatos if I get around. Mulching is a lot of work if you don't buy the materials.
 
John Saltveit
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I just built my own, but it might depend on how big your garden/farm is.  One thing to remember is that if you don't have any organic material for the compost tea to live on, you need to get some mulch or something out there or that helpful biology will just die. I think of it as the seed that i grow within the mulch/ wood chips/ etc as the substrate.  I already have a high organic % of my soil, but it sounds like you don't.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
Angelika Maier
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John, which 'model' did you build? We have half an acre. We have got compost but probably not of the upper class category.
This is how about 90% of the inputs look like:
I don't want to run over with a lawn mower to cut it to pieces, we are using the lawn mower for other people's lawns. We upgraded the system mixing charcoal in, before he did mix woodash in but it went very alkaline. Now I don't really know what to do with the woodash (but I wait until the soild test comes back).

In order of efficiency if you guys would want to improve your soil quickly what methods would you use first and which last:
mineral balancing (already started)
creating a first class compost (given the forementioned materials)
compost teas and brews (the aerated ones)
benficial microorganisms (the home brewed ones)
worm farm
Certainly there is more, but that's what I have in mind so far.
BTW RedHawk, you mentioned that you are writing books: what did you write?
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compost material 1
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compost material 2
 
John Saltveit
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I have done/would do all of the above, Angelica.

Try to mix your greens and browns in compost and time it in at least 3' x3' x3' so it can really "cook" with microbes. It should get hot.  Then it should retain a sponge like quality as it matures and turns into really high quality compost.

I use 5 gallon buckets and aquarium bubblers for Aerobically active compost tea.  THis site is good for it.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/compost_tea/info


I don't have time to tutor you through  a year each of these topics but they are definitely worth it for your garden.
John S
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Bryant RedHawk
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In order of efficiency if you guys would want to improve your soil quickly what methods would you use first and which last:
mineral balancing (already started)
creating a first class compost (given the forementioned materials)
compost teas and brews (the aerated ones)
benficial microorganisms (the home brewed ones)
worm farm 



hau Angelica, First off I'm going to second John's recommendations, spot on.

getting the compost going and heating is what I would put as priority one.
That's because that compost is going to be what you use to brew your teas and extracts from. The better you can make the compost the better the teas and extracts will be.
Growing your own microbes would be my second on the list item, these can be added to that compost or added to the tea brew/ extract brew for a super boost to the soil microbiota.
The worm farm would be great to get going since that will give you a place for food scraps (except meats) and will give you another soil, tea, extract component that is full of microbiota.

I need a pm of your exact location (I have soil data for the blue mountains that I want to use to help you with most needed minerals and soil conditioning data)

Redhawk
 
Angelika Maier
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That sounds really logic. The compost is also important because of all the organic matter -weeds and the stuff he brings home, unfortunately nothing what usual compost making manuals tell. Lawn clippings that's not us. Kitchen scraps - How many kitchen scraps in comparison to huge weeds do we produce most go to the chooks anyway! They are inside only at night so not much bedding here either. But our weed piles are impressive! And looking at them they don't seem to belong fully in the 'green' category.
 
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Angelika Maier wrote:That sounds really logic. The compost is also important because of all the organic matter -weeds and the stuff he brings home, unfortunately nothing what usual compost making manuals tell. Lawn clippings that's not us. But our weed piles are impressive! And looking at them they don't seem to belong fully in the 'green' category.


I often have this situation. Based on my experience this is my recommendation:
Most composting instructions are concerned with getting enough air into the pile to avoid anaerobic conditions but with this material the need is to reduce the size of air spaces to bring the material close enough together for soil life habitat. Cutting it in small pieces will do that but requires excessive input and brings back the problem of getting air in again.
This is my alternative method: Place the rough weeds in the bin and wet it down. Place a layer of decomposable paper on top and wet it down. Place a layer of soil on top of the paper and wet it down to act as a compression weight and provide microbes for the compost. You may have to get in the bin and stomp it down to get the mix of green leaves and brown stems close enough together. The next day repeat the process until the bin is full.
When all the bins are full then then you start taking out of the oldest bin any material that has not broken down and placing it on top of the fresh addition and using what has started to become soil as fresh compost. The coarse partially decomposed material then become the inoculant for the fresh material and you will be able to get usable material without repeated turnings until it is all broken down.
These piles will seldom heat up but will often attract worms and be filled with fungi. Some large material may go from pile to pile for several years but I don't worry about it because they are still performing their important function of weight and inoculant.
 
