Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

A story of microbes, how they can accomplish seeming miracles and how to culture or buy them  RSS feed

 
charlotte anthony
pollinator
Posts: 298
17
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
i have posted in various categories some of my microbe stories. i have been asked to put something together so anyone can inoculate microbes on their land. many microbes love to work with plants, taking the carbohydrates from the plant root exudates thus taking the CO2 from the atmosphere to the soil, in other words you do not have to add huge amounts of organic matter. the microbes will digest each others dead bodies.

having used these microbes since the early 90's i probably have 60 seeming miracle storIes of what they can do to poor soil.

I wanted to whet your appetite with this story.

I have a story from the Victory Gardens where we did 650 gardens in Eugene, Oregon. A woman had not been able to garden at her home for 10 years because the quack grass smothered everything she planted. When our team came, I dug down 18 inches and found quack grass roots as thick as my wrist. Everything in me wanted to dig it out. (I am from a gardening family and spent many years gardening before I discovered permaculture.) One of the things that I teach is that weeds are needed. When the soil succession advances then they are not needed. So I simply took off the grass on the surface and left the roots and put on effective microorganisms and soluble mycorrhizals and we planted her garden. She had about 10 wisps of quack grass which she weeded out that summer. I saw her the other day (6 years after we did her garden) and asked her if her quack grass had returned. She said every year she seems to get 10 bits of quack grass which she weeds out. In all of her neighbors yards, there is a lot of quack grass.

in her case as i was spearheading 4 gardens a week during this time, i used effective microorganisms from TerarGanx (google this) and soluble mycorhizzals from fungi perfecti (Paul Stamets). It cost about 3.00 per garden. In India i used givumreetum, a combination of cow dung, molasses, cow uripe and a legume powder. Apparently indiginous microorganis will work better. there is a lot of information in the korean natural farming about how to make IMO's.


when i was in biodynamics we would make stinging nettle tea and comfrey tea which were both nonaerobic. (we fermented for weeks with a little stirring, one minute in one direction and one minute in another direction. there is talk in some quarters of never using anything nonaerobic or anything which smells bad. the stinging nettle tea and comfrey tea are both nonaerobic and they both stink but i used these for years with great results. as we used the EM out of a closed bottle, we were much criticized by master gardeners for using nonaerobic microbes. The EM microbes are facultative. when in nonaerobic conditions they will be nonaerobic but when exposed to air they will change to aerobic. The EM is grown from bokashi and is mainly digestive bacteria. They have even made a version for human consumption as it really improves human health as well as soils. and why not, our human bodies work in conjunction with billions of microbes inside of us and when they are not doing well, we get unhealthy.

when i was in india at one point my arms were covered with mosquito bites and were swollen to twice their size. I noticed after spreading the gibumreitum with my right arm that it had gone to regular size and the bites were no longer itching. so i immediately switched arms so i could have the benefits on the left arm.

i posted another story about growing in pure sand subsoil. In this case i repeated the microbes, givumreetum every 10 days. there was a failed monsoon and i wanted to get some homeopathic water to the plants and thought i would combine functions. i even did a control. there was on the farm some cow manure which was several years old mixed with coire (from coconut husks) and I put that on 50 feet of my corn, eggplant, spinach tree, tomato, medicinal herb and bean planting. the composted section did better the first week, but by the end of the second week the 5 acres planted without compost had caught up with the composted section. i treated the composted section with the givumreetum also so do not know long run how it would have done if i had not treated it with geevumreitum.

would love to hear your own stories about how microbes have transformed your soils.
Staff note (Burra Maluca):

This has been a very controversial thread. Originally it seemed to based on a quote from Elaine Ingham, but the quote turned out to be a mis-quote and we were asked to remove all trace of it, which I think we succeeded in doing. Many claims have been made, many opinions offered, and much skepticism abounds. At one point the whole thread was removed, but as the thread was so popular and so many people have shared their views and experiences, we agreed to put it back. Finally we had a member sharing experiences of working with the OP, which seemed to throw even more confusion into the mix. We have decided to let this thread stand, though it is now locked and no further discussion will happen here. Permies.com does not necessarily endorse any of the information provided here, but neither do we feel it is appropriate to remove it from public view. Please, use your own discretion in whether or not to believe or apply any of the methods discussed here.

 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I'm willing to try pretty much anything if I can replicate your "end to quack grass" story. Is there anything more specific I need to do, or just add "effective microorganisms from terrorganics (google this) and soluble mycorhizzals from fungi perfecti "?
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
charlotte anthony wrote: terrorganics


Maybe that is a misspelling?
 
Richard Gorny
pollinator
Posts: 266
Location: Poland, zone 5
49
books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I have extremely sandy soil, but in cool temperate climate. I would like to know more about givumreetum, but google searc returns nothing. Can you please share a recipe or method of preparation? What are proportions of ingredients? Is legume powder a powder from dry plants or from legume seeds?
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2082
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
181
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Everything keeps coming back to our friends the microbes!
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 576
Location: Los Angeles, CA
49
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
It would appear to me the just as important (or perhaps even more important) as introducing beneficial microbes to your bio-system, is to create a habitat for those microbes to continue to live, thrive and multiply.

