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Elaine Ingham's revolutionary claims. And BEMOVI  RSS feed

 
C Sanct
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Elaine Ingham claims that virtually all soils in the world contain all the the nutrients plants need. Fertilizer (organic or synthetic) is totally unnecessary. Microbes solubilize all plant nutrients. This is revolutionary. How do we verify this?

I feel like she's been making this claim for a while now, and people haven't been paying attention to it. Let's get this out in the open and verify this.

As for different microbe farming methods, how does Soil Food Web compost tea method differ from Cho's Korean Natural Farming IMO? How is it different from Zero Budget Natural Farming's cow poop microbe teas? What microbes does a well made compost tea have that a KNF IMO rice box inoculant from healthy woods doesn't? Or a cow manure tea?

Also I don't know if I should post this part here or a different section, but have any of you heard of BEMOVI software? Ingham speaks of how important it is to analyze your compost and compost teas for the proper microbial life. This requires an understaning of morphology to identify bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, microarthropods, etc. However, now with this software the computer can recognize microbial species and identify them as such. Take a look.



http://bemovi.info/

I see this as an amazing tool to get in the hands of everyone. This should be open source. I'd like to see what Open Source Ecology would do with this. Standardized and streamlined methods of analyzing your own soil life could expedite the process of understanding and creating perfect compost.

But before we all become microbial masters, we need to know if Elaine speaks the truth. Is she right?
 
John Weiland
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@C Sanct: "Ingham speaks of how important it is to analyze your compost and compost teas for the proper microbial life. This requires an understanding of morphology to identify bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, microarthropods, etc."

Actually, although the characteristics you indicate would be desired, they are not necessarily required to initially analyze one's compost tea for the constituent microbial species.  As such an analysis would be getting the ball rolling on these understudied teas, one could use the metagenomic profiling of microbial communities over the life of tea incubation to observe the abundance and change of species during this period.  It may be best in such a situation to set up the experiment so that tens or even a few hundred experimenters with their own local tea take samples of the tea at defined intervals, then see (after application to plants) which individuals had what would be considered "success" with the tea.  These would be the handful of treatments that could be analyzed in greater detail for microbial species distribution and abundance for any commonalities between the different locations.  For more background, see:

http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/1/e02288-14.full
 
John Elliott
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Oh, she is correct, but most people don't understand what she is saying.  They think that dirt and soil are the same thing -- they aren't.  Dirt is made up of clay, silt, and loam, and may have abundances of certain minerals that plants can use.  If you plant in dirt, you may get lucky and get a good crop.

Soil is alive.  In addition to clay, silt, and loam, there is dead and decaying plant and animal matter and things that can make a living consuming what is decaying.  Decaying plant and animal matter pretty much has all the nutrients growing plants need, so that obviates the need to add any more "fertilizer" in the form of chemical compounds (ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, potash, phosphates).  If you plant in soil, you don't need luck to get a good crop.
 
Tyler Ludens
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John Elliott wrote: Decaying plant and animal matter pretty much has all the nutrients growing plants need


What is the purpose of adding "microbes" (compost teas, etc) if the plant and animal material is already decaying (indicating the presence of "microbes")?

 
John Weiland
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@Tyler L: "What is the purpose of adding "microbes" (compost teas, etc) if the plant and animal material is already decaying (indicating the presence of "microbes")? "

And in all seriousness, Tyler, **that** would be the title of the grant for whomever would like to investigate it. **If** microbial teas are somehow better than other composted means of improving soil, then some "standard" form of composting would have to serve as a control in the experiment to see if there truly is a difference.  And replicated as much as possible in as many environments as feasibly manageable.  But just to stress that we can pose the question you asked and leave it as a gedankenexperiment ("dry labbing"), but it will pale in power and comparison to the real experiment ("wet labbing").
 
C Sanct
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@John Elliott
I was under the impression that any soil's mineral content contained all the elements needed for a plant. It's not so much the decaying matter (although whatever nutrients the organic matter had would presumably be made available also). The message I took from Ingham was that the compost isn't the "fertilizer" but rather it's the vessel carrying all the required microbes which would then solubilize nutrients and eventually turn them into their non-organic form that plants can take up. So if that's the case,  then even when it's still "dirt" and not yet "soil" the nutrients are still all there, waiting to be worked upon by microbes. I'd like to hear more from you about nutrients from decaying matter vs. from mineral content of soil.