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Hans, what great advice about making compost out of unwilling and imperfect ingredients.

Redhawks, I will definitely buy your book when it is ready, and I will also buy a copy for my half-brother. I have lit his fire as far as permaculture goes - he hadn't heard of it until I started giving him permaculture books for Christmas presents. But both my step-mother and our father's family have Eastern European roots which include kitchen gardening. I salute you, and your deep passion and intelligence.

Here in subtropical Queensland, I have 2 issues: the sun, and water. Water, because it is more semi-arid than wet. And the sun here is cruel. It burns and kills the soil life, if soil is left exposed. It dries the grass and sucks moisture from everything. I am currently working on growing heaps more windbreak and shade trees, to create a more favourable micro-climate.

We have had several years of drought, with quite a few plants only just hanging on. Summer/the Wet Season starts, or should start, around December. Everything heats right up, and afternoon storms come in and blow the oppressive heat away. There is always just ONE major rain event, when everything floods, including the roads into my place. However, there is not enough of the storms, and the last 2 years our big rain has not arrived until the end of March. This is, I assume, climate change.

I have a worm farm, which works when I get water into it. However, compost bins/piles do not work. They dry out too quickly, and for the 7 months of the year with little or no rain, they are not even moist to begin with. I have come up with a different solution. As I have very heavy, fine clay, I am burying my compostible waste. My husband has a bobcat, and he has a post-hole driller. I get him to dig a hole, and then fill it with wood, bark, weeds, manure and cardboard. There is no great care or method, as I have many other commitments and only squeeze in a bit of gardening when I can. When I have added these ingredients, I backfill and plant a tree. So far, this e trees are growing much better than the ones planted before I came up with this method. I am aware that they may end up with roots circled inside the hole, and die, but at least they will have started the process of breaking up that heavy clay.

The other thing I do is too place cardboard around all the smaller trees, to suppress the grass. The grass grows so strongly that it will swamp everything. I just lie it around and then weigh it with stones or bits of log. I have some bark from my father-in-law's firewood business, so I lay a little of this around the edges of the cardboard. I would like to keep doing this, in the hope that, as I lay more mulch around the trees, micro-organisms will move in and start to break up the soil around the holes, helping the tree roots to break out of them.

As I have little time, and the environment is quite harsh in its own way, I don't expect any quick results. However, with this summer's good rain (we had a storm this evening), things will be looking up. My husband also created swales for my orchard, so extra rain will hopefully recharge the groundwater, though we have not had huge runoff yet this summer. He also created a shade cloth structure over the veggie bed. I had given up on it for the next few years, but this wet season has meant that I have just planted some subtropical climbers (winged bean, snake bean, chilacayote) in there, and may get a harvest this autumn. (Had some beautiful peaches ripening, but fruit fly got them all.)
 
Nicola Stachurski
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Whoops, sorry for spelling your name incorrectly, RedHawk. I didn't re-read for spelling errors before posting.
 
John Saltveit
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Nicola,
Old wood is especially great for planting in soil with low organic material. Trees need more fungal soil, and in a hot dry climate, the old wood can act as an underground sponge, harboring moisture and life near the roots so everything can survive during the dry months.  I do that here in a slightly different way.
John S
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Nicola Stachurski
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Hi John

What type of climate and soil do you have?

My clay is a lovely black colour, and it is near a river, so it is part of river flats. So much of Austraian soil is pale, lifeless and depleted. 10 minutes away, up on the hills, soil is pale white and only grows scrubby trees. There is also a bit of red soil there. It is very common to drive for miles and see only straggly scrub and poor soil. Our black clay was one major reason we picked this property.

