• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Is it enough to get life into your soil in order to have good soil and great results ?  RSS feed

 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

well some people state that all you need is to make sure that there is good life into your soil ,  plants of some kind and permanent cover crop and all is well


to me I would like it to be the truth the whole truth with all my heart , but is it really the case , what is your take on the subject people?

are you for it and your own experience telling you so ?


is there something missing ?





 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1081
104
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In a words, yes...without question, science has gotten to the point where it has proven whether you farm conventionally, organically, or permiculturally; soil health is THE thing you should strive for. It is the buzz-word in conventional farming and people should be happy, the message has got across and agriculture is on board with it.

Cover crops are part of the answer, along with minimal tillage, rotational grazing, crop rotation and fertilizer usage. But those are all ends to a means to improve soil health.

My farm, we have had been concentrating on soil health since 1988 and getting the same results as Gabe Brown.
 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
.
Travis Johnson wrote :My farm, we have had been concentrating on soil health since 1988 and getting the same results as Gabe Brown, but do it in different ways, and do it through conventional farming and not organically. We don't have to, soil health is soil health



Travis Johnson , am not sure I got you right , do you mean to say you can go conventionally and still keep soil health ?





/
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 668
Location: USDA Zone 8a
40
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
mostafa ismail wrote:  but is it really the case , what is your take on the subject people? are you for it and your own experience telling you so ?

is there something missing ?


What is missing is water, sun and labor.  It is also a learning experience. 

I can't believe that anyone would say "all you need is to make sure that there is good life into your soil ,  plants of some kind and permanent cover crop and all is well"

My take on the subject is that with good soil then someone might be ahead of the game but without water and sun the plants will not grow.  I don't know about cover crops as we don't use them, maybe we should?

 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anne Miller wrote ; What is missing is water, sun and labor.  It is also a learning experience. 
\
 

Anne . the fine people that I talked about supposing that water,sun and labor are there  

by the way I think highly of them , only am trying to find what might be missing
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
mostafa ismail wrote:
well some people state that all you need is to make sure that there is good life into your soil ,  plants of some kind and permanent cover crop and all is well


I'd need to know what they mean by "and all is well."

 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tyler Ludens ,what I understood from them that every thing would be fine , plants would grow fine , the yield would be ok ,there would be no lack of mineral deficiency you wouldn't would be worrying about soil deseases etc
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would add "plant the rain."  That's the first lesson of permaculture design, to make sure rain soaks into the soil.  Especially in dry regions.  I think there are plenty of examples of this working, but probably the biggest and among the most famous is the rehabilitation of the Loess Plateau.

https://vimeo.com/174613872
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1277
Location: Denver, CO
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd suggest reading Steve Solomon's book The Intelligent Gardener; he claims that if a particular mineral is missing; you'd better add it, because it won't just appear out of the air. (Unless it is nitrogen, of course!) Case in point; after testing my soil, I found that it was almost entirely deficient in boron. So I'm adding it; carefully. That is not something that can be done without a test. Once a mineral is added, so long as you keep a closed cycle going and return all organic matter to the soil, you wouldn't have to add it again.

Of course, to get a closed cycle, you'd have to eliminate the flush toilet. And you couldn't sell any produce off site.

Steve got sick eating almost entirely from his farm; even though he added tons of compost, the proper minerals just were not there, and the imported compost couldn't deliver what the soil couldn't give. (Whole regions often share deficiencies.)

I know many permaculture folks are opposed to adding minerals, but I can't see why. it is just like digging swales or planting trees; put in some work up front, and then reap the rewards for years.

 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1468
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
115
forest garden urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is nearly a trick question. Where there is life in the soil, there is good soil. Where there is good soil there is life. Unfortunately, it can be hard starting this process because how can you get life into bad soil to make become a good soil. Most people, faced with truly bad soil will put in extra inputs (composts, mulches, fertilizer teas, inoculants and so on) to try and jump start the process.

