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Probiotics for the Soil?  RSS feed

 
pioneer
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Due to DH, I am not allowed to compost or try worm bins.  Presently I give all vegetable and fruit scraps to the wildlife.  This method has worked for the last 3 years.

I am interested in adding nutrients to the soil.  I currently bury all coffee ground in the garden.  I would like to do more.

I am not interesting in doing EM or other involved methods.

Saybian Morgan wrote: I have 25 jar's of all sort's of lacto fermented foods in the fridge, from salsa to plums and where experimenting with pumpkin. Had I realized those effective microrganism had a real name and wasn't just a slogan I wouldn't have drank all the ferment juice from all those pickled product's, I could have thrown them on the foodscraps and shut them up in a bin. I'm glad to have changed my perspective, these green website's that market market market can so quickly leave a bad taste in your mouth that you can end up not wanting anything to do with the craze like I did. 

Since my mind is reeling from the door being reopened, I guess I have a newbie question.
I've been picking up that there are different wait periods for different blends and there seems to be a theme of the final process being completed in the soil.

https://permies.com/t/11246/bokashi

What I would like to experiment with is making ferments out of my food scraps by the quart and then burying the resulting product.

Will this add something beneficial to the soil?  Or will I just be wasting my time?
 
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Depending on your soil type I think that you could just bury your food scraps a small amount at a time, without fermentation, and get the benefits of compost slowly. Sort of a sneaky, below ground, compost pile. Interesting to see what people think about fermented foods special additions though. What I understand about soil probiotics that are commercially available is they are primarily compost extracts and I haven't often seen lactobacilli species listed on inoculant labels but I'm interested to hear other peoples thoughts.
 
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stephen lowe wrote:Depending on your soil type I think that you could just bury your food scraps a small amount at a time, without fermentation, and get the benefits of compost slowly. Sort of a sneaky, below ground, compost pile. Interesting to see what people think about fermented foods special additions though. What I understand about soil probiotics that are commercially available is they are primarily compost extracts and I haven't often seen lactobacilli species listed on inoculant labels but I'm interested to hear other peoples thoughts.


I think you are right. When you ferment foods you essentially want good soil bacteria to proliferate and you use your cabbage etc as food for those bacteria. To prevent the bad bacteria from proliferation you add salt (or make solution very sour) - the salt isn't very good for your soil. I think it an unnecessary laborious step to ferment the foods prior to composting. But I do throw any ferments that has gone bad to my compost heap (yesterday I fed my worms a huge kombucha SCOBY which had been infected by vinegar eels), which add good bacteria to a relatively dead soil.

If you are lacking bacteria in your soil - a nettle tea might be an idea.
 
Anne Miller
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I have alkaline soil due to lots of limestone rock.

I thought about just burying the food scraps but like the idea of given them to the wildlife better.

For the ferments I wasn't planing on using salt.  I plan to use the liquid from previous ferments.  I don't think the amount of salt will affect the soil much since I will not be planting into it right away. I am not sure how much salt is in the liquid anyway.

I have read about people making it in 5 gallon buckets with gamma lids using the weeds they have available or even hay.

It seems to me that fermented foods have already gone through a process to make the LAB thus are a little more than just fresh scraps.

The reason for making it in quart jars is that DH is used to seeing that and will just think that I am fermenting something.  He would never let me use a five gallon bucket with a gamma lid.  He would say it won't work and will trash up the place.

 
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First off I need to say how sorry I am that your DH has such a narrow viewpoint.

The easy way to do what you describe as wanting to do is to just ferment as normal then rinse once, saving that rinse water (you can safely use it to water plants that are in ground not potted plants).
That way should DH get curious, nothing would be given away as to what you are up to.

I would do the burying in circular trenches around your plants and trees. I've had decent successes with layers of "composting vegetables", soil, and so on. The big thing is to have at least 4 inches of soil for the top cover in my tests.

Redhawk
 
Anne Miller
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:First off I need to say how sorry I am that your DH has such a narrow viewpoint.