However, as I said, it is incredibly fine and dense. Plants really struggle to take hold. Ideally, I would bury organic matter here, there and everywhere, but I am mindful of asking too much from my hubby.

Our new neighbour has a digger. I eye it and dream about big trenches full of organic matter. We have a big burn pile, made up of a number of trees that were trimmed. Hubby has not yet put a match to it, but I feel I can't ask him to bury the lot. Lots of branches near the house create 3 risks: termite, fire and snakes. There are quite a few poisonous snakes here, though my dogs manage to chase them away.

We live on 5 acres. There are a lot of horses and cattle around us. Most places I look are overgrazed and under-vegetated. We had a freaky day where it got to 45 degrees C a few years ago. I am steadily putting in trees, trees and more trees. All the houses round about have only a few, and when it gets hot, they must heat up enormously. I hope that my place will end up a beacon of green during dry spells, which might encourage others to try a few of my techniques.
 
John Saltveit
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We have cool drizzle for 6 months, medium hot and dry for 6 months and heavy clay all year.  Huge trees everywhere. Wer'e in a temperate rainforest.
John S
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Angelika Maier
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Hi Nicola, I guess you are living eithere a bit inland or north from Brisbane. I had my first gardens in Brisbane. The very first was a complete failure due to the crappy soil. then I moved it under a tree were someone else gardened before. I worked quite well, I often used water from the washing machine. I would use all the greywater you can get and if you can afford it a water tank. Back then they were paid by I forgot was it the city council or the State government?? Anyway you might still get some money maybe from the water supplier. I took a while to figure out that tomatos grow in winter.....
 
Nicola Stachurski
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Hi John

"Heavy clay", I hear you! I originally come from Victoria, which has a temperate climate. Perhaps akin to southern France. A lot of the advice from England could be transferred over and, as my mother is English, I grew up with her gardening as an influence. Then I moved up north - 24 hours of driving northward - and it is such a change. Every summer I am so amazed by the weather here. It is bizarre but joyful for me to sweat all day, then watch a storm roll in, and then walk through the cool water running in the culverts beside the road, wearing only shorts and a t-shirt, watching the water bubbling over my flip-flops.

The rainfall here is very high, but stupidly, at least half of it comes in one flooding event each year. Last March a cyclone hit the Queensland coast further north, and then travelled slowly down, turning into a rain  depression. It rains for a day and a night, and then you can be sure that the small river will burst its banks and overflow the road into town, cutting us off from escape. This time so much rain was dumped that my husband went out in the morning to look and then came back and bundled us into the car. He drove up and around the bend, and we saw a kilometre wide stretch of water where the river and paddocks had been. It was incredible. But it races away and leaves the rest of the year high and dry.


Hi Angleika

Yes, it's near Beaudesert, so gets pretty dry. There are 2 small dams on the property, which i use for irrigation. Hubby has made a gravel pit to filter the grey water, which was just pumped out previously onto the ground. So far, it hasn't generated enough water to move beyond the pit.

We are on tank water, so we have to take shorter showers, but this year, with all the rain, we can go longer. It rained yesterday evening, and has rained heavily for over an hour tonight. Truly, Mother Nature is so variable and unpredictable.

Nicola

 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Nicola,

My husband has a bobcat, and he has a post-hole driller. I get him to dig a hole, and then fill it with wood, bark, weeds, manure and cardboard. There is no great care or method, as I have many other commitments and only squeeze in a bit of gardening when I can. When I have added these ingredients, I backfill and plant a tree.



This is a perfect method for where you live, the more holes you make and fill as you describe the better your soil will become, don't worry too much about those tree roots becoming bound. Tree roots are remarkable things, they can crack granite.
Feeding chickens is always better than composting, the manure from the chickens will promote great growth of your microbe world and since it sounds like they free range somewhat, the scattered around chicken manure will never get to be to concentrated in any one space.

Australia is a continent of many biospheres, if you find any fungi that you can't eat, spread  them around you garden spaces, they will do wonders for your soil (which is a silt/clay by the way), the more organic materials you bury the better the soil will become.

