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What do you keep around to help with Soil deficiency

 
Jason Fay
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What organic materials do you keep around to help with soil deficiency?

For ex:

Deficiency in Nitrogen you might put in manure

Deficiency in phosphorus you might put in Bone meal

If this question has already been ask can you please redirect me.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Personally I'm operating on the theory that biologically active soil in combination with polyculture will provide plants with all the nutrients they need.  The only thing I have added has been a little iron, but I probably won't continue with that because I have become paranoid about all the toxic gick one can bring in with outside inputs.  Manure is especially iffy because much of it is now contaminated with Aminopyralid, a persistent herbicide.  I also don't trust bonemeal from feedlot animals.

 
Charli Wilson
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Firstly I've tried to balance my soil to begin with, by adding rock dust and things. A soil test to work out what you need amending is probably the best bet.

That said I do keep in epsom salts and use it as a foliar spray for magnseium deficiency. I also use a chelated iron soil drench/foliar spray. These are the deficiencies I see most often in my area.
 
Jason Fay
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  Manure is especially iffy because much of it is now contaminated with Aminopyralid, a persistent herbicide.  I also don't trust bonemeal from feedlot animals.


I was once offered as much manure as I wanted from a horse farm. I was very excited. Some of it was years old. Then thought perfect. Then I talk with a friend and she mentioned all the antibiotics some of the horses farms pump in to there horses to keep them healthy and good looking. Never would have thought about that.  

edited by moderator to sort out the quotes which had messed up the formatting...
 
Joel Bercardin
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The OP's question is a good one, because – from an agricultural or horticultural point of view – not all locations present ideally rich, balanced natural soil.  One big factor is the mineral composition of the types of rock that yielded the constituents of the mineral soil part of the soil profile.

Tyler Ludens wrote:Personally I'm operating on the theory that biologically active soil in combination with polyculture will provide plants with all the nutrients they need.  The only thing I have added has been a little iron, but I probably won't continue with that because I have become paranoid about all the toxic gick one can bring in with outside inputs.  Manure is especially iffy because much of it is now contaminated with Aminopyralid, a persistent herbicide.  I also don't trust bonemeal from feedlot animals.

Tyler, point well take abut polycultures.  But how long have you been growing food plants in your organically cultivated soil?

Around here, a lot of organic gardeners & farmers have found that certain deficiencies can make themselves more apparent over time (say, 5-15 years).
 
Tyler Ludens
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Joel Bercardin wrote:

Around here, a lot of organic gardeners & farmers have found that certain deficiencies can make themselves more apparent over time (say, 5-15 years).


I suspect they are not using polyculture.

 
Joel Bercardin
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Joel Bercardin wrote:
Around here, a lot of organic gardeners & farmers have found that certain deficiencies can make themselves more apparent over time (say, 5-15 years).

I suspect they are not using polyculture.

Tyler, how would you supply potassium and boron to soils where the plants show these deficiencies (and where soil tests, too, indicate these deficiencies)?

Second question: In my area, many people want to have blueberry patches.  Our originally-forest soils tend increasingly toward neutral pH in the decades following clearing of the natural coniferous trees (& associated ground-plants) – 60 years after being cleared by the original settlers, my soil tests pH 6.8-7.2 in all sunny spots good for blueberry.  Like most of my organic-growing neighbors & friends, I've reduced and kept the pH down to 5.5 or so, by occasional digging-in of sulphur powder.  How would you manage this sort of pH issue?
 
Su Ba
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Tyler, the idea sounds great, but it's a slow fix. I'm pushing 70 years old and depend upon my homestead for almost all my food. On top of that, my soil is naturally deficient in all sorts of basics, both mineral, organic material, microbes. So hoping that polyculture will sustain me at this point of time isn't realistic. At some point in the future I hope some future owner will have good basic soil in this farm to work with so that they could pursue polyculture permaculture, or whatever other method they wish to sustain. So stating that.....I suspect that a lot of beginners have soil with severe enough problems that it will take years to get them sustainably productive.

On my farm, I practice micro-nutrient feeding. That means that I don't apply my nutrients in one lump amount once a year. Instead I slow feed, often applying small amounts of amendments monthly, bimonthly, or 3-4 times a year depending upon the amendment. I use to do a full soil analysis once a year, but now I've gotten to know my soil well enough that I only do a full analysis once every 3-4 years. But I do basic pH, P and K between each crop, which averages out at every 3 months. This based upon prior test history and what my plants are telling me, I keep a variety of amendments in hand. Mulches. Compost. Manures. Coral sand. Ocean water. Lava sand. Biochar. Heat processed bones (predominately cattle). wood ash. Epsom salt. Borax.
 
wayne fajkus
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Joel Bercardin wrote:
Like most of my organic-growing neighbors & friends, I've reduced and kept the pH down to 5.5 or so, by occasional digging-in of sulphur powder.  How would you manage this sort of pH issue?