I think the natural progression is that pioneer plants bring life to marginal soil feeding the soil biome through chemicals released from their roots. Over a time these extremely hardy plants support a slow increase in soil organisms until it can support the next level of plant growth. In most cases, the more plant growth and the more diverse that plant growth the faster the soil community grows. This soil community (composed of mostly microscopic bacteria, fungi and the creatures that feed on them) feeds off the root exudates and returun produce chemicals that feed the plants and protect them from disease, and change the texture of the ground itself to make it better manage resources like air and water.

Without plants to feed the soil organisms, most will starve and be unavailable to help future plants. A perennial cover crop is supposed to prevent a devastating 'hunger gap' between annual crops so that the soil biome remains highly populated and vigorous.

Getting there can be tricky, but if you can get to a point where you have a stable and thriving soil it will be teeming with life that is devoted to the support of the plants. To keep their daily supply from the roots they will cover most of the needs of fertilization, pest management and disease prevention.

Does that help?
 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gilbert Fritz wrote : I'd suggest reading Steve Solomon's book The Intelligent Gardener; he claims that if a particular mineral is missing; you'd better add it, because it won't just appear out of the air. (Unless it is nitrogen, of course!)



so in Gilbert Fritz opinion and based on steve solomon's book , it's not enough to have have life in the soil to get every thing going ok for your plants , so we should add mineral to the soil .

who else is with Gilbert on his opinion ?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elaine Ingham claims that all soils have all minerals present, they only need to be unlocked by soil biology:  http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/roots-health-elaine-ingham-science-soil/
 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
well , maybe Dr Elaine Ingham knows more than any body else and maybe she is the more close to the truth .


still when you come to the real farming you got the feeling there is something missing in the equation .

is there any body agrees with me ?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't see anything missing when I look at examples of successful permaculture design.



 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1081
104
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with Tyler.

Even with mineral deficiencies, it all depends on other minerals. For instance there is the Selenium deficiency in the soil in Maine, BUT it really is not a huge issue with my sheep because if you get the magnesium up, it metabolizes in the feed, and thus the sheep better. So TECHNICALLY; yes the is a deficiency, but there are ways to mitigate it. The same with copper toxicity. I have a huge concern with this as my farm has dairy farm manure spread for fertilizer. Its great organic matter, BUT a cow needs copper and too much kills a sheep. Yet when the minerals are balanced in the soil, copper toxicity in sheep is drastically reduced, or put a better way...they tolerate copper better.

In other words it all about balance.

Now there are many ways to get there. The quick, easy way of course is to buy what you are missing, but there are other ways. I have used a product called AlgeaFiber...seaweed...and it not only acts a lime to get the PH closer to neutral, it also has minerals in it that help feed my soil. wood ash would also get the PH up, and get the minerals I am missing. To me this is soil health. Balancing what the soil needs so it grows.

In my experience, it is best to give your soil fertilizer first, with a close second being in getting your soil to a 6.5-7.0 in PH, then tackle the missing minerals. The first two give you a pretty good return for your investment, and while minerals help, not so much as fertilizer and PH. How you do that is up to you. Cover crops, biochar, h. K's, ect. Its all soil health.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Travis Johnson wrote: How you do that is up to you. Cover crops, biochar, h. K's, ect. Its all soil health.


When you say "fertilizer" it looks to me as though you are saying "carbon" because all those you list add carbon to the soil.  Carbon is the basis for life in the soil.

 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1277
Location: Denver, CO
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Travis; so are you saying, yes, import materials, or no, don't?
 
Joel Bercardin
Posts: 241
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I’m not posting this in a spirit of debate but to share something I’ve experienced in raising vegetables, fruit, and grains (mainly corn) for a long time in a specific location.

We're on the "toes" of a mountain ridge.  On our place we’ve paid a lot of attention to making sure our productive soil areas have a living soil due to the presence of humus, moisture, mycorrhizal networks, etc. We’ve never been able to escape the fact that on most of our land we have quite a sandy mineral-soil under the organic “topsoil” layers, nor that this mineral soil naturally provides certain needed plant nutrients much more than certain others.

