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microbial life in fill dirt!  RSS feed

 
Troy Santos
Posts: 40
Location: Southern Thailand
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Question first:
Anyone have any idea where I might find published or unpublished research on the microbial life of fill dirt?!

Explanation second:
I'm doing a master's degree in Thailand regarding urban agriculture. I've met many people who have fill dirt in their gardens, and many people in my research complain about soil problems and so-called pests. I understand that there are people (Elaine Ingham, and others) who say that the missing ingredient in "dirt" is the microbial life. I understand that fill dirt is really just "dirt" (lacking the microbial life) but I haven't yet found any academic research to back this up.

Now, I don't expect that anyone'll come up with a fistful of recent peer-reviewed journal articles on just this topic (LOL) but if anyone has any ideas where I can look, please tell because I'd really appreciate it. I've looked in two online data bases (Science Direct and Springer) but didn't come up with anything. My advisors can't help with this.

Thanks a ton
 
K Putnam
pollinator
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Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
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I haven't yet found any academic research to back this up. 


There was an interesting guest interview on the RootSimple podcast...hold on, I'll go look it up...Episode 90....that raised this point.  Actually raised a lot of points about the claims that are being made out there about microbial life in soil.  While there were some points in the interview that I think could have been rebutted, I thought others had merit.  It might be worth listening to for a basic critique of some of the claims as you go forward in your research. 

I am rehabbing a bunch of fill dirt, which is something of a nightmare.  There are obviously MANY things lacking in the soil, but given how many chickens and various forms of wildlife and rotting material it has been exposed to over the years, I'm not sure the issue is really microbial life. 
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Troy Santos wrote:
Question first:
Anyone have any idea where I might find published or unpublished research on the microbial life of fill dirt?!

Explanation second:
I'm doing a master's degree in Thailand regarding urban agriculture. I've met many people who have fill dirt in their gardens, and many people in my research complain about soil problems and so-called pests. I understand that there are people (Elaine Ingham, and others) who say that the missing ingredient in "dirt" is the microbial life. I understand that fill dirt is really just "dirt" (lacking the microbial life) but I haven't yet found any academic research to back this up.

Now, I don't expect that anyone'll come up with a fistful of recent peer-reviewed journal articles on just this topic (LOL) but if anyone has any ideas where I can look, please tell because I'd really appreciate it. I've looked in two online data bases (Science Direct and Springer) but didn't come up with anything. My advisors can't help with this.

Thanks a ton


hau Troy,  try some of these searches:

Scientific America, Soil Science,  The science of Soil life, journal of soil science.

Usually the problems with "Fill Dirt" are from contaminants.
When you hear or read about microbial life in soil, they are talking about activated organisms, usually you can find both activated and dormant species in soil (or dirt) samples.
Bacterium, fungal spores and other microbial life forms are just about everywhere on earth, when you find a spot with none of these organisms present, a test battery for poisons is usually positive, meaning the poisons have killed off everything.
When acquiring "fill dirt" the first thing to determine is where it originated and how was it gathered.
If it is coming from construction sites, you need to know what was on that site prior to the current excavation.
Knowing these things, you can make a good determination of what contaminates to either test for or make a good guess of what is most likely to be present.
Remediation of highly contaminated fill dirt will be a long, involved process (previous road bed source for an example).

Redhawk
 
Troy Santos
Posts: 40
Location: Southern Thailand
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Thanks guys. K Putnam, I listened to the podcast, and I agree, the guy has some interesting things to say, quite a lot contradicting some core things that Elaine Ingham and others insist on. I always get interested when someone tears down something that I've come to take as truth. But then, jeez ...! Gets just a tiny bit exasperating. A couple of things that he is in accord with is amount of synthetic fertilizers - amount. Don't use a lot! When he says he supports using synthetic fertilizers in a vegetable garden ... a flag goes up for me right away. But I agree with him in principle, don't be dogmatic about organic (or anything for that matter).

RedHawk ... I'll look at those journals you mentioned. Thanks much


 
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