@Tyler Ludens
I don't know, but perhaps it has something to do with introducing the other microbes other than the bacteria and or fungi that we can already witness breaking down matter. For instance, maybe protozoa that feed on bacteria are missing, or beneficial predatory nematodes aren't found in the right ratio etc. In addition to this, it could also be that we're boosting the numbers of beneficial organisms already there to turbo charge the whole process.

@John Weiland
I don't think the claim is that compost teas are better than normal compost. In fact, I've heard Ingham mention that applying well made traditional compost itself is just as effective or more so. Compost teas allow for a surge in microbial population. The compost brewing machine is a breeding ground to multiply numbers and stretch the benefits of compost over a larger area.
Metagenomics sounds very interesting, especially about using it to track the shift of microbial communities over the life of the brewing process. Unless I'm mistaken though, it would still be costly and require trained professional lab technicians, correct? I see BEMOVI software as something that every interested farmer with a computer and a microscope could take advantage of. If it was designed to become stream-lined and user friendly then it could have tremendous potential.
 
Craig Overend
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While I agree with Elaine that most of our soils have all the minerals plants need, building and then holding onto them in a form that creates lasting fertility especially in upper part of the soil profile is the challenge.
From soil microbiome studies I've read, soil moisture plays a large role when it comes to maintaining microbial population and diversity. What some studies have found is that when the interval between rain events increases in some climates, then after about two weeks microbes slow and become dormant, and the longer the dry period, the more microbes die off and the less diversity you end up with. Diversity in the form of both microbes and the plants that fed on the nutrients the microbial ecosystem provided. And when the rains do then come, all those dead decaying microbes may wash away with their nutrients and exudates and so the soil organic matter declines along with the ability of soil to hold onto those nutrients.
Studies also show that clearing land, tilling and practices that reduce habit, compact soil, increase soil acidity, reduce soil moisture and increase soil density, and dramatically alter the soil composition and microbial community. This in turn impacts the amount of soil organic carbon sequestered and can end up creating a tipping point of ecosystem collapse. I remember seeing a comparison of conventional till, no till, no till organic, and biodynamic microbiome studies and microbial population and diversity went in that order. In restoring ecosystems where she recommends tilling once, adding microbes and plants back in the form of compost and cover crops, or teas for ecosystems on the brink, I have no doubt when done properly will in the short-term help restore these ecosystems to a stage where they can harvest and hold more moisture to allow the microbes to survive the long-term and mine and cycle nutrients in a way that the system becomes regenerative.
However I don't see compost tea as a magic bullet, and there's a big difference between regularly feeding with liquid fertiliser in the form of what some people call compost tea, and restoring ecosystems such that they are regenerative and proceed or are moved through succession.
I'm sure the quality and composition of the compost or tea matters in the short-term, however every microbiome study I've read says another thing long-term.
They all show that long term it's the inputs in the form of plant litter, animal manure, soil organic matter in the form of plant root diversity, and climate that ultimately dictate soil community. That the bacteria:fungi relationship of soils ultimately depends on these inputs, not the other way around.
I like to use soil organic matter as a measure of soil fertility, and organic matter like biologically diverse compost is amazing stuff. It has large surface area, holds lots of moisture and increases the cation exchange capacity or ability of soil to hold onto minerals that dissolve in water. As a result it provides easy access to food and habitat for plants and microbes to cycle and sequester carbon from the atmosphere in the form of plant roots and microbial cells. However without something like carbon the building block of life to hold onto those minerals and nutrients that dissolve, and for microbes to build from them, soil simply erodes and compacts, and so we till it and/or think we need constant inputs to maintain fertility.
One of the most interesting aspects of biochar for me is it's ability to last in soils, filter water, and hold onto moisture and nutrients thereby forming macroaggregates that reduce soil density and improve water infiltration and prevent erosion. The importance of keeping our top soils up top can't be underestimated if we want long-term fertility.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Craig Overend wrote:What some studies have found is that when the interval between rain events increases in some climates, then after about two weeks microbes slow and become dormant, and the longer the dry period, the more microbes die off and the less diversity you end up with. Diversity in the form of both microbes and the plants that fed on the nutrients the microbial ecosystem provided. And when the rains do then come, all those dead decaying microbes may wash away with their nutrients and exudates and so the soil organic matter declines along with the ability of soil to hold onto those nutrients.