The mineral composition of the parent rock that a soil's mineral particles come from varies from locale to locale.  For instance, particularly rich potassium mineral deposits are found in certain places, such as in the coastal plains of New Jersey:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/nj/soils/?cid=nrcs141p2_018868

Compare that sort of natural richness with the occurrence of limestone (containing forms of calcium carbonate), which is quite widely distributed in areas where there was (at one time or another) a sea present for thousands of years:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limestone#Limestone_landscape

Neither pure potassium-rich soil nor pure calcium-rich soil would be a good general farming soil, and most crops might be weak at best if you tried to grow them on such a soil.  But I think even those two examples show how the composition and balance of mineral can vary a whole lot from one place to another.

I really only investigated the little bit of science involved in the above after I gained my direct experience.  But it boils down to this: the visible and microscopic critters that live in the soil and enliven the soil don’t add certain essential minerals to the topsoil, because the job of their food chain is to process these from the mineral soil.

Some years ago I took soil samples from numerous spots on our garden areas, areas cultivated for a short time and areas cultivated for a longer time.  All of the samples turned out low in potassium.  When we supplemented our potato ground, for example, with potassium, we got more and larger spuds – even though this ground already had a lot of humus.  When we supplemented the raspberry and blueberry ground (even though this already had a lot of humus and mycorrhizae), we got more abundant and larger berries.

Do I think that good permacultural practices can help with soil health and yields?  Definitely.  But if you seek good plant yields and nutritious food, I doubt you’ll optimize without ensuring that the plant-nutrient soil composition is adequate.

Possibly with good fortune you will acquire a piece of land with a naturally rich, well-balanced mineral soil, and there’d be no need to add any mineral supplementation to it.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 917
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It boils down to soil test, which is expensive, especially if you are on a small piece of land.
Who does soil tests in Australia?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's one:  http://www.phosynanalytical.com.au/comprehensive-soil-tests/
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1277
Location: Denver, CO
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the USA local extension services often do soil testing, for about $50.
 
Dylan Mulder
Posts: 50
Location: North Carolina
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gilbert Fritz wrote:I'd suggest reading Steve Solomon's book The Intelligent Gardener; he claims that if a particular mineral is missing; you'd better add it, because it won't just appear out of the air.


My region has a deficiency of both selenium and boron. I have ONLY ever seen these deficiencies appear in agricultural systems. A quick walk in the natural forests or grasslands reveals a system that is NOT deficient in selenium or boron - yet logic dictates that I should be seeing more symptoms of deficiency. Nevermind that these natural systems are hardly a closed loop system because rainwater is constantly removing nutrients from these systems. All these plants and animals would keel over dead if there weren't enough nutrients to go around, and according to the current science, there shouldn't be enough.

I think something is very wrong with the current understanding.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dylan Mulder wrote:
I think something is very wrong with the current understanding.


I think this "current understanding" is several decades behind the times.  Permaculture, which recognizes the ability of ecosystems to provide all our needs, was first developed in the late 1970s.
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1277
Location: Denver, CO
21
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My region has a deficiency of both selenium and boron. I have ONLY ever seen these deficiencies appear in agricultural systems. A quick walk in the natural forests or grasslands reveals a system that is NOT deficient in selenium or boron - yet logic dictates that I should be seeing more symptoms of deficiency. Nevermind that these natural systems are hardly a closed loop system because rainwater is constantly removing nutrients from these systems. All these plants and animals would keel over dead if there weren't enough nutrients to go around, and according to the current science, there shouldn't be enough.


Some wild plants have different needs then cultivated plants. In fact, there are some plants which only grow on deficient soils, thus they can be used as indicators. Also, it is hard to tell if a wild plant is at its peak potential. For instance, perhaps if the deficiency was not there, some of those trees would live longer or bear twice as much fruit, or maybe the grasslands would be thicker; who knows. In any case, really hardy plants (weeds) will grow just about anywhere; they are not as demanding.

So maybe we should all just grow weeds.

But then we would have to wonder what a selenium and boron deficient diet does to humans. That is the other part of the equation. Many cultivated plants will do OK on an NPK diet. However, the humans consuming such plants will not be OK, because they won't get the necessary trace elements. In fact, some elements that we need plants do not NEED as such, though they will take them up if present and probably do better.