Thanks for the words of encouragement.  I am not sure I can dig 4" deep [hoping for 3"].  I plan to put a large rock over the test sites.  Actually in terms of sizes of rocks these would be small rocks as I have lots of boulder size rocks.  My test sites don't have plants growing at the present time.  It is an annual bed for bluebonnets and firewheels which all died from lack of rain.  If I see improvements then I will use my technique elsewhere.   I am hoping to see the results next spring by looking at the size of plants.  The firewheels that grow there are only 1 ft tall versus the firewheels in my monarch garden are 3 to 4 ft tall.  I have always thought it was my seed source not nutrients.  It is basically all the same soil as I have made no amendments nor have I watered the bed.

I am not expecting to have a problem with critters digging up my test sites.  I may be mistaken.
 
Anne Miller
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This is not what I have been doing but this is a cheap way to make and use LAB:

Ollie Puddlemaker wrote:

Making your DIY EM Rice Water-Milk Inoculants
Lacto-bacteria are everywhere and covers everything. You can most easily recognize it by the white film-like you find on grapes, cabbage, plums, etc.

To make up a culture of Lacto Acid Bacteria (LAB) take 1 part of rice (any kind of rice) and add to 2-4 parts (de-chlorinated) water, shake well, doing so you are washing the rice, strain and pour off the now, cloudy water and use the rice for whatever you’d like.

Put rice rinse water into a jar; fill to one-half to two-thirds full, which will give you about 30 – 50% headspace or airspace. You want a lot of aeration and circulation in your jar, so that the airborne bacteria can enter and easily populate your rice rinse water solution. Cover the top of your jar with some cheesecloth or filter material and secure with a jar ring or rubber band. You will want to leave your jar in a place that will be undisturbed and a stable/warm space for about 2-5 days. Keep out of the sunlight, the ultraviolet rays can destroy your culture.

During the 2-5 days, you will see the rice water begin to separate, and show a top layer of fermentation, a middle, yellowish-layer which is the lacto bacteria developing and sediment on the bottom which is rice bran that had fallen off the rice. There will also be a slight, sour smell. All this is normal and what you want to be seeing/noticing.

Next, you will want to strain and separate the lacto-bacteria culture. It’s not actually necessary to strain and separate the culture, it just looks better, you can just mix it and the milk together. But, be sure you keep with the 10:1 ratio, which is very important. So, in the 10:1 ratio, or 10 parts milk to 1 part of the lacto-bacteria (you can use any form of milk), put this second culture mixture into a bowl or pail that is large enough, leaving again some air-space, loosely covered from dust/dirt, but able to breathe, in a undisturbed, warm-ish space, for about 7-14 days, again it will depend upon the temperature how fast it will make the second stage ferment.

You are coming up to this point, maybe your batch has fermented faster, due to a higher incubation temperature, and that's Ok. As you experiment with this you'll just know by looking and smell, so adjust accordingly and you can't do much wrong...
After about 7 days, you will see a thick, yellowish-layer forming, this is the curd or ‘cheese’ made from the bacteria and milk fermenting. This can be skimmed off and fed to your livestock, fowl, compost, BSF bin, etc., they will love it. (Not proven – But, it might be something to try yourself for immunity building and nutrition enhancement.)

Now, the yellowish-liquid is what you’ve been working for, it is the lacto-bacteria serum. This can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 years, as it is. It is best used within a year to be the freshest. You will want to strain out all the curd and save just the liquid serum. If any large particles of 'curd' are left behind you will get a secondary fermentation, if you had sugar/molasses to stabilize for shelf storage. So, now to stabilize this serum so that you don’t require refrigeration, you must add an equal part or 1:1 ratio of molasses or brown sugar and water (simple syrup 1:1 ratio. Mix together it thoroughly; warming the molasses helps it to blend. By doing this, the lacto bacillus serum is stabilized and can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 years. The molasses or brown sugar & water is the sugar source that feeds and stabilizes the serum so that it is ready and activated when you want to use it.

Instructions for Use:
If you are ready to use your LAB serum you will dilute the pure or stabilized Lacto- Bacillus Serum with non-chlorinated water at a 20:1 ratio (Water:Lacto). This diluted solution stores at room temperature/non-refrigerated, only for 6 months.