This would seem to indicate that regular irrigation is at least as important, if not more important, than applying special microbes.  Maybe the secret to microbes improving the soil is that the people applying the microbes are irrigating at the same time...

 
John Weiland
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@C Sanct: "...every interested farmer with a computer and a microscope could take advantage of."

Possibly, but I'd need to see a cost analysis of a system that would be capable interfacing with the computer and software and enumerating the bacteria in the manner indicated.  Given that Permies individuals run a broad range of interests and priorities, I'm not sure how applicable it would be across even most of those farmsteads.  Still, it is an interesting concept, especially as it monitors aspects of microbial activity that metagenomics can't---such as real-time movement/motility, interactions/aggregation with other microbes or inert particles, etc.  The two might complement each other. But you are right that metagenomics would, in the short term at least, still require "contract work":  Sending your tea sample to a lab for DNA prepping, genetic typing, and bioinformatic analysis.  All of which is coming down in price radically, but also all of which is relying on an infrastructure that many in permaculture are trying to get away from....which is fair enough.
 
John Elliott
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C Sanct wrote:@John Elliott
I was under the impression that any soil's mineral content contained all the elements needed for a plant. It's not so much the decaying matter (although whatever nutrients the organic matter had would presumably be made available also). The message I took from Ingham was that the compost isn't the "fertilizer" but rather it's the vessel carrying all the required microbes which would then solubilize nutrients and eventually turn them into their non-organic form that plants can take up. So if that's the case,  then even when it's still "dirt" and not yet "soil" the nutrients are still all there, waiting to be worked upon by microbes. I'd like to hear more from you about nutrients from decaying matter vs. from mineral content of soil. 


If there is no biological activity, the you are doing chemical agriculture. And, as any chemist will tell you, when you start consuming reactants, they go away.  Usually exponentially, sometimes with a different power law, but they are used up, not available for more growth.  Essentially, that is what modern factory farming is about; they've abused the soil microbes with over-tilling and applications of pesticide, fungicide, herbicide, nematicide, and other -cides, so that it is just chemical agriculture.  They put the seeds in the ground, add chemicals, and watch them grow.   If the dirt is a jumble of many different types of sand, rocks, and gravel, there's a good chance all the micronutrients are there as well.  If not, well, Monsanto has a product they can sell you.

Now when there is lots of biological activity, the living take their growth from the decay of the dying.  Hence, all the nice pictures in elementary school science books about carbon cycles, nitrogen cycles, phosphorus cycles, water cycles, and more.  But enough about the big picture, let's consider an example of a specific micronutrient that would be representative of others.  How about cobalt?  Estimates of its abundance in the Earth's crust are around 25 ppm, but only 20 ppb in the ocean.  Now all vertebrates need cobalt, it is the metal ion that holds vitamin B12 in its proper shape.  How do we get it?  The human body contains about 15ppm of cobalt, but we can't count on getting it from rolling about in the dirt, where it is only about 10 ppm higher.  Even if we could, cobalt in the soil is often not in a form where we can absorb it into our system. To get it to be biologically active, it needs to be chelated, like it is in vitamin B12. In decaying matter,  the cobalt is biologically available, at least for a while.  But if it is burned, or if the chelating organic molecules are destroyed in some other manner, then the cobalt may get transformed to cobalt oxide, which effectively takes it out of the biological cycle.

And what about those large fish in the sea?  There isn't any mineral content (cobalt) in their environment for them to get, not unless it is already in some other critter and they eat it. So when a large fish is burned and the cobalt in it is removed from the biological cycle, it is a long slow road to get it back in.  Some fungi can solubilize cobalt, but it is toxic to many fungi, so there is a wait until the right type of fungus comes along.  Another route is being taken up by bacteria, where it plays a key role for the nitrogen-fixing bacteria found in legume roots.  Rhizobium species can take up inorganic (chemically applied) cobalt, for example as cobalt sulfate, and the microbes that eat the rhizobium can begin sending up higher and higher in the food chain.  In fact, if you take a detailed look at the biochemistry of cobalt, you find that there is a lot less of it needed in the plant kingdom than in the animal kingdom.  There isn't enough cobalt going from soils into plants to sustain the amount of animal life in the biosphere.  We have to get it from other animal matter.