To wrap up; some say that where nature can grow a 100 foot tree, there can't be anything missing. But a tomato plant is not an oak tree, and humans are neither.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
113
books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I first read your question, I was overwhelmed by the thought of answering it. There are just so many things I want to say, but how to say it without sounding like I'm preaching. Oh my.

First of all, covering the answer via my gardening classes would take numerous classes, because so many facets are involved. You mentioned "good life in the soil" which I interpret as meaning worms, beneficial microbes, fungi, etc. You mentioned "plants of some kind", which could mean your target crop or possibly a remedial crop such as a nitrogen fixer, or maybe just bushes or trees. You mentioned a "permanent cover crop", which could be just about anything depending upon the circumstances. Plus you said......then all is well. In my opinion and experience, not quite that simple. I've seen people sprinkle microbial teas or add a box of worms, then walk away and sit back. Their efforts fail. More needs to be considered.

Just because there is some minimal life in the soil doesn't mean that it is thriving nor appropriate for productive soil. A few worms here and there, or a few patches of active fungus isn't indicative of good soil. In my own case, 12 years ago when I got started, I found a little bit of both here and there, and after a good week of winter rains, a mushroom sometimes. I found that they don't count much toward good soil. Those worms and organisms were actually starving and barely surviving. This was ground that had a complete cover crop of mixed pasture grasses plus assorted brushy shrubs and trees. Not barren soil. It had been under those conditions for at least two decades, possibly decades longer. But far from healthy soil!! So it met all your requirements but was far, far, far from being soil that was ok.

Some other factors that need to be considered include....
...soil type and ratio of silt:clay:loam
...mineral composition and/or deficiencies
...soil pH
...soil depth
...soil compaction and tilth
...soil contaminants
...annual rain conditions, runoff, drainage
...soil moisture retention
...sun duration vs shade
...wind effects
...organic material available for decomposition
...proper soil microbes present for decomposition

My own soil was shallow, generally hydrophobic with impressive drainage capabilities. It was naturally severely calcium deficient. Plus being downwind from an actively erupting volcano, it was acidic and constantly exposed to both acidic air and rain. Without taking remedial steps, this soil was not able to sustain productive gardens and food trees. Tough pasture grasses and certain hardy shrubs survived, but not most things. Because the past 20 system wasn't a balanced eco system (it needed cattle which would have trampled down grass overgrowth and added manure), the soil fertility simply wasn't there.

I spent years correcting soil deficiencies (calcium surely wasn't going to appear via Mother Nature in my lifetime), compensating for acidic rain, addressing tradewinds issues and tropical sun, introducing organic material and the appropriate micro-organisms to decompose it. I now have orchard areas which could be maintained nicely via soil organisms, trees, and cover crop. My gardens are productive with a good system of soil life, plants, and compost/mulch in place of a cover crop. While I could have taken a slow route of using just cover crops to repair/improve my soil, I wanted results in my lifetime. Yes, time is a factor to consider. How quickly does one need the soil to be fertile and productive? 1-2 years? 10 years? 50+ years? In my case. I wanted to be food self sufficient within my lifetime. I'm pushing 70, so I don't have 20 years to wait.

Not everybody's soil is as poor as mine was when I started. And I'm sure that some have even worse problems to tackle. But simply adding soil life components, planting a crop, and topping it with a cover crop isn't going to solve everybody's soil problem. As with every answer when it comes to permaculture.....it depends.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Su Ba wrote:

I spent years correcting soil deficiencies (calcium surely wasn't going to appear via Mother Nature in my lifetime),


And yet lava contains calcium!

"Hawaiian basalts contain about 50% silica, 10% each of iron, magnesium, calcium, about 15% aluminum, 2% titanium and 2% sodium."

https://www.nps.gov/havo/faqs.htm
 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Su Ba wrote :
When I first read your question, I was overwhelmed by the thought of answering it. There are just so many things I want to say, but how to say it without sounding like I'm preaching. Oh my.