Don't grow blueberries
 
wayne fajkus
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I add inputs I have on hand. Chicken trsctor, horse and cow manure. When the cows need hay, I put it where I think its needed. It leaves mulch, urine, and manure concentrated in that area.

I have dealings at the coast and often bring back seawater. I mix it 10:1 with water and put it around my trees.  This year I hope to put it on the whole pasture.

 
Joel Bercardin
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wayne fajkus wrote:
Joel Bercardin wrote:
Like most of my organic-growing neighbors & friends, I've reduced and kept the pH down to 5.5 or so, by occasional digging-in of sulphur powder.  How would you manage this sort of pH issue?


Don't grow blueberries

Gee, thanks. 

But I'd also like to hear Tyler's answer.
 
Tyler Ludens
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The question is "What do you keep around to help with soil deficiency, and I answered that question.  I'm not interested in debating this.  There's plenty of information on the board about polyculture and soil biology.  I'm not telling other people what they should do, I'm posting what I am trying to do.



 
Joel Bercardin
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Tyler Ludens wrote:The question is "What do you keep around to help with soil deficiency, and I answered that question.  I'm not interested in debating this.  There's plenty of information on the board about polyculture and soil biology.  I'm not telling other people what they should do, I'm posting what I am trying to do.

Fair enough... thanks for replying.
 
Casie Becker
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How high is the organic content in that area? On at least one occasion (before I was seriously considering blueberries myself) come across a gardener who said he was able to grow blueberries in fairly neutral soil as long as it had enough organic matter. The old tradition of burying pine boughs in a bed when preparing it for blueberries seems to at least somewhat support this theory. Despite common myth, as those pine boughs break down they produce a very neutral compost. I suspect blueberries soil needs are determined more by the mycorrhizal needs than the plant itself. They rely more on that fungal network than almost any other plant.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Casie Becker wrote:How high is the organic content in that area? On at least one occasion (before I was seriously considering blueberries myself) come across a gardener who said he was able to grow blueberries in fairly neutral soil as long as it had enough organic matter. The old tradition of burying pine boughs in a bed when preparing it for blueberries seems to at least somewhat support this theory. Despite common myth, as those pine boughs break down they produce a very neutral compost. I suspect blueberries soil needs are determined more by the mycorrhizal needs than the plant itself. They rely more on that fungal network than almost any other plant.

You make a good point about the fungal network, from my observation.  I've had my blueberries in for more or less 10 years - some longer, some much less (and I've got only 12 plants).  I've been able to detect the gradual but steady and impressive increase in mycelia during pretty well this whole time.  I put each berry plant into a dug hole, then packed in a mixture of original soil and finished compost.  The whole bed is covered over with sawdust & woodchips.  The plants took a big upturn in health and vigor when I dug in some sulphur and tried to keep the pH down to 6.0 or below.  And the mycelia have continued to increase.  This past year was the high point of yield for us, with a lot of fresh eating, plus preserving of 95 lbs.
 
Su Ba
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wayne fajkus wrote:Don't grow blueberries


I LIKE that line of thought! So many gardeners insist on growing things that are not suited to their land and weather. I see that all the time here in Hawaii with new gardeners. They try growing plants that require winter chill, or other plants that are not tolerant of short days or high temperatures. I'm not above doing a bit of experimenting myself, but I accept that trying to successfully grow slicing tomatoes, summer squash, okra, soybeans, fava beans, and even cacao is going to be real, real iffy if not a failure. I've come to the conclusion that there are limitations on my farm, and growing those "impossible" is just for fun.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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After testing, I'm adding boron (borax) copper (biomin chelated copper spray) and zinc (zinc sulfate) to my soil to correct deficiencies. I would never, ever, ever do this without a test, because it is easy to overdue. More than 4 pounds of total boron in an acre of soil can be toxic. On the other hand, without those 4 pounds in place, nothing will grow very well. So, tablespoon by tablespoon, I'm adding boron in my fertilizer mix and will until the tests show the deficiency is corrected. I also add gypsum to add calcium and sulfur and to slowly leach the excess potassium in my soil, and I add kelp meal to cover trace mineral deficiencies.

As far as organic matter, yes, be careful importing it. It is not as straight forward as bringing in mineral supplements.
 
Angelika Maier
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Testing is ptobably the key unless you are perfect in reading deficiencies on your plants.
 
Karl Trepka
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seaweed as mulch as i live near the sea......great for boost
 
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