So maybe I haven't picked that representative a micronutrient:  cobalt to make B12 comes almost entirely from animal sources, which is why it can be problematic for vegans.  But it makes a great example for how we get nutrients from decaying matter than directly from the dirt.

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Elaine Ingham has done and is doing remarkable work.  When I took her course, I was in awe, and quoted her every chance I got. 

Then, I read "the intelligent gardener" by Steve Solomon, who was composting like crazy and building his soil.  All the while he and his family experienced deterioration of their health.  In such situations, it would be possible to say if you are not getting all the minerals you need, you are not doing it right, and that is a point of view I think is dangerous.

I learned a lot following Ingham's teachings, and my soil benefitted hugely from it, but possibly even she does not have a perfect understanding of what's going on in the soil.  Other equally remarkable soil scientists disagree here and there with some of her teachings.

What is BEOMOVI?  Maybe I am way off topic.
 
Craig Overend
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
This would seem to indicate that regular irrigation is at least as important, if not more important, than applying special microbes.  Maybe the secret to microbes improving the soil is that the people applying the microbes are irrigating at the same time...


Absolutely, maintaining moisture for a healthy, diverse and active population will hold more nutrients in the soil. The worry is that with climate change we'll see longer periods between rain events and that natural ecosystems will suffer for it. To augment arid areas that might not have the moisture for microbes in order to maintain high fertility, fertigation as mentioned in Steve Solomon's book Gardening Without Irrigation Or Without Much Anyway may be beneficial, and compost teas may be a good choice there to get through long dry periods where water is scarce.
In a recent podcast with Elaine she mentions that the ions of minerals dissolved in water that are then attracted to the surfaces of sand, silt and clays in soil, will after about 2 weeks detach without the biology to hold onto them in place using exudates and glues like Glomalin-related soil proteins.
You can listen 30 mins in here if interested.
A glue like Glomalin that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi make could take 7–42 years to biodegrade, now that's some long-term fertility holding there! From recent news I also understand that individual water molecules themselves are needed for the protein folding that takes place to create proteins like these glues.
 
Craig Overend
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John Weiland
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Re: Craig O's link---

The abstract from that intriguing original article in Nature Plants:

"Many natural ecosystems have been degraded because of human activities1,2 and need to be restored so that biodiversity is protected. However, restoration can take decades and restoration activities are often unsuccessful3 because of abiotic constraints (for example, eutrophication, acidification) and unfavourable biotic conditions (for example, competition or adverse soil community composition). A key question is what manageable factors prevent transition from degraded to restored ecosystems and what interventions are required for successful restoration2,4. Experiments have shown that the soil community is an important driver of plant community development5,​6,​7,​8, suggesting that manipulation of the soil community is key to successful restoration of terrestrial ecosystems3,9. Here we examine a large-scale, six-year-old field experiment on ex-arable land and show that application of soil inocula not only promotes ecosystem restoration, but that different origins of soil inocula can steer the plant community development towards different target communities, varying from grassland to heathland vegetation. The impact of soil inoculation on plant and soil community composition was most pronounced when the topsoil layer was removed, whereas effects were less strong, but still significant, when the soil inocula were introduced into intact topsoil. Therefore, soil inoculation is a powerful tool to both restore disturbed terrestrial ecosystems and steer plant community development."

And an additional brain teaser for the desert Permie from the same issue:

"Desert plants possess highly evolved water conservation and transport systems, from the root structures that maximize absorption of scarce ground water1,​2,​3,​4,​5, to the minimization of leaf surface area6 to enhance water retention. Recent attention has focused on leaf structures that are adapted to collect water and promote nucleation from humid air7,​8,​9. Syntrichia caninervis Mitt. (Pottiaceae) is one of the most abundant desert mosses in the world and thrives in an extreme environment with multiple but limited water resources (such as dew, fog, snow and rain), yet the mechanisms for water collection and transport have never been completely revealed. S. caninervis has a unique adaptation: it uses a tiny hair (awn) on the end of each leaf to collect water, in addition to that collected by the leaves themselves. Here we show that the unique multiscale structures of the hair are equipped to collect and transport water in four modes: nucleation of water droplets and films on the leaf hair from humid atmospheres; collection of fog droplets on leaf hairs; collection of splash water from raindrops; and transportation of the acquired water to the leaf itself. Fluid nucleation is accomplished in nanostructures, whereas fog droplets are gathered in areas where a high density of small barbs are present and then quickly transported to the leaf at the base of the hair. Our observations reveal nature's optimization of water collection by coupling relevant multiscale physical plant structures with multiscale sources of water."
 
