I just wanted to clarify something. I did not mean that fungi could magically make phosphorus or any other nutrient appear out of nowhere. I meant that if the phosphorus/ potassium or phosphorus/ calcium or the calcium/ iron balance were off, the fungi would feed their plants properly regardless. Steve Solomon's big point is balance, a fairly exact balance. And according to him our sheet mulches and hugelkultures are filling the land with potassium, thus throwing off the balance with phosphorus. But I think that the fungi this woody matter encourages makes this problem irrelevant. MOST land contains SOME of the various nutrients SOMEWHERE. If it does not, you will have to import it.
allen lumley wrote:Gilbert F. : For a partial answer look up 'Mother Tree' Good luck! For the Crafts ! big AL
It was actually worse than he understood. Plants uptake as much potassium as there is available in the soil, and concentrate that potassium in their top growth. So when vegetation is hauled in and composted or when animal manure is imported, large quantities of potassium come along with them. As will be explained shortly, vegetation from forested regions like western Oregon is even more potassium-rich and contains less of other vital nutrients than vegetation from other areas. By covering his soil several inches thick with manure and compost every year he had totally saturated the earth with potassium. Its cation exchange capacity or in non-technical language, the soil's ability to hold other nutrients had been overwhelmed with potassium and all phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients had largely been washed away by rain. It was even worse than that! The nutritional quality of the vegetables grown on that superhumusy soil was very, very low and would have been far higher had he used tiny amounts of compost and, horror of all horrors, chemical fertilizer."
I conclude that organic matter is somewhat dangerous stuff whose use should be limited to the amount needed to maintain basic soil tilth and a healthy, complex soil ecology.
Troy Rhodes wrote:By the way, if you really really like to do soil analysis and play by the numbers, adding biochar will significantly if not dramatically improve your cation exchange numbers.