I have a friend that lives in the outback who has indicated to me that it took him three years to get enough water to infiltrate his "red rock soil" (how he described it to me) that he could finally grow kale.
Some of the items I would like to suggest you plant (all over if possible) are; daikon radish, Lucerne, Rape and turnip, these will break up soil, give the chickens greens to eat and they will also add humus deeper in the soil as the roots decompose.

For your area getting humus into the soil so the clay particles can clump and thus open tiny channels down deeper will allow those rain waters to infiltrate better. If you did decide to try some swales, those too would help infiltrate water better both immediately and over time.

I will ask my friend if he would be ok with you having his contact information and if he agrees then I will pass that to you, I know he could give you some tried and valuable help specific to your land.

Redhawk
 
Nicola Stachurski
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Oh  wow, I feel very honoured to have some advice from someone so knowledgable.

I am amazed to hear that about chickens, but it is so very lucky, because I always have some and, since I got a rooster, 2 hens sneaked off and had chicks, increasing my flock to over 20. On top of that, the neighbours' chickens (on both sides) come over to our place, because it has lots of trees and shrubs. The people who owned the place before us had a native-plant nursery, and planted heaps. We live down a small road, which has paddocks on one side, and 5-acre blocks on the other. Our place is half-way along, and you can't miss it, because there are open yards with a tree or two, and then our block, which has a wall of greenery all the way along the front.

I feel too sorry for the chickens to coop them up in a pen, so they free-range everywhere from early morning. There is definitely manure everywhere, though most of the eggs are laid somewhere I can't find!

I took some photos in case anyone is interested in having a glimpse of Australia. I will try and attach them. One is of the neighbour's, showing how bare the surrounding properties are, and how the grass gets eaten down by the horses.

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Nicola Stachurski
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Here is a photo of a native tree, related to a ti-tree. It has a lot of lime-green foliage. All that foliage has grown in the last 2 months. As soon as the rain came, after 7 dry months, so many plants grew new tips, which were considerably lighter than the old growth.

Then there is a photo of one of the swales my husband made. Lucky for me he is very practical. He was a concreter, and has a great sense of 3D, including water flow.

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Nicola Stachurski
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Here is a photo of our soil which, after reading one of your other posts, I guess is a vertisol.

Husband excavated more out of our bigger dam about 3 years ago, and the clay from that is much lighter. I guess this is what is under our "blacksoil". Here is a photo of the pile excavated, and some casuarinas which just popped up on it. To me, it shows how well things can grow when the soil is fluffed up a bit.
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Nicola Stachurski
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Whoops, my boo boo. Perhaps I should preview before posting.

Then there is a photo of a recently planted tree using the new method.
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Nicola Stachurski
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I will plant all those seeds suggested. I came up with the idea of collecting some dock seeds and sprinkling them in the bottom of the swales, to wait for the next big rain. I have in the past crouched at the side of the road picking clover flowers to sprinkle around. I'm going to do the same with dock. I also have some comfrey plants, and if it gets wet enough, I will stick some of them in the bottom of the swales. The only thing is they are dry for most of the year, so I don't know if the cuttings will take.

I can understand why it took your friend 3 years to get enough soil moisture to grow kale. Inner Australia is a dry, dry place. And the sun is unrelenting. I met my husband in central Australia, on a trip to visit my cousin, who was working on a cattle station that was 3.2 million acres. It was endlessly flat, with small scrubby trees. The water sources were called "turkey nests", and they were dams built up out of the surrounding landscape, filled with pumped bore water. My future husband was the bore mechanic on that cattle station. The cattle were Brahmin, which could cope with those difficult conditions.

When an Australian encounters white American culture, it seems very individualistic. I think these 2 place, which have the similarity of being taken over/settled by Europeans in the last few centuries, are very different in that Australian conditions did not bring riches for most, and everyone would have had to rely on their neighbours to survive. It is a place to be humble, and ask for help. It quickly teaches you how small and irrelevant you are. It's a place to learn the meaning of the word "harsh".

I would be very pleased to hear from your friend.

Thanks heaps

Nicola
 
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