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getting the biology we want into our soil  RSS feed

 
garden master
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For those who have been following the thread progression I've been putting up for all to use, now we are into the how to use all this knowledge we have learned.
Once we have gotten through this thread, I hope you will have enough information to be able to never have to worry about diseases and weeds in your gardens, orchards and vineyards.
For those who haven't looked, there is a thread that will be needed over in the biodynamics area.
It would be advantageous to make yourself a reference folder with all the thread posts you find helpful, it will keep you from having to stop and go look up something you want to refer to while out working.
(I have four 3" binders that go out with me all the time, and I wrote them).

The best place to start this thread is probably to go over things you can do ONE TIME ONLY. Not once a year or once per crop planted.
Tilling: if you are in need of; adding biology to your soil, de-compacting the soil, shaping the land for water control, then you need to know that you can till in compost at the beginning of the setup.
You will do this only once because it is counterproductive to kill soil biology just to add more soil biology. If you do a single pass tilling you will not kill all the organisms, most will survive and your addition of the compost will do more good than harm.
We do this simply to speed up the process of the compost getting below the surface level of the soil (dirt if it used to be farm land).

Now that we have added some organic material into the soil and that material contained lots of good biology we can move to the steps we will do for the next few years to bring our soil to optimum levels for what we want to grow there.
The main reason we want to do this is so that we don't have to concern ourselves with rotating what we plant in any particular spot.
Different types of plants have different needs when it comes to the quantities of micro organisms present, it makes no sense to try to make all your plots identical if you aren't planning on growing the same things in each of the plots.
Brassicas for instance are bacterial in their needs, no fungi needed for these plants, some fungi won't hurt but these annuals are bacterial so that is what we want the most of.
Potatoes want more bacteria than fungi but they do want fungi to be present.
Pastures, corn, milo, and others of the grass family want true balance between bacteria and fungi.
Fruits (trees, vines, bushes) want to lean towards the fungal side and the tastes and nutritional values will soar when we have the proportions correct.
Taller trees that are more for lumber type uses want to be severely slanted to the fungal side with just enough bacteria around to do their part of the job of feeding the trees.

Now that we have that out of the way, the next installment will give some numbers and how to make sure we are growing all the right organisms, in the quantities we need.
Then we will get into how to use those organisms to our best advantage.

Redhawk 
 
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Following!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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In my threads under biodynamics I went over how to make microorganism rich preparations which we use to infuse our compost heaps with all the microbiome we want to live in our soil.
The reason we want all this microscopic life in our soil is that it is what makes dirt soil in the first place. The microorganisms are also what provide our plants roots with what it needs to thrive.
Plants put out calls for delivery of what mineral it needs as it needs them, it does this through the excretion of exudates, simple sugars, sometimes in mixtures, sometimes a single simple sugar.
These activate the bacteria and fungi, which then produce enzymes to dissolve the minerals the plant is telling them it needs, the bacteria and fungi then adsorb the mineral(s).
The exudates also send signals to the predators of the bacteria and fungi who follow these signals and commence to feast on their prey, they use up the minerals the predators need and they expel the left overs, which the plant roots suck up and send to the leaves and other parts of the plant.
That is how the soil food web works.

There is an order to things and if the plant calls for something the bacteria eat but there aren't enough bacteria around the roots, well, the plant isn't going to get as much of what it needs as it should, slow starvation ensues and the plant gets sick.
When plants get sick they send signals (like sniffles) out and that calls the microorganisms that bring death or infection running, they get a free meal because of the lack of numbers of the proper bacteria or fungi.
Our job is to make sure there are always enough of the good guys to far out number the bad guys.
Enter compost and compost teas and extracts. These are our primary weapons of defense for our plants.

One thing many people do (and have been doing since Mesopotamian times) is to try and cheat. People cheat when they take manures and use them, without composting the manures first, straight on the soil.
Bad things happen when you cheat. First off most of the nutrients in fresh manure are in the form of salts (same as those bags of commercial fertilizer) and salts kill bacteria (what do we use to cure meats, salts).
Salts also kill fungi, so by using fresh (non composted) manures by either spreading them on top or by digging them into the soil what we do is kill our precious microorganisms.
If you add tilling to this equation, you speed up the death rate and it isn't long until you have fertilized your way to dirt. This is not a good way to go about farming or gardening.