Thus, while the evidence of the benefit of compost teas, comfrey tea, etc. is still largely anecdotal, with scientific studies showing mixed and inconclusive results, we do know that soil that has high levels of carbon and a multiplicity of living roots will be thriving with biological/microbial life. So it doesn't make much sense to go to great lengths to brew microbial-rich teas if we are introducing them into soils that will not be able to support them. Please hear this: I'm not in any way against microbes. Clearly they are an essential keystone to the soil food web. But the question of whether or not the best way to build microbial communities is via compost and comfrey teas is still very much open to debate. But what we do know is that if you build the "house" for them, they'll come into that house and take up residence.

Imagine going to a pet store, buying a dozen tropical fish, and then dropping them into an empty aquarium. They look full of life . . . for a bit . . . flopping around, and doing fish stuff . . . but within a short time the environment I've introduced them to will not sustain them.

I believe that most soil has the parent material for all the microbes you will ever need ---- but we need to create the environment for them to multiply and thrive. (Putting the water into the aquarium). By dumping copious amounts of carbon onto the soil surface via organic mulches and chop and drop gardening, you create the habitat your microbes need. In the rare circumstance where there are not adequate soil microbes, a one-time "jump start" of compost or compost tea might be needed to introduce these microbes, but from then on, you only feed the system, not the tea.

Every time it rains on my food forest, I am getting thousands of gallons of compost tea spread over the surface of my food forest. How? I've got 6 inches of wood chips, mulching and decomposing on every open surface, and thousands of plants pumping root exudates into the soil. That rain washes through the composting wood chips and pushes those microbes down into the root zone of those plants, where they feed on the sugars provided by the plants. I'm not brewing anything, but I don't have to. Further, because plants self-select and feed the microbes that they find most beneficial, I don't have to worry about brewing the "right" kinds of microbes: the plants are already doing this for themselves.

As permaculture is all about biomimicry, this is exactly what is taking place in a forest. The rain washes through the carbon layer on the forest floor, and the microbes there-in wash down into the soil profile. No one is brewing compost tea out in the forest, but the soil is getting everything it needs. Nowhere in nature will you find compost teas being sprayed onto the leaves of trees.

Build the right home for the microbes, and they'll multiply and distribute themselves aggressively. But if you are pouring microbe rich teas onto denuded and bare soils, it's a lot of effort for minimal return.

 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 750
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
76
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Found this recipe for jeevamrutham.
 
John Weiland
Posts: 933
Location: RRV of da Nort
43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for this thread Charlotte .... and Karen L., thanks for the link to the jeevamrutham. Anyone see any reason why pig dung/urine would not work as well? Also, can one use regular table sugar in place of the jaggery?....I can get the latter in town, but regular sugar (sucrose) could be easily obtained from many sources close by. One real curiosity here relates to seedling starts indoors that we initiate in April, but often the plants get somewhat spindley under the grow lights and then start to succumb to a rapid root/stem rot. (We are pretty careful not to overwater during this period.) I'd be curious if this concoction would help suppress that fungal infection. Also just generally interested in how this would help other garden plants. Thanks for the links!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I will try brewing up some weeds and things and see what happens!

 
charlotte anthony
pollinator
Posts: 298
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
all of you who want more science please refer to soil biology scientists. there are many who have come out of the laboratory and doing on the land trials as they find this so urgent for our times.

i always plant some cover crops if there are not weeds in place to form plant exudates to begin the microbe explosion. once the explosion happens, the bodies of the microbes are a basis for increased organic matter, millilons of times more effective than adding mulch.



there is a big difference between the soil science that soil scientists are doing which is soil biology and the NPK folks starting with the agronomists.
(this is soil chemistry)

thanks karen layne for finding the givum.... reference.
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1524
Location: Pacific Northwest
195
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Charlotte, I was wondering if you'd be able to give me some feedback on the conconction I've got going. The homemade microrganism dressings that you talked about sounded a lot like the liquid manure I've read about. So, I tried to make some. Do you have any advice as to whether the liquid manure I'm making will create the miracle microorganisms you mentioned, and how long I should let it ferment? I've been stirring it 3+ times a day, and tomorrow will be day three. Little white bubbles come up whenever I stir it. Here's the recipe of my concoction:

nicole alderman wrote:
I got a five gallon bucket and filled it 4/5ths full with about equal parts comfery, horsetail, nettle, and bindweed (the Farmer's Handbook recommended morning glory, so I'll put that horrid bindweed to use!). Then I made a little sack out of some hole-y needlework fabric stuff and put about 1 cup of wood ash from my woodstove and three horse manure "nuggets" (the recipe asked for fresh manure, but I didn't want that on leaves I plan on eating, so I took some that had been sunbleached for about three months.) and then filled the five gallon jug with catfish poop water from when my husband cleaned the tank. My toddler and I had a lot of fun stirring it with a stick. Maybe my husband will locate one of his old airstones and I can put that in the bucket to keep it aerobic.


Any advice would be great, as I know very little about this subject! Thank you!
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 576
Location: Los Angeles, CA
49
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Charlotte:

Soil microbes: good. Absolutely good. But maybe my post didn't make sense—so I'll try to restate it. Brewing a big batch of microbial tea but then putting these same microbes on less than ideal habitat will only result in the quick demise of those very microbes. Whatever gains you earn from your efforts will be, in my view, short lived.