William James
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A similar thread.
http://permies.com/t/54925/soil/Add-Add

-William
 
Tyler Ludens
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" competition .......steer plant community development."


I wonder how inoculating soil would help to reduce competition from non-native herbaceous plants ("weeds") so that native herbaceous plants might grow?  Or are they talking about inoculating to favor grasses over herbaceous "weeds" or to favor trees over grasses or ?

 
pete host
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I cannot make up my mind on Elain Ingham's recent activity (past 10 years) because she has left the field of scientific studies, and her claims on compost tea are not backed by the kind of evidence I'd like to see / read about. There's a thread on permies where Diego Footer chimes in which is interesting (about a few regenerative ag proponents) if one wishes to read between the lines.
Another woman does excellent scientific work, its Christine Jones  and luckily she's not retired from scientific publishing. I tend to follow her articles.

My main problem with compost tea is that it does very little for fungal innoculation (it cannot) and macro-arthropod / nematod breeding. ACT breeds mostly bacteria. I've gotten excellent results on some species, nilch on most others. I've decided to let it drop, and replace ACT with soil structure tending (including making fungus rich compost and mulch), which takes a few years, but gives significant results in my soil tests.
 
Tom Strode
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I found a number of takeaways in Dr Inghams work.

The synergistic action of the soil micro-organisms with the plant roots was one. For the soil to work it has to have roots in it, so cover crops work better than mulch.

It's the diversity of the micro-organisms that make it work. The bacteria content hits a ceiling, then boosting fungi (up to 75%) gives more improvement. But you still need the higher organisms, nematodes and arthropods. It's a dynamic process that is constantly adapting. So, there's no magic inoculant that is going to work for everyone, every time. The best you can do is introduce as broad a spectrum of micro-organisms as you can, and hope you are supplying what's needed, when it's needed. It seems to me that reinoculating periodically might help in case something died out because the necessary habitat for it hadn't yet developed.

Not tilling or disturbing the soil while it is developing it's diversity is important.

A biggie, that doesn't seem to get mentioned in the discussion of "tea's" is that anaerobic is bad. At  
   there's a guy collecting soil micro-organisms, and it looks like a pretty good technique. But then, he soaks it in water/nutriment for a month which is going to make it go anaerobic and defeat his whole purpose. I think that he could do an active aeration extraction, or just mix the rice into his topsoil, and be way better off.

I haven't heard Dr Ingham address biochar. It seems like it would be beneficial but there is some controversy about it. It's something I want to get into, but I haven't yet. Does anyone have a DIY on building the Kon-Tiki?

There's lots more that could be said on any of these subjects (and many more), but while you focus on any one of them it's important to remember that they all work in a synergistic way. If you change any part of a system you change the whole system. Even something that gives you a big boost isn't good if it throws a healthy system out of balance.
 
pete host
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Tom Strode wrote:
A biggie, that doesn't seem to get mentioned in the discussion of "tea's" is that anaerobic is bad.


I agree that vanilla ACT needs to be aerobic, yet old and tested practices such as nettle manure (to mention only one, there are lots of variations) clearly go into a long anaerobic phase. Anaerobic is not bad per say in a tea, depending on what one intends to breed.


Tom Strode wrote:
The synergistic action of the soil micro-organisms with the plant roots was one. For the soil to work it has to have roots in it, so cover crops work better than mulch.


Very true. I now tend to mulch, plant crop seeds, then now and then, just weaken whatever grows inbetween (either cover crop i planted or plain "weeds") by slicing it very roughly with a hoe in one quick pass. That being said, in an intensive organic garden, theres root enough per square inch even with mulch added. The thing that lacks is plant diversity, and I guess weeds / diverse-cover-crop play an essential role here as comes to roots, so I dont suppress them, just weaken them a bit to give my main crop a headstart. I need to mention I live in an area which combines the disadvantages of drenched soil (in the winter & spring) and arid soil (in the summer & autumn) : soil is very thin, rock-layer is not deep, and building as much good soil/humus as possible, fast, is a priority. Mulch (letting cattle quickly trample a cover crop is my favorite mulch method) + no till helps a lot. ACT didn't have obvious impact on my test beds. Now on other soil profiles it might be the other way around. Its mostly the silver-bullettery of ACT i'm disagreeing with.
 
John Elliott
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pete host wrote:I cannot make up my mind on Elain Ingham's recent activity (past 10 years) because she has left the field of scientific studies, and her claims on compost tea are not backed by the kind of evidence I'd like to see / read about.


Were we to sit down with her and ask her, over a beer, how did her latest grant proposal go, we would get an earful.  Imagine trying to get a grant from the NSF to study the effects of different compost teas on plants, and the proposal is sent out for review to three of her "peers" who do consulting work for Monsanto.  Or maybe their research is funded by Cargill.  I can imagine many scenarios where the door to funding would be slammed in her face. 

Just something to think about. Then ask yourself "what permaculture research is the USDA funding?"
 
Tyler Ludens
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John Elliott wrote:
Just something to think about. Then ask yourself "what permaculture research is the USDA funding?"


They probably won't call it permaculture, because permaculture is a design system and not a method of farming.  But appropriate practices might be researched, and funded, under the name "agroecology" and "agroforesry"

http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/06/18/agroecology-program-ag-research-is-more-than-farming/

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=agroforestry.html
 
John Weiland
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....and to add to Tyler's list:  https://nifa.usda.gov/program/sustainable-agriculture-program
 
John Elliott
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OK,  $30million proposed for Sustainable Agriculture Research out of a discretionary budget for FY2017 of almost $1.4 billion.  (See here: http://www.obpa.usda.gov/budsum/fy17budsum.pdf )

Is that a lot?  If you take half of that number for researcher salaries, $15 million pays for about 100 researchers at the going burdened rate.  I wonder how many others are vying for those dollars besides Dr. Ingham.
 
John Saltveit
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Pete Host wrote:
My main problem with compost tea is that it does very little for fungal innoculation (it cannot) and macro-arthropod / nematod breeding. ACT breeds mostly bacteria. I've gotten excellent results on some species, nilch on most others. I've decided to let it drop, and replace ACT with soil structure tending (including making fungus rich compost and mulch), which takes a few years, but gives significant results in my soil tests.


JS says, AACT can do a lot for fungal inoculation. you have to do it right, though. Elaine told me personally about this many years ago, and she explains it carefully.  You need to make fungal compost tea, which is different than making bacterial compost tea.  This is usually made through different containers simultaneously. Then you can use this to inoculate a fungal substrate, like wood chips, which you have placed on the soil. This will help to rebalance your soil.
John S
PDX OR
 
John Weiland
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@John E. " .....ask yourself "what permaculture research is the USDA funding?.....$30million proposed for Sustainable Agriculture Research out of a discretionary budget for FY2017 of almost $1.4 billion(??)"

Sure, the budget will be skewed....but what else would you expect given the history of the nation, the agency, and the priorities?  And the awarding and distribution of the grants will likely be as political.  But it does address your original question of what kind of research that is permie-related that the USDA is funding.  More importantly in my mind is the fact that lack of USDA, corporate, or other forms of funding do not prohibit one from publishing their results if formulated properly.  There can be other means (donations, foundations) that can be solicited for funding that may be more into supporting research at the 'margins'.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Other research  organizations:

http://www.sare.org/Grants

http://ofrf.org/

http://rodaleinstitute.org/our-work/research/
 
C Sanct
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John Elliott wrote:
C Sanct wrote:@John Elliott
I was under the impression that any soil's mineral content contained all the elements needed for a plant. It's not so much the decaying matter (although whatever nutrients the organic matter had would presumably be made available also). The message I took from Ingham was that the compost isn't the "fertilizer" but rather it's the vessel carrying all the required microbes which would then solubilize nutrients and eventually turn them into their non-organic form that plants can take up. So if that's the case,  then even when it's still "dirt" and not yet "soil" the nutrients are still all there, waiting to be worked upon by microbes. I'd like to hear more from you about nutrients from decaying matter vs. from mineral content of soil. 