So we want to have as many compost heaps going as we can easily build and nurture with our preparations.
If we just used forest soil to inoculate our compost heaps, we would always be creating fungal rich soils, but we want balance most of the time.
This means we have to be able to grow the right microorganisms at the right time for the right soil.
So first we need to know what the plants we are going to put into say plot A will desire to have milling around their root systems.
Then we need to grow a compost heap that has those organisms in mass quantities so we can use that compost in plot A.
Instead of putting all the compost into the soil we instead brew a tea or extract to spray over the soil (and the plants) to put our precious microorganisms exactly where we want them.
We also have to make sure there is enough organic matter in that soil (hence the digging in compost that one time).

So plot A is going to be where we grow our brassicas. We know that brassicas are annuals and that annuals normally want far more bacteria around them than they do fungi.
We build a good compost heap and dig the holes in the top to put our preparations (rich in bacteria and weak in fungi) into the holes which inoculate the heap.
We then nurture the heap until it becomes finished compost at the bottom and we can harvest enough to fill our tea bag and make our brew.
Then we have to dilute our tea (no body likes extremely strong tea) so it is drinkable by the soil in plot A, and we spray it on the soil a few weeks before we are going to plant our brassica seeds.
We are also going to brew a new tea to use to water in our seeds once we have planted them, thus we give our plot A the double dose of microorganisms heavy on the bacteria side for our new seedlings to live in as they grow.
During their growing season we are going to make new batches of the tea, once a month and spray plants and soil with it.
We notice that the plants are very healthy and producing better than ever, the fruits taste amazing and there aren't any diseases or weeds in our plot A.

But what exactly has happened here?
Brassicas like bacteria, they are what bring the nutrients the brassicas send for and the nematodes and other predators expel the right nutrients. If we do a microscopic count we find that our soil contains 10 micrograms of bacteria per sq. inch but 0 micrograms of fungi.
There are also 5 micrograms of the predator organisms in that same square inch of soil.
At the same time we count 0.05 micrograms of ciliates (the bad bugs).
What our counts tell us is that we have succeeded in creating the right numbers of organisms for our plants to thrive and not be infected by diseases of any kind.
By spraying our microorganisms on our plants we have coated them with protectors from an aerial attack, the soil is also full of good guys so the bad guys, if any are around, are overwhelmed and perish.

and I'll be back with more.

Redhawk

Since I started this thread, there have been some very important results come through on vegetable growing particularly and their relationship with fungi.
Due to these discoveries I have to change the 0 fungi for some vegetables. It is now evident that we should never make any addition (compost tea) that isn't at least 40% bacteria, 40% fungi (particularly mycorrhizae) with the remaining 20% for all the other microorganisms.
It has been known for a while now that plants, through their exudates, will regulate the organism numbers to best suit them, so with that in mind, we can make compost tea additions without worrying about counts as much as was previously thought.

The previous consensus was that bacterial plants didn't need fungi for good quality of their food production, we now know that was wrong. Mycorrhizae need to be in the rhizosphere of all plants.
Mycorrhizae have been shown to perform vital functions for water and nutrient up take as well as transmittal of the chemical signals created by the plant exudates.

 
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WOW, bravo ! I hope that this all turns into a book.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Now we have an understanding of the specific needs for the Brassica family of plants for which our soil needs to have 10 micrograms of bacteria and we can get away with 0 micrograms of fungi for each square inch of soil.
Obviously we can't determine these numbers without having access to a microscope and we need one that has at least 2000x and preferably 2500x magnification so we can see clearly what micro organism(s) we are looking at.
Fortunately this piece of equipment is available for under 500 dollars complete with slides, stains and cover slips. If you really want to improve your soil to best benefit for your plants, you will find this piece of equipment priceless.
I've posted else where a link to a suitable microscope but will offer up a few links at the end of this thread so you can pick and choose what will work for you budget wise.

Potatoes and Tomatoes along with all the members of the nightshade family also want a majority of bacteria but they also want some fungi.
The concentrations we want for these items are 100 micrograms of bacteria and 10 micrograms of fungi and as with all counts we look at one square inch of soil.