The 20:1 ratio solution is further diluted to 1 tablespoon to 1 liter or 4 tablespoons/gallon of non-chlorinated water used as a foliar spray (leaf-feeding), soil or given to animals. You can drench the soil to rebuild and sterilize it from unwanted, harmful pathogens; it cleans and breaks down to release nutrients. The stabilized lacto- bacillus serum attracts other beneficial organisms to help enrich the soil. If your compost bin is out of balance, it will restore and correct.

Giving fermented LAB to any animal or fowl in their food/drinking water helps their digestion, many times over, and will re-populate the good bacteria necessary. As a result our livestock will get more nutrients out of what they eat, eat less, get better growth and be healthier. This lacto-bacterium is good at deodorizing and breaking down organic materials, so it’s a very good ‘tool’ for the homesteader/gardener.

Feed 1-2 tablespoons/gallon for your chicken or animals water sources. Livestock that could only absorb 65% of their food nutrients can now obtain as much as 85% from the same foodstuffs. As they are getting more nutrition, you can feed them less, without loss. Changing from quantity focused, to quality. You can spray the bedding or deep litter of your livestock/fowl to control odor, break down the animal ammonia and pathogens. Just by this, your animals will not become sick.

You can also use this for Aquaponics and keep the fish healthy and their water clean. Again, it breaks the ammonia down and inhibits pathogens that would be attracted to the ammonia.

For septic systems, you can pour 1-2 cups of the 20:1 ratio solution to clear, recharge and rejuvenate the septic tank and drain field.



https://permies.com/t/21446/Lacto-Bacillus-growing-farm
 
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I have taken surplus kombucha SCOBYs and cut them up and put them in my compost piles.  Would it be of benefit to cut up any available SCOBYs into smaller pieces and add them directly to your planting beds?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The only difference would be composted and then added versus composting in place. Both work equally as well.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Anne, one other thing I happened to think of that will benefit your gardening efforts.
Any type of vinegar will help break down the limestone and at the same time raise the pH a tad each time you pour some on.
This doesn't need to be straight out of the jug, you can dilute by as much as 10 to 1 and still reap some benefit.
I have used this trick to help get the pH of blueberry spaces ready for planting of the bushes.
I have used this trick in limestone rich areas and ended up with great soil after just two applications (along with some compost additions).

Redhawk
 
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There is an important distinction between aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.  Compost is made with aerobic, and that is the probiotic that your soil and plants crave.  This is why you need to be careful with even things like compost teas --- they can go from aerobic to anaerobic very easily.  The bacteria common to fermenting veggies for canning (kraut, hot sauce, etc.) isn't the bacteria preferred by your soil.

One solution would be to dig a trench about a foot deep and a couple of feet long, and bury your compost on one end of the trench with the soil you pull up from the other end of the trench.  Every day, you extend the trench a few inches while burying the days' bio-mass waste on the other "active" end.  The scraps would quickly disappear from sight so your husband wouldn't have anything to look at and complain about.
 
Anne Miller
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Thanks Bryant and Marco 

Very helpful information

Bryant RedHawk wrote: Any type of vinegar will help break down the limestone and at the same time raise the pH a tad each time you pour some on.
This doesn't need to be straight out of the jug, you can dilute by as much as 10 to 1 and still reap some benefit.
I have used this trick to help get the pH of blueberry spaces ready for planting of the bushes.
I have used this trick in limestone rich areas and ended up with great soil after just two applications (along with some compost additions).



Marco Banks wrote:There is an important distinction between aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.  Compost is made with aerobic, and that is the probiotic that your soil and plants crave.  This is why you need to be careful with even things like compost teas --- they can go from aerobic to anaerobic very easily.  The bacteria common to fermenting veggies for canning (kraut, hot sauce, etc.) isn't the bacteria preferred by your soil.

One solution would be to dig a trench about a foot deep and a couple of feet long, and bury your compost on one end of the trench with the soil you pull up from the other end of the trench.  Every day, you extend the trench a few inches while burying the days' bio-mass waste on the other "active" end.  The scraps would quickly disappear from sight so your husband wouldn't have anything to look at and complain about.

 
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