If the dirt is a jumble of many different types of sand, rocks, and gravel, there's a good chance all the micronutrients are there as well. 


cobalt to make B12 comes almost entirely from animal sources, which is why it can be problematic for vegans. But it makes a great example for how we get nutrients from decaying matter than directly from the dirt.



Ok then about point 1. you seem to be in agreement with Ingham. Here's a quote from her that really drives home how adamant she seems to be about this claim she's making

"Mineral nutrients: The crystalline strucutre of clay, sand, silt, rocks, pebbles, etc hold within it a great deal of EVERY nutrient that plants require. Bacteria and fungi make the enzymes to remove those nutrients from that crystalline lattice work and pull those nutrients into the body of bacteria and fungus, retaining, holding and keeping those nutrients bound inside the organism. The organic matter, or food, for the bacteria and fungus to do this work is usually provided by the roots of plants, or to a lesser degree, organic matter present in the soil. Consider that there is no soil on this planet that lacks nutrients. Do not be mislead here by thinking I'm talking about SOLUBLE nutrients, because I'm not. Plants need a certain amount of each nutrient important to that plant's growth. Those nutrients are present in the sand, silt, clay, rocks, pebbles, gravel, parent materials, and so forth. No soil lacks the nutrients to grow any plant you care to grow. Please look at tables that show TOTAL NUTRIENT CONCENTRATIONS from all soil, in any part of the world where they have been tested. All the nutrients the plants could possibly want are present. And if life is present, every second of every day, new nutrients are being replenished in that soil from the bedrock, parent materials, rocks, boulders, pebbles, gravel..........etc. Until the bones of the planet are gone, there will always be nutrients in the soil."

So let's look at these tables that show "TOTAL NUTRIENT CONCENTRATIONS" as she puts it and see if that's true. That should be relatively easy right? Where could we find something like that to verify her claim?

I see your second point about cobalt as reassurance that it's not the minerals in a soil that are ever lacking but rather the biological pathways to make the nutrient usable to a certain organism. This would reinforce the idea that all we really need to do is supply the proper biology to a soil ecosystem so that all minerals in the soil are solubilized and filtered in the proper way for plant consumption. Would you agree with this? If anyone disagrees please explain why
 
John Saltveit
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So the solution is to get all of the biology going.  I had added wood chips, leaves, compost tea, and other mulch for years.  Yet, when I added the minerals that my soil needed based on a soil test, it did much better. Some trees flowered for the first time. Many fruit trees have fruited every year since then and hadn't fruited before.  Although I think that the soil may theoretically have those nutrients, on a practical basis, I think the Steve Solomon method works.   This is directly adding the minerals one time into your soil that has had high amounts of organic material for awhile so the minerals can be absorbed.  I also added mycorrhizae, through the Rodale method of dipping grass plants into the myco spores and having them touch the roots.  I also did the blue collar method of tossing dirt from a mature specimen of the same species into the root area.   I agree with Ingham that all of the biological processes are important, but I think the Steve Solomon method is a faster way to get there, so I do both.
John S
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William James
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http://www.soilminerals.com/Ideal_Soil_Main_Page.htm

FYI: Supposedly where Steve Soloman got his ideas from.
W
 
John Saltveit
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Certainly Albrecht and Sir Albert Howard are among the giants of soil science. This information is widely distributed in Ag science classes, so I would say that Steve Solomon is drawing from this general source of information and his experience within it.
John S
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John Polk
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John Saltveit wrote:Certainly Albrecht and Sir Albert Howard are among the giants of soil science. This information is widely distributed in Ag science classes, so I would say that Steve Solomon is drawing from this general source of information and his experience within it.

Steve freely distributes many of the Albrecht & Howard books, plus many others through his AU library:
Soil & Health Library

 
Thekla McDaniels
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could someone please post what BEMOVI stands for?  I know I'll feel like an idiot when it is spelled out for me, but I just can't figure out what it means.
thanks
 
John Weiland
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"BEhaviour and MOrphology from VIdeos (BEMOVI), illustrated with analyses of microbes..."
 
Thekla McDaniels
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thanks. I NEVER would have figured that out.  Only on much pondering do I recall that behavior and morphology are how Ingham teaches us to identify the bacteria fungi protozoans nematodes and so forth, not to genus and species so much as categories of pathogens or anaerobes - obligate or facultative, or in the case of nematodes, root eaters or fungi eaters or bacteria eaters..
 
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