But if you build the habitat, the microbes will naturally replicate and your soil will be teeming with life. If you concentrate on brewing tea but ignore mulching and building soil carbon, your results will be short-lived, like dumping carefully grown fish into an empty aquarium.

In the forest, nobody is brewing the weeds with expensive bubblers and carefully spraying these microbes around. But nature does cover the ground annually with leaves, branches and other carbon rich bio-mass. Yet no soil is richer in microbial (and fungal) life than forest soil.

Given my choice between putting my energies toward temporary microbial teas, or more permanent soil building mulches that will self-populate with microbes, the latter seems more productive.
 
charlotte anthony
pollinator
Posts: 298
17
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
marco. i have at least 10 different times put microbes into very poor soil such as sand subsoil, clay subsoil, where there was almost no organic matter. the results were fantastic crops, beautiful black soil a ways down, one time 18 inches down in 3 months. the microbes ate the earth and multiplied and the soil became resilient and lovely and great crops grew.

i believe in imitating a forest and we are planting cover crops not to till under but to coaver the soil and to eat and for the dynamic accumulator affect of all these crops supporting each other including the ones i want to sell.

i was reading the Secrets of the Soil (I think that is the title, the same authors as the Secret Life of Plants) and there were several chapters there about the forests in Europe which were dying from diseases probably from toxic wastes. one person worked with azomite and another worked with rock dust and the forests came back from very diseased to healthy with both of them. i had borrowed the book from a friend who was doing a course with elaine ingham and i said to him what is the common denominator here. he said both azomite and rock dust if in tiny particles would feed the microbes and that made total sense to me. i laughed because all the masters gardeners had criticized me for thinking i could just add microbes and not be concerned about what they would eat.

most permaculture people think that growing food is a whole lot of work, and that is a recurrent theme on permies. i said before what if you do not have to haul in a lot of mulch, which i do not, do a lot of ground preparation, which i do not. i do plant stuff for chop and drop. what if people just plant vegetables in among the cover crops which we are doing here, a la gabe brown.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
charlotte anthony wrote: beautiful black soil a ways down, one time 18 inches down in 3 months.


How often were the microbes applied in that scenario?

 
charlotte anthony
pollinator
Posts: 298
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
in that scenario 18 inches of black friable soil in 3 months, only only one application of microbes.

someone had scraped the top soil off the land. the ground was so hard even after i flood irrigated it that i had to use a pick ax to plant. i planted only big seeds. Then i planted carrots and onions by bringing top soil over from my other garden and barely covering the seeds. i put 5 gallons of good soil from my other garden on the whole 100 x 40 plot, along with 5 gallons of several year old llama manure and the microbes. nothing else.

i was weeding about a month after i planted. (this is my usual routine to weed about a month after i plant). the purpose of the weeding is to make sure that the weeds are not growing taller than the plants. if they are at this point i cut them off. this is because of the microbes working with the roots. at that point i pulled them out. so here i was going down the row pulling weeds out when i remembered that the soil had been rock hard. so i got a shovel and dug down. 6 inches of black top soil, soft reslient. i had the best carrots ever, about 14 inches long in the soil that was black down to 18 inches,

where i am now we will not use any compost. 20 acres too much for our kitchen scraps so only microbes and a lot of seeds for dynamic accumulator interaction.

again several times have used no fertilizer, only microbes with great results. as i said elsewhere one time when there was almost no water, i did put on many applications of the microbes, every 10 days. i will also do this here on the 20 acres because it is so dry and getting what rain there is to hold in the soil is the basis of our success.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
charlotte anthony wrote:in that scenario 18 inches of black friable soil in 3 months, only only one application of microbes.


Was there irrigation and/or regular rain? How much?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but I'm sure we're all interested to be able to replicate your results.



 
charlotte anthony
pollinator
Posts: 298
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
permaculture to me is always site specific. as i said before i have used some type of microbe innoculation for 25 years. and every site i have been on (except once in India where one of the workers kept throwing away my "concoctions," and another time near Portland where i got so busy building deer fences that i forgot the microbes and they have always worked, meaning i have had wonderful crops with minimum fertilizer. before i went to india i was adding some compost, adding some azomite, adding a lot of water. I was liberated to find out in india that using nothing but the microbes and a tiny bit of rain had worked, much easier.

a friend in india told me that he had used the microbes and they had done harm. i said put that on the facebook page for zero budget natural farming with their 20,000 members and see what they tell you. the microbes do not do harm.

the 18 inches of soil in 3 months was in colorado in the summer where there is almost always no rain. water comes from the mountains in ditches and i was flood irrigating. at that point i was not into minimum water (as i am now). but it is an interesting idea if with less water i need to add more microbes. i would check to see if this is true.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks!
 
Joe Bourguignon
Posts: 18
Location: HolgateHomestead, PDX, OR
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Here's the link to Terraganix, which is what I believe Charlotte was referencing:

http://www.teraganix.com/

Hope this helps! I've really appreciated this thread, and look forward to incorporating some of the methods in my garden & greenhouse! Thanks all!