Squash, beans, peppers all want concentrations of 500 micrograms of bacteria and 250 micrograms of fungi.

All the grasses and other pasture type plants (kale, lettuces, etc.) are desiring counts of 600 micrograms for both bacteria and fungi.

All the Fruits, no matter if they are cane type, tree type, vine type or bush type look for higher counts of fungi, so we want to see 500 micrograms of bacteria and 800 micrograms of fungi in the soil all the way out to their drip line or beyond.

Timber type trees require a bacteria count of 700 micrograms and a fungal count of 7000 micrograms.
This is because they need a variety of fungi including arbuscular and endobuscular mycorrhizae in addition to all the other types of hyphae.
For this group you want the soil to almost be white with hyphae when you dig next to a root. This is one of the things that will make a "Food Forest" work well, as long as you layer towards the edge of the forest with those plantings that want more bacteria than fungi.
About the only way to make a food forest fail is to try and plant items that require more bacteria than fungi too close to the tree root system.

When we look at the reasons for these differences in microorganism preferences we find that those infections, insect predators and disease causing organisms have specific bacterial and fungal adversaries.
So by making sure our soil is packed full of these adversarial organisms, we see less or no infections, insect predators or disease causing organisms on or around our plants.
By creating specific garden areas for each type of plant, we can eliminate the need to move items from bed to bed to reduce insects and diseases.

Besides bacteria and fungi in our soil we want to promote good numbers of Protozoa, Good (non root attacking) Nematodes, Microarths, Springtails, Amoeba, Flagellates but no or at least few Ciliates.
The reason we don't want the Ciliates to show up is that they are destructive beyond imagination to our soil.
Most of the ciliates thrive in anaerobic conditions (easy to find in stagnant pond water or swamp soils that are water saturated and stink) so when we see these under the microscope, we know we have a problem with our soil.
We want our soil to be oxygen rich which also means that water can infiltrate easily and that our soil has the structure we want.
Ciliates are the prime reason that creating anaerobic compost is not the greatest idea, unless you then take the time to add oxygen for a long period of time prior to using the anaerobic compost material, you will infest your soil with the worst of the microorganisms for plants.
Ciliates are a family of protozoa but to plants they eat far to many bacteria thus preventing the nutrient flow we want to happen.

Since there are many recipes for making good, oxygenated compost in heaps and knowing that if we use a non-oxygen ferment method to create compost one has to wonder why it has been touted as a superior method for making compost.
It actually takes an extra step to make it viable as a good amendment for our garden's soil, since we then have to get oxygen into it for a long enough period that the Ciliates die off and the bacteria re-populate the compost material.
If you do chemical analysis of things like the Bokashi method you don't find anything extra that you can't get using aerobic methods.
So the only thing I have found that makes it a technique to know and use is that it takes less space on the front end.
The best method for using a Bokashi type compost is similar to using a Steiner type preparation, you make it then add it to a working compost heap.
By doing this, you build good microorganisms instead of promoting Ciliate growth and prominence.

The one thing I like about Steiner's method is the promotion of the good microbiome organisms we want to put into our soil for the benefit of our plants.
Using his preparations we can literally grow mass quantities of those organisms and then by making a tea or extract and spraying that on the soil, we can improve our soil in a matter of a few weeks.
When we continue to make these additions over a few months time, we can raise the microorganism numbers to the point of the soil being able to support our plants in a disease and pest free medium.

till next time.

Redhawk


 
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Thank you Redhawk for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. I am following your posts closely.
If I understand your posts in this thread, is it better for the increase of soil biology to make a compost heap with mulch material such as grass clippings, ramial wood chips, soiled straw and hay and sawdust mixed with chicken droppings? We have been using these inputs over the winter to mulch our veg beds (no digging), in order to keep on top of weeds. This is our second year of cultivation and I am expecting an increase of bugs and slugs.
What is the effect on soil biology of using chickens in the veg beds to clear crop residue and weeds? The chickens are fed crumble and veg scraps, and mulch material is added to keep the soil covered. They stay in the area for a few weeks and then are moved on.
Can you give us an idea at what frequency you spray bacterial inoculum (compost tea/extract)on soil?
We have loamy, free draining soil with drip irrigation, 400m2 of permanent beds. Long periods without precipitation in spring and autumn, thunderstorms in summer. I have access to a lovely compost with lots of visible biota to make tea.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Now we know that to get the best out of our plants we should make sure that the soil we grow them in should be biology rich but that there is an optimal ratio for each family of plants.
What this means to us the gardener or farmer is that we don't always want to have an equilibrium of types of organisms present everywhere in our gardens.