   Now I am overwhelmed more than you Su , maybe I knew the answer , I knew that life in the the soil is part of the whole thing my experience told me so ,but I have doubt that maybe I did something or somethings wrong along the way .

Now I can say that food soil web people are not telling the whole story , that the whole picture is not what they are  showing .

Now who has the whole picture ?, or a one that's better than the food soil web's  ?
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1277
Location: Denver, CO
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And yet lava contains calcium!


Sue, am I correct in assuming that the tropic climate quickly removes any original calcium from the soil? I'd guess that for lava to have turned into soil, it would have had to go through a fairly intense weathering process.

I know that parts of Florida that have been weathering for millions of years have very little soil nutrients left.
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1277
Location: Denver, CO
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Now I can say that food soil web people are not telling the whole story , that the whole picture is not what they are  showing .

Now who has the whole picture ?, or a one that's better than the food soil web's  ?


I'd say, read Steve Solomon, and read the soil food web people. Then combine the two, and you will probably get something a little nearer to the whole picture. I'd say Steve has maybe 2%, and so do folks like Elaine Ingham. So by combining, you'll have 4% of the whole picture!

Nobody has the whole picture; it is too terribly complex. But 4%, combined with years of hands on experience, will allow you to have a magnificent garden! In the end, we only need to know what to do, not necessarily why it works. Folks have been adding compost and lime to the soil since Roman times.
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 969
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems to me that a bag of azomite is cheap insurance. Add compost and you're off and running.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mostafa Ismail wrote: I knew that life in the the soil is part of the whole thing my experience told me so ,but I have doubt that maybe I did something or somethings wrong along the way .

Now I can say that food soil web people are not telling the whole story , that the whole picture is not what they are  showing .

Now who has the whole picture ?, or a one that's better than the food soil web's 


Have you looked at the whole picture?  Do you have a total ecosystemic design for your land?  Your problems could be something as basic as insufficient earthworks to capture moisture, and insufficient trees to provide shade and wind protection.

Personally I think the whole picture is in permaculture design and not in separate specific techniques. 
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
113
books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mostafa,  Gilbert's response is right on the mark. No one knows exactly how every soil situation works, but that doesn't mean that we can't go ahead and start growing food. Soil science is complex and research/learning is in the early stages

Tyler, I'm no scientist. But I do observe and listen. While Hawaiian lava is known to be different from most lava around the world, I don't know how much calcium it may actually contain compared to others. But I can reassure you that the available calcium is low. Horses born here and raised solely on pasture in my area develop skeletal malformations if they are not fed supplements. People around here say that such horses have the Hawaiian head. Yes, it is visibly noticeable. I don't know what exactly is going on, but anyone familiar with horses can see it.

In newer areas of my island, land snail shells are noticeably thin. The local craft artists won't use land snail shells from my region for their crafts because the shells are too fragile. I was told by one craftsperson that land snail shells from along the coastline are fine, but inland ones aren't.

Cavers tell me that calcium compound drip formations can be found in the lava caves here, but only here and there. It depends on the area and the conditions above the lava tube. I've been in a number of lava caves myself and not seen any.

Perhaps my region is simply too geologically young.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I understand Su.  Even though Hawaiian basalt lavas contain Calcium, doesn't mean it is available to plants in the short term.  Though vigorous soil life may unlock these nutrients eventually (per Elaine Ingham) most gardeners won't (or can't) wait for that. 
 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have something to tell , maybe I have told part  of it somewhere else


when  Napolion and the French invaded Egypt in 1798 they started to make a book about Egypt including agriculture ,

to their amazement they found out that the farming yields were far better than the french ones while the Egyptian farmers did nothing but planting the seeds ,

no compost , manure , or weeding .

by that time water flooded the whole farming land of Egypt for almost two months every year , by end of summer , it was like a big lake as far as the eyes can see for that time

the flood came up with lot of mud that was added to the surface of the soil .

maybe two months of water would have killed life in the soil , maybe the mud or the clay came up with minerals and humus

till now the mudy soil of the Nile is so fertile and so expensive ,
 
what do you think people ?