-joe
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
charlotte anthony wrote:in that scenario 18 inches of black friable soil in 3 months, only only one application of microbes.



I have been lead to believe that it takes nature 100 years to produce 1 inch of topsoil, so 18 inches would take 1,800 years. Presumably, all the microbes that you can buy exist in nature already, so I don't understand how purchased microbes can do something in 3 months that would taken 1,800 years for the same naturally occurring microbes to do. Could you elaborate on the subject, or point me to relevant reading material please?
 
Ben Allan
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you sharing this story Charlotte. We wanted to chime in and share that we too use Effect Microorganisms (EM-1), compost tea and other botanical teas like brewed alfalfa tea (tons of nitrogen for plant growth) and sprouted seed tea (sprout some seeds, grind them up, add them to water for enzymes and growth hormones). We are working on a system to deliver these to our nursery plants more so than our garden beds, since one does not need to spray all that often in the garden. Especially if mulch is present. Yay for the microcosm below!

We wanted to share this video for those interested in the cow manure tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QPYwxJ91A4
Also to share Jagannath's great selection of videos. He has a great system of gardening that more of us can adapt to reduce our footprint in the garden as far as inputs are concerned. We use very similar Natural Farming techniques, in how we use our weeds for teas and mulch, watering only when absolutely needed and have started to adapt his poly-culture style kitchen garden into our processes.
 
Susan Doyon
Posts: 149
Location: Massachusetts
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Charlotte Anthony
I would love to understand more how the microbes stop the quack grass and if it affected negatively any other plants
I am having trouble keeping up with grasses and hedge bindweed in my vegetable and strawberry areas
 
Bryan de Valdivia
Posts: 39
Location: Family farm in Mid-MO & Apt windowsill
3
forest garden fungi tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
charlotte anthony wrote:most permaculture people think that growing food is a whole lot of work, and that is a recurrent theme on permies. i said before what if you do not have to haul in a lot of mulch, which i do not, do a lot of ground preparation, which i do not. i do plant stuff for chop and drop. what if people just plant vegetables in among the cover crops which we are doing here, a la gabe brown.

Hi Charlotte,

wow, great stuff in this thread, thanks! Regarding the technique of interplanting vegetables in cover crops, do you have more information on this? I googled Gabe Brown, but all I could find about cover crops had to do with broadacre applications, whereas I'm reading what you're doing as home garden scale. Do I have this right?

Many thanks for your time, looking forward to learning more.
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1524
Location: Pacific Northwest
195
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I just realized that yesterday I somehow managed to edit my previous post, rather than quoting part of it and making a new post. Since i don't think Charlotte will see my question way up there, I'm reposting it down here...since this is where I intended it to be!

Charlotte, I was wondering if you'd be able to give me some feedback on the concoction I've got going. The homemade microrganism dressings that you talked about sounded a lot like the liquid manure I've read about. So, I tried to make some. Do you have any advice as to whether the liquid manure I'm making will create the miracle microorganisms you mentioned, and how long I should let it ferment? I've been stirring it 3+ times a day, and tomorrow will be day three. Little white bubbles come up whenever I stir it. Here's the recipe of my concoction:

Nicole Alderman wrote:
I got a five gallon bucket and filled it 4/5ths full with about equal parts comfery, horsetail, nettle, and bindweed (the Farmer's Handbook recommended morning glory, so I'll put that horrid bindweed to use!). Then I made a little sack out of some hole-y needlework fabric stuff and put about 1 cup of wood ash from my woodstove and three horse manure "nuggets" (the recipe asked for fresh manure, but I didn't want that on leaves I plan on eating, so I took some that had been sunbleached for about three months.) and then filled the five gallon jug with catfish poop water from when my husband cleaned the tank. My toddler and I had a lot of fun stirring it with a stick. Maybe my husband will locate one of his old airstones and I can put that in the bucket to keep it aerobic.


Any advice would be great, as I know very little about this subject! Thank you!
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Nicole Alderman wrote:
I got a five gallon bucket and filled it 4/5ths full with about equal parts comfery, horsetail, nettle, and bindweed (the Farmer's Handbook recommended morning glory, so I'll put that horrid bindweed to use!).


I think I'll try something like that, without the manure and wood ash.
 
Sher Miller Lehman
Posts: 15
Location: Hawaii
2
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Charlotte for this interesting thread. As one of a handful of people certified by Master Cho (Korean Natural Farming) to teach his methods in the United States I am very familiar with soil microbes as well as Dr Inghams work. I would like to offer a few thoughts.

Cows are not the same as pigs, cows being grass eating ruminants and pigs being omnivores. They probably both work but the results will be different microbial communities. I imagine the cow dung would have a higher ratio of bacteria to fungi which is what you want on veggie crops while trees want fungal dominance.

I wonder at the meme that wood chips are good for everything. Wood chips force microbial communities to be highly fungal. As wood breaks down a nitrogen deficiency is created initially, fine for tree forests but detrimental to annual veggie type plants with a short lifespan. Veggies like bacterial dominant soil communities. (I saw wood chips become a fad when landfills stopped accepting pallets and other wood waste. The marketing for wood chip mulch everywhere for everything was well done.)

Seedlings that fall over and die from the root are "damping off" which is caused by fungal infections. We have a seedling formula we soak seeds in prior to planting. Since using this formula I have not had any damping off problems. One ingredient is IMO which inoculates the seeds with beneficials which crowd out pathogenic fungi.

As for rain leaching microbes into the soil, rain is not needed. Microbial communities are robust and complex and include bacteria, fungi, viruses, and all manner of things, including small animals like collembola and at the apex of this ecosystem is worms. The microbes are going to move around on their own and by natural processes. Insects and all matter of critters are going to move things around. Then worms come. Worms are the tillers. They can dig down multiple meters deep. Wherever they travel they take with them and deliver as worm poo, all manner of microbes. Once you have microbes the worms will come. Once you have microbes and worms the goodness will spread deep and wide. Master Cho has turned lava rock in Kona into soil just by inoculating with Indigenous Micro Organisms (IMO). (There is a little more to the technique than just adding microbes but the microbes are the active ingredient.) I gained 6 inches of topsoil in clay, hard, highly acid, devoid of available nutrients and any signs of life clay in less than 10 years. The 6 inches was not including the clay that turned to soil but an additional 6 inches of topsoil build-up. It was so high I had to dig out buried root flairs lol.

Using Indigenous Micro Organisms gives you a robust and balanced microbial community. Dr Ingham was amazed at the balance she saw when she visited us. If you purchase Bokashi or EM or other products you are only getting a small number of only a few species of microbes, hardly a community and not one that is in balance with the environment in which you live. Natural, balanced microbial ecosystems that will not fight (causing imbalances and opening the door for pathogens) your existing microbial community. It is easy and almost free to collect, grow, and store indefinitely, your own IMOs.

Making it involves dry cooked rice (1:1), a wood box with small gaps, or a woven box, with critically important 1/3 airspace, covered by a breathable top, then covered with litter from a close-by forest, (you can inoculate the rice in the forest or bring the leaf-litter-soil home). The leaf litter inoculates the rice and in a few days should like like cotton candy puff. Add and mix an equal amount of sugar to rice by weight. Here is a link to the instructional paper on the CTAHR website, University of Hawaii. How to make IMO You can also find more Natural Farming papers on the site that My group and I co-wrote.

IMO#4 is used to inoculate normal soil a week before planting. If soil is poor it is inoculated, wait a week inoculate a second time, wait a week then plant. IMO#4 includes starches and nutrients to get the microbial communities established in the soil. For best success biochar is added with the IMO#4. Biochar is broadcast on the soil surface once a year for three years and doesn't need to be added again. There is no need to mix in IMO or biochar, the microbes do the work. How permaculture is that?

IMO is also aerobic. It therefore excludes most all anaerobic microbes. Most pathogens are anaerobic. Anaerobic stinks. I like using aerobic cultures much better. Because it is a balanced entire ecosystem, harmful pathogens are almost entirely excluded. There are no empty houses for the gangsters to move into.

IMO is also added to animal water, food, and bedding, has many other uses, and keeps indefinitely. Please understand that Cho's system is a system and is not the same as an ingredient. As beneficial as IMOs are, alone it cannot be called Cho's Korean Natural Farming. His system is designed to mimic nature and reduce effort. It's an integrated system designed to feed the soil microbes directly, and involves all levels of plant and animal life. Inputs are made of locally available materials. All of these no-cost/low-cost inputs are edible. Nutrients are used when needed and are bio-available, just like industrial chemicals are (Organic nutrients need to be converted but Cho's inputs are already converted) yet are completely edible, safe, and non-toxic.

Sorry, I could go on for days. If anyone wants more info let me know.
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 576
Location: Los Angeles, CA
49
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
charlotte anthony wrote:marco. i have at least 10 different times put microbes into very poor soil such as sand subsoil, clay subsoil, where there was almost no organic matter. the results were fantastic crops, beautiful black soil a ways down, one time 18 inches down in 3 months. the microbes ate the earth and multiplied and the soil became resilient and lovely and great crops grew.


With all due respect, sand + microbes does not turn that sand into carbon-rich, organic laden soil. Only by finding a way to integrate carbon down into such mineral soils (sand, clay or any other) do you build humus. So while I completely agree with you about the critical necessity of building healthy microbial communities, microbes do not eat sand or eat clay. Worms may pass fine sand or clay through their digestive track as they consume organic material, but that doesn't change the geologic material from mineral to biologic. Clay remains clay; sand remains sand, eaten or uneaten.

The biological process of breaking organic material into humus is well documented. This is biology. The chemical process by which mineral deposits (rocks, et. al.) are transformed over time to clay, loess and silt is also documented. This is a process of both chemistry and physics. But transforming mineral soils to carbon rich humus . . . that would be alchemy.

I'm not trying to be a jerk here. I'm seeking to maintain the prime directive of this board: be nice. I deeply respect your experience on multiple continents of helping people build healthy soils, and even gave you a piece of pie in appreciation. But we must be careful with our language: Microbes cannot eat the earth, they can only eat carbon rich bio-mass, and thus produce rich soil.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Marco Banks wrote: But we must be careful with our language: Microbes cannot eat the earth, they can only eat carbon rich bio-mass, and thus produce rich soil.


Could the microbes be taking atmospheric carbon (CO2) and turning it, with their dead bodies, into humus?
 
Victor Johanson
Posts: 377
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
13
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Todd Parr wrote:
charlotte anthony wrote: terrorganics


Maybe that is a misspelling?


http://www.teraganix.com/
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 978
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
122
books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Aloha Sher! We've probably met somewhere along the journey here on Big Island, but just don't know it. When Dr Cho was in Hilo, I attended his program. I found it to be quite informative. It helped me understand why the methods I learned from my grandmother worked so well. Plus gave me plenty more ideas to explore and experiment with. Talking with him (via a translator of course) encouraged me to focus on soil health and IMOs. I'm still fiddling with the system to determine what works best on my farm during wet years vs drought years, but the farm has dramatically improved since incorporating many of Dr Cho's suggestions.

I am not very familiar with Dr Ingham's work, though I have read the free material she offers. Someday it would be nice to attend her course but it is difficult for me to allot that amount of cash outlay on my tight budget. Sigh. Any tidbits and insight would be greatly appreciated though.

I'm seeing that the micro-organisms in farming/gardening appear to be just as important and influential as those found in animals' guts. There is surely plenty of need for more research and learning about the how, what, & why when in comes to micro-organisms.

I tend to be a skeptical person, so I don't instantly accept novel information. But the concept of using IMOs in my farming has proven to be very beneficial. Perhaps not miraculous as some people claim, but for me, it works! My grandmother's favorite gardening saying was, "Feed the worms." I've modified that to, "Feed the micro-organisms." Same thing, just a different target.
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 576
Location: Los Angeles, CA
49
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:
Marco Banks wrote: But we must be careful with our language: Microbes cannot eat the earth, they can only eat carbon rich bio-mass, and thus produce rich soil.


Could the microbes be taking atmospheric carbon (CO2) and turning it, with their dead bodies, into humus?


There is a great article in the most recent Permaculture magazine (the UK version, not Cassie's newly launched US version) on "How to Permaculture Your Life". It's written by Ross Mars, an Aussie Permaculture teacher. He speaks about fermented garden fertilisers. He writes:

"The digestion of plant and animal material can be undertaken without air (anaerobic) or with air (aerobic). Fermentation, by definition, is an anaerobic process, but we use it here to include any digestion of organic matter, with or without air. Some bacteria do not require oxygen to survive, and they are able to use plant or animal material as their food source. [my note -- carbon based food sources, not mineral] When this occurs, various gases are produced as a by-product of the digestion process. These mainly include methane, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, but may also include sulfur oxides, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. All of these gases need to be vented from the system, otherwise gas pressure builds up and liquid and gas explosions can occur."

He then goes on to talk about how he brews biofertilisers in a drum, captures methane to feed the biogas system, and his various formulas using manures and decomposing organics. He then states:

"When you open the lid, beware!—it may stink. If it does smell badly then the product should not be used—it most likely contains pathogens. While biofertilizer does smell, it is not unpleasant—it should smell like typical ferment."

That would be anaerobic digestion. By it's very definition, AEROBIC digestion needs oxygen, and the byproduct of microbial aerobic digestion is CO2.

In either scenario, CO2 is a byproduct of microbial digestion, not a fuel for it.

As far as I know (and I'm certainly open to correction), the only way living organisms use CO2 as a fuel is through photosynthesis, which cannot occur underground. Fungi do not metabolize CO2. They need O. Are there any microbes that digest CO2 as their fuel and turn that into body mass? If so, I've never heard of them. Only plants can take CO2 and with solar energy, transform it from a gas to leaves, branches, apples, sweet potatoes and Christmas trees. Mushrooms need O to metabolize food, not CO2 (mushrooms are biologically closer to an animal than they are to a plant, which might create an interesting ethical question for a vegan).

So, I suppose that if you were to dump massive amounts of microbial rich tea on your soil, and the bodies of those microbes went down into the soil structure and died, yes, this would add carbon. But can you imagine the volume (and thick viscosity) of that tea to make that kind of difference? Your tea would have to start with half a barrel of pure sugar to build that volume of microbial life -- perhaps even more. It wouldn't make sense, and it's not what is being suggested in this thread. But in that scenario, the microbes would be eating sugar, not CO2.

Again, I'm not trying to pick a fight. I'm all about BE NICE. Moderator, if I'm not in compliance here, just delete this post and the one above. I merely want us to be as precise as we can in our language, and our promised expectations.

YES microbes. Go microbes. I LOVE microbes. Feed the microbes! All rise in support of the mighty microbe. But they eat pig poop, grass clippings and rotten sandwiches, not beach sand. Long may the microbes live, breed in our soil, and create symbiotic relationships with the roots of your apricot trees. May they work in harmony with the carbon produced by plants (root exudates) or pooped out my worms and other biota to feed the soil food web. And when I die, don't cremate me -- compost me. Don't pump all that lovely carbon up into the sky, but put it below the surface of the soil for the microbial herd to do their thing. No fiberglass or steel box for me: just 100% organic cotton clothing and, if you must, a simple pine box. Did you know that kosher caskets have no metal in them? No screws or metal handles -- it's all doweled and glued. A permaculture casket, if one is needed at all.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, yes that makes sense. I was just feeling around for some kind of explanation of where the humus could possibly have come from....

Incidentally, now my question seems entirely stupid. Oh well!

 
Marco Banks
Posts: 576
Location: Los Angeles, CA
49
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:Thanks, yes that makes sense. I was just feeling around for some kind of explanation of where the humus could possibly have come from....

Incidentally, now my question seems entirely stupid. Oh well!



I so appreciate your candor, Tyler. Not stupid -- I think it's a logical question. If trees can take CO2 and turn it into humus, couldn't animals? Good Q.
 
charlotte anthony
pollinator
Posts: 298
17
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I thank you all for this amazing dialog and learning together session. I am working away on my demonstration garden here in eastern Oregon and this kind of dialog really is good for me and i hope all of us.

Maro: re microbes eating soil. I was taught that microbes is what turned the rocks into soil when there was no soil on our planet. They are still doing this.

Toby Hemminway on humus is a must read for all of us.. Who knows if this is true but what these scientists are reporting is that humus was an artifact created by the scientists measuring tools. There is no stable material that the soil is building on. It is all in flux, constantly building constantly degrading. See for yourself.

This is from Toby Heminway

Some amazing news on the soil science front. Humus doesn't exist. Several recent articles are showing that humic and fulvic acids and many of the other humic components of soil are artifacts of the alkaline treatment that is used to measure humus content, and don't, in fact, exist in untreated soil. When OM is measured using non-destructive methods such as NMR spectroscopy, no humic compounds can be found. Organic matter does not degrade into "stable" humic components, it simply decomposes into a continuum of smaller and smaller carbon compounds. There is constant, slow turnover of carbon in soils, not a semi-permanent trapping of carbon into "humus." Humus, meaning a stable form of carbon visualized by alkaline extraction, seems not to exist. It's an artifact of the lab method. This is kind of blow-away news for those of us who teach soil science--and it's a good lesson on how the methods we use determines what we see. Teachers, start revising how you teach soils, and stop talking about humus.
Most of the articles on this are behind journal paywalls, but some of the abstracts are available. One article is Lehmann, J.; Kleber, M. (2015-12-03), "The contentious nature of soil organic matter", Nature 528:60-68. There is a short video based on that article linked below.

How is carbon stored in the soil?
This video gives a short summary of a scientific article published in 2015 by Johannes Lehmann and Markus Kleber in the journal Nature (volume 528, pages 60 ...
YOUTUBE.COM

Thank you Victor johanson for the proper spelling of teraganix

Thank you Sher Miller Lehman. Was just going to look for a bokashi recipe so we can make bokashi on our farm.. Am so happy for your understandings via your work with Master Cho. I personally greatly appreciate your input here and please keep giving us input.

I need to say this: I am not of the mind set that “I” have to create a perfect balanced ecology. What I believe is that I have to move myself out of the way and see how nature wants has been accomplishing this and how with minimum changes can further the process along. So I listen to what the plants want and what the whole system wants. While I am certainly seeing lacks of the juniper/sage systems that are currently in my location, I also know that nature has a plan which I want to serve. When I was a body worker,( I was trained as a chiropractor), I found myself naturally looking for the place the human system with the smallest input from me would balance itself. We helped at least 100 people with end stage cancer, (only 2 people had cancer at the end of 3 months) and many hundreds of others in fairly short time, with these methods. So though I knew nothing of systems theory at the time, I was using it effectively. So I see that whatever microbe concoction is used is beginning a shift and the ecosystem with use it how it likes. I value all of your information and only want to keep our eye on the real ball. After studying “medicine” in great depth for many years I only learned that we do not know and will never know what the human body (read human ecosystem) is really about. I do not want to learn exactly how to manipulate any ecosystem.

Nicole Alderman catfish poo, wood ash, nettles, comfrey, horsetail, bindweed. Gee Nicole, the wood ash sounds a bit harsh, maybe use 1 tblsp. Am so glad you are adding in whatever comes your way, I think this is the essence of permaculture. You will refine your listening capacity for yourself and feel when you add too much of one thing, ideally before you plants complain.

Bryan de V re Gabe Brown, yes he is broad acre. I also am broadacre. This is the video I am talking about

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_GEpq59urY
Keys To Building a Healthy Soil - Organic - Permaculture and Polyculture
Gabe Brown Soil Conservationist - Explains how to remediate and build up your soil

It is not about gardening but about broadacre farming. In fact because of my doing 650 gardens in Eugene, Oregon and then in india doing broadacre work, I have had to come up with methods that work without a lot of off site materials or a lot of labor for that matter. I did a huge vegetable patch maybe 2 acres in India with myself and 1 other woman. (It was mixed in with 5 acres of coconuts). The application to gardening is obvious. What if we can grow vegetables and every other thing with 1/10th the work, with no fertilizers and no additional water. This is my work, as I said, how can we do the minimum and balance the whole ecosystem. This is what is needed in these times for ending drought, reversing desertification, mitigating climate change.

As to the discussion of stink, anerobes vs aerobes i will go by Paul's writing above, viva la difference. science is not the be all and end all, see humus discussion above. I have been using smelly concoctions with great results for 50 years and will continue to do so. will do a stinging nettle concoction this week. In training to be a doctor (chiropractor) i learned the scientific method. if there is one thing which does not fit the theory, then the theory is not complete. biodynamics is practiced by hundreds of thousands of folks around the world and these concoctions work.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
 
Erin Cross
Posts: 15
Location: Spacecoast Florida
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Will these native type microorganisms accumulate in a vermicompost bin if fed propperly? I have a bin I supply with the usual food scraps, but the bedding for the bin is dried then wetted weed and grass clippings, and scoops of decomposing leaves from under my oak tree. Will there be lots of good microorganisms in there? I have seen benefits from the actively aerated vermicompost tea I've brewed. Is vermicompost tea an effective way of distributing the microorganisms and inoculating my very sandy soil?
 
Greg James
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Marco Banks wrote:It would appear to me the just as important (or perhaps even more important) as introducing beneficial microbes to your bio-system, is to create a habitat for those microbes to continue to live, thrive and multiply.

Thus, while the evidence of the benefit of compost teas, comfrey tea, etc. is still largely anecdotal, with scientific studies showing mixed and inconclusive results, we do know that soil that has high levels of carbon and a multiplicity of living roots will be thriving with biological/microbial life. So it doesn't make much sense to go to great lengths to brew microbial-rich teas if we are introducing them into soils that will not be able to support them. Please hear this: I'm not in any way against microbes. Clearly they are an essential keystone to the soil food web. But the question of whether or not the best way to build microbial communities is via compost and comfrey teas is still very much open to debate. But what we do know is that if you build the "house" for them, they'll come into that house and take up residence.

Imagine going to a pet store, buying a dozen tropical fish, and then dropping them into an empty aquarium. They look full of life . . . for a bit . . . flopping around, and doing fish stuff . . . but within a short time the environment I've introduced them to will not sustain them.

I believe that most soil has the parent material for all the microbes you will ever need ---- but we need to create the environment for them to multiply and thrive. (Putting the water into the aquarium). By dumping copious amounts of carbon onto the soil surface via organic mulches and chop and drop gardening, you create the habitat your microbes need. In the rare circumstance where there are not adequate soil microbes, a one-time "jump start" of compost or compost tea might be needed to introduce these microbes, but from then on, you only feed the system, not the tea.

Every time it rains on my food forest, I am getting thousands of gallons of compost tea spread over the surface of my food forest. How? I've got 6 inches of wood chips, mulching and decomposing on every open surface, and thousands of plants pumping root exudates into the soil. That rain washes through the composting wood chips and pushes those microbes down into the root zone of those plants, where they feed on the sugars provided by the plants. I'm not brewing anything, but I don't have to. Further, because plants self-select and feed the microbes that they find most beneficial, I don't have to worry about brewing the "right" kinds of microbes: the plants are already doing this for themselves.

As permaculture is all about biomimicry, this is exactly what is taking place in a forest. The rain washes through the carbon layer on the forest floor, and the microbes there-in wash down into the soil profile. No one is brewing compost tea out in the forest, but the soil is getting everything it needs. Nowhere in nature will you find compost teas being sprayed onto the leaves of trees.

Build the right home for the microbes, and they'll multiply and distribute themselves aggressively. But if you are pouring microbe rich teas onto denuded and bare soils, it's a lot of effort for minimal return.



Bravo, sir. Great post.
 
charlotte anthony
pollinator
Posts: 298
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
greg, marco, i am glad that you agree with each other.

i want to say again that i have planted in pure sand subsoil and many other sad situations where there was no organic matter except what the microbes themselves made. the plants thrive magnificiently. anecdotal, so what, it works. it takes a lot of the work out of farming and it allows us to take wasteland and grow biofuels or food. it allows farmiers to earn a good living. it stops starvation. it would reverse desertification, end drought, mitigate climate change.

i would not bother to state this again except that this revolutionizes how we practice permaculture. when Gabe Brown says that it has taken him 20 years to accomplish what he has done bringing the organic matter of his soil to from 5 - 11 and the resultant water that his soil will hold. he also says that if he knew when he started what he knows now he could do it much quicker. he even talks about someone he was teaching taking 1/2 of a field treated with chemical fertilizer and the other half with no fertilizer and mixed legumes and grasses and the production was either better or equal to the fertilized section the first year. he did not tell us what he knows now, it might be better grass and legume combinations or it could be innoculating with microbes. with me, i know that innoculating with microbes would give excellent yields in the first year (or lets give another year to be safe) even on land with where chemicals were used. the sand subsoil project i did was on land where chemicals were used the previous year.


please look at this video

The Roots of Your Profits - Dr Elaine Ingham, Soil Microbiologist, Founder of Soil Foodweb Inc
Oxford Real Farming
 
Ray South
Posts: 64
Location: Northern Tablelands, NSW, Australia
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Very interesting thread. The message I'm getting is that soil/flora/fauna interactions are incredibly complex. If one were to do an inoculation of poor soil with EM then plant, would said plant do well enough to make a significant contribution to soil improvement? Surely it would fare better than if no EM were applied.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 750
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
76
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Read more posts by Charlotte Anthony on this topic in the thread "Turning Sand into Soil". See Similar Posts at the bottom of this page.
 
Your mother was a hamster and your father was a tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!