We also know that getting organic materials down into the soil is the base for building the microorganisms in the soil.
We know too that compost is our best material for both growing our organisms and getting the organic material base.
With these bits of knowledge in mind, we then can make good decisions on which to use at any particular time during our soil building phase.
If we have a very porous soil that water runs through quickly, we know that we need to add lots of organic material deep into the soil to increase the water holding ability.
This means we should lay down a fairly thick layer of compost (3" minimum usually) and then do that one tilling, going as deep as we can to get the organic material deep into the soil where it won't vanish in a year or two.
For many this seems to be counter productive since we are going to do a disturbance that we have learned kills our microorganisms, but this is a one time only use of tillage, we are never going to do it again.
Since we are using good compost for that tilling in of organic material, we are actually adding life deep into the soil, this gives our next steps a solid foundation which means they will actually perform better than if we didn't do that one time tilling.

If we have compacted soil, this becomes even more important to do since we need to break that impenetrable layer and at the same time get our organic material mixed in at least as deep as the compacted layer.
Once again this is a one time only affair and we want to get as much organic material down there as possible so we have that good foundation deep in the soil.
By doing this we have not only broken the compacted layer so water can get past it but we have also added lots of microorganisms down there so the compacted soil will continue to break up and become that fluffy, water holding stuff we really want.
If we can't get the equipment in to the area we know we need to treat this way we do have an option and that is water born injection of compost or compost tea/ extract.
What we do for this injection method is acquire by either rental or construction an injection device. (I will give a description of how to build your own, sadly I don't have the capability of adding photos but do hope to eventually be able to do that)
The injector syphons our compost tea into the water stream and thusly pushes our microorganisms down into the soil where they will be able to spread as they multiply out approximately 2.5 feet from the point of injection.
This means we can sink our injector every 5 feet in a grid pattern and end up with almost the same effect as if we had tilled.
The only draw back to using the injector method is that you have to do this twice the first year, but the second time you don't have to use a 5 foot grid, you can go further apart if you want to.

An Injector is usually made of metal pipe (commercial ones are either aluminum or galvanized steel) Rigid copper pipe also works and is usually easier for the do it yourself builder.
1/2 inch rigid copper for the pipe works pretty well and is far less expensive than 1 inch copper pipe, the lever valve and other fittings are also less expensive and you will use less non-lead solder to put the apparatus together.
The injector needs to be long enough that you can have the option of sinking it 5 feet deep into the soil.
Mine is home built and 7 feet long from tip to water hose attachment.
These are the parts you will need; 1 length of 1/2 inch rigid copper pipe, one solder on lever type ball valve, one 1/2 inch T solder on fitting with the 1/2 inch on the ends and a 1/4 inch center size, 1  1/4 inch hose bib to attach the syphon hose too the apparatus, 10 feet of 1/4 inch poly hose,
1 solder on garden hose female fitting for attaching your hose to the top end of the apparatus. You will also need a copper pipe cutter, pair of slip joint pliers or hammer and anvil, propane torch for soldering, soldering flux.
When I built mine I purchased a 10 foot piece of rigid copper pipe the left over piece became a soil sampler.
To assemble you first cut the main pipe to the length you want minus about a foot. the next step involves flattening one end of this main pipe so it will give off a jet of water (use a hammer and solid surface to start the flattening then crimp in the middle with the slip joint pliers)
Next you want to install the valve and above that a short section of pipe for fastening the T, then another short piece of the main pipe and last is the garden hose fitting. If you want to be able to have the syphon hose not spew water when you have the main valve off, you need to add a 1/4" valve before the hose bib.
This thing will drill a hole as deep as you can push the main pipe down into the soil very quickly. Once you have the hole drilled turn on the 1/4 inch valve to suck your compost tea down into the hole and out into the surrounding soil, leave this valve on as you withdraw the pipe, shutting it off just before you remove the water injector from the hole. Move 5 feet and repeat, do this until you have the area you are treating completely covered.
Being fairly sure I've done a bad job of trying to explain this apparatus, if I'm asked for better instructions, I'll try again.