 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, the annual floods brought new nutrients, that's a well established bit of farming history.  Now without the annual floods, farmers need to provide nutrients.  Some do it with chemicals, which eventually kills the soil, some do it with regenerative farming, which will restore the ecosystem functions of the soil.

Greening the Desert:  https://vimeo.com/7658282
 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens  wrote : Have you looked at the whole picture?  Do you have a total ecosystemic design for your land?  Your problems could be something as basic as insufficient earthworks to capture moisture, and insufficient trees to provide shade and wind protection.


Tyler my conditions are different from yours , like I mentioned before , you can say we almost get no rain ,
and am trying to put trees to break the wind , but up till now they are not enough , and part of my land is full of grape shrubs 15 years old . and water provided by the drip irrigation is so much avilable
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9713
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
178
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mostafa Ismail wrote:

Tyler my conditions are different from yours , like I mentioned before , you can say we almost get no rain


That's why I linked to the Greening the Desert project.  In difficult sites it's even more important to construct the means of harvesting even the small amount of rain.

Here's another example:  http://www.permaculturevoices.com/100-degrees-and-3-inches-of-rain-greening-saudi-arabia-with-neal-spackman-pvp078/
 
Chris Giannini
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would say no. In my experience simply growing things in the soil including cover crops has not been enough to ensure productivity in the garden. I usually get a soil test done every spring by a local university to tell me what is in the soil so I can figure out what amendments it needs. I can't recommend lab soil tests enough as they are quite precise and give you a idea of what your soil consists on a scientific level. Just feeling it with your hands, observing it and planting stuff in it may work for a while, but there will come a time when you need to amend your soil and it's hard to do that if you don't exactly what elements it consists of. Simply put, cover crops and regular planting will not solve all your soil problems.
 
Dylan Mulder
Posts: 50
Location: North Carolina
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chris Giannini wrote:I would say no. In my experience simply growing things in the soil including cover crops has not been enough to ensure productivity in the garden. I usually get a soil test done every spring by a local university to tell me what is in the soil so I can figure out what amendments it needs. I can't recommend lab soil tests enough as they are quite precise and give you a idea of what your soil consists on a scientific level.


Gilbert Fritz wrote:I'd say, read Steve Solomon, and read the soil food web people. Then combine the two, and you will probably get something a little nearer to the whole picture. I'd say Steve has maybe 2%, and so do folks like Elaine Ingham. So by combining, you'll have 4% of the whole picture!


I strongly agree with the above statements, and this is why. I love Elaine Ingham's work, so I decided to try a soil food web approach to the garden a little while back as an experiment, for an entire calendar year. The results were unfortunately disastrous - as I lost nearly everything to nutrient deficiencies. I don't think Ms. Ingham is wrong, as soil critters do play an essential role in plant nutrition, but soil critters as the sole source of all plant nutrients? I haven't observed it to work. I've gone back to using carefully calculated amounts of fertilizers, and the results are usually very good.

It's still very confusing that my regions soil can support massive quantities of trees, birds, and other critters, yet lacks the NPK to grow a single corn plant? It's very counter intuitive.

Gilbert Fritz wrote:But then we would have to wonder what a selenium and boron deficient diet does to humans. That is the other part of the equation. Many cultivated plants will do OK on an NPK diet. However, the humans consuming such plants will not be OK, because they won't get the necessary trace elements.


White muscle disease was not an uncommon problem in humans in my region in the not so distant past. Yet, the wild deer and other critters seem to avoid this disease while surviving off of the same land. What's the secret to their good nutrition that we humans seem to lack. A diverse diet? Mineral licks? Thousands of years of adaptation?
 
Mostafa Ismail
Posts: 55
Location: south of Giza Egypt . Home in cairo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dylan Mulder wrote : I love Elaine Ingham's work,




   So do I , I love Elaine Ingham work , and her approach is more convincing  to me more than any body else .

now what is missing ? or what is wrong ?

Is dr Ingham  wrong ? is she missing something ? is she keeping something to her self, and not telling in her lectures ?

I don't really believe in Mr Solomon approach ,

So can any body tell us who else have a better approach ?
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!