When I am working on improving the soil on my farm I first map out what I'm going to be growing in that particular area, then I drive my soil sampler in, taking a sample core about every 5 feet in a grid pattern.
I lay these cores out for visual inspection to determine the current soil condition after which comes slide making and microscope work.
These steps let me determine the issues I need to address so I can decide the best next step, which is amendment for microorganism proliferation.
Currently I am brewing a batch of compost tea that will give me equal amounts of bacteria and fungi because I am working on a new Silvo-pasture area of about 2 acres.

and I'll be back with more

Redhawk

 
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Awesome like always! If you say spray are you using a solo sprayer or simply a watering can? I neither have a microscope nor the knowledge to identify all these critters - is that the only method to know that the tea is good? Could I use smell? BTW you explained bokashi very well! What about the other methods around like EM or the rice buried in the soil? You don't mention mulch a lot.
And I have a story about bad bacteria: We got moldy bread from a bakery and thought it would be a good fertilizer. But we did not want to put this in the compost heap because we don't want to breed too many rats (even though the bush rats are really cute). We decided to submerge the bread in water and let it sit for ages. Then my husband decided to use that awesome brew. What happened was that within hours of application several really healthy tomato seedlings died the survivours never recovered fully and one priced perennial died too. Nice.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Good questions Angelika, I am so sorry to hear about the bread fiasco. I use pressurized sprayers and watering cans for different types of spraying. If I am applying teas to tree trunks and leaves I use a pressurized sprayer that is marked Compost Tea Only. If I am applying the tea to soil, I have a 2.5 gal watering can (nice old one) that is used for both watering and applying compost tea. Making EM  is pretty easy and that is a good way to add life to the soil. The buried rice is not so different from the cowhorn manure.
In other places I have mentioned mulches pretty frequently (I think), but I'll talk about them any time, mulch is almost never a bad thing as long as it 1) deep enough to block sun from the soil 2) not so deep as to smother the soil completely.
Mulch can be made from just about anything organic that will decompose over time. If you want to increase fungi in the soil beneath the soil then wood chips are pretty perfect and you can add a mushroom slurry at anytime to increase those fungal hyphae.

(bread mold that is yellow or brownish indicates that you should destroy by fire, green molds on bread are usually penicillin mold)

Redhawk
 
Angelika Maier
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Doesn't really matter with the few tomato plants, we have problems eating them all anyway! But the bread thing was a good lesson and makes a good story. We discovered the lawnmower as a good tool  since we have no lawn and thus no lawn clippings we chop up the weeds with the mower. (We have huge impressive well gron weeds)
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Indeed Angelika, lawn mowers are not just for cutting grass.
 
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Really interesting read so far!

I'm wondering about the bacterial and fungal counts though.  For example:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Squash, beans, peppers all want concentrations of 500 micrograms of bacteria and 250 micrograms of fungi.


Is it the the exact concentration that's important, or is it the ratio of bacteria-to-fungi that's (more) important?

From a practical point of view, if I wanted to grow, say, 50 different types of plants, with many close to each other and many intermixed, there's no way I can see 'a garden' actually working with 'exact' concentrations.

On the other hand, if the various plants (or families of plants) can be placed simply on a bacteria-fungus spectrum, then it would be much easier to designate certain parts of the garden/property as "highly fungal" or "balanced" or "highly bacterial" then treat/maintain the soil in those areas accordingly, control the transitions from one soil biology/area to another, and plant accordingly.

I'm not sure if it already exists, but a reference that simply puts plants into five groups based on preferred soil biology ("Highly Bacterial", "Bacterial", "Balanced", "Fungal", "Highly Fungal") would seem to be an extremely useful and practical tool.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Tim, Good Questions which I will answer best I can.

The numbers I gave are from my current paper which will be part of my dissertation. As such they really are just reference points more than absolute figures.

For our gardens we can't go for exactness because of the impracticality it would pose. If we were dedicating specific beds to specific plants, then you could go for it and get those numbers, but I don't think many people would be willing or able to go so hard and fast.
Research demands it but here we are more interested in garden plant results.

As you point out, it is really more important to shoot for a proper ratio of organisms in the active garden scenario rather than trying to get the exact numbers required for a scientific paper.

In most instances we should try to achieve a 50:50 ratio for the bacteria and fungi (this excludes the other, predator organisms, which should be around 15% of the total organisms).
With a 50:50 ratio every type of plant will grow well and produce well, those that are more bacterial will end up with higher concentrations of bacteria around their roots than those that lean towards fungi, which will also end up with higher concentrations of fungi around their roots.
This will happen because the plants use their exudates to talk to the microorganisms and those organisms respond quickly, this means that specific organism counts will increase according to the messages from the plants.
One other method of increasing specific organism numbers is that the exudate message will travel along the hyphae highway and if it is a call for a bacteria, the organisms will respond and travel towards the root system in need.
As we learn more about plant to microorganism communications and responses a whole new world is opening before our eyes. (I could talk about this for hours)

There are some papers out there that have started to identify plant family preferences but I do not think they are complete yet, but they do give good direction since they are talking about the entire family.

Somewhere in this thread I will put together as good a list as I currently can.

Thank you for your input, and your insight, it is very helpful. (some of your ideas are already in my first draft)

Redhawk
 
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Tim Bermaw wrote:Really interesting read so far!

I'm wondering about the bacterial and fungal counts though.  For example:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Squash, beans, peppers all want concentrations of 500 micrograms of bacteria and 250 micrograms of fungi.


Is it the the exact concentration that's important, or is it the ratio of bacteria-to-fungi that's (more) important?

From a practical point of view, if I wanted to grow, say, 50 different types of plant, with many close to each other and many intermixed, there's no way I can see 'a garden' actually working with 'exact' concentrations.

On the other hand, if the various plants (or families of plants) can be placed simply on a bacteria-fungus spectrum, then it would be much easier to nominate certain parts of the garden/property as "highly fungal" or "balanced" or "highly bacterial" then treat/maintain the soil in those areas accordingly and control the transitions from one soil biology to another.

I'm not sure if it already exists, but a reference that simply puts plants into five groups based on preferred soil biology ("Highly Bacterial", "Bacterial", "Balanced", "Fungal", "Highly Fungal") would seem to be an extremely useful and practical tool.



Would you want to divide your plot into these parts though?Would it be actually divide and conquer using our human brain?
 
Tim Bermaw
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Panagiotis Panagiotou wrote:Would you want to divide your plot into these parts though?Would it be actually divide and conquer using our human brain?


If peppers (for example) grow best in bacterially-dominant soil, then you would want to make the area where you wanted to grow peppers bacterially-dominant.  Having made the soil in that area bacterially-dominant, you wouldn't then grow mushrooms there, because mushrooms prefer fungally-dominant soil.  So if you want both mushrooms and peppers, and you want both of them to grow really, really well, then you need to divide your land up, encourage the right biology to dominate in your preferred areas, and plant the right plants the right areas.

If you don't want the complexity of managing different biologies in different areas, then just aim for "balanced" across your entire garden/property and be done with it.  You won't end up with the same yield from this "one biology fits all" approach, but maximum yield may not be important to you.  In fact, if you have a large property, you can compensate for the lower yield by increasing the planted area of the crops you want more of.

That's my understanding, anyway.

I'm not sure what "dividing and conquering" has to do with the topic, though.  Sorry.
 
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this is awesome information.  thank you for putting all your hard work and studies up for all of us to see and learn from.  i will be working with youth on a community garden and this will be helpful when having the kids learn about growing stuff.  we are starting out with different beds in different sun and wind conditions, with different basic types of soil, and using companion planting. i can see where learning about different microbes in the soil will help with production.  maybe we can even get to the point of having a different compost pile near each bed to go with those plants.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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lisa goodspeed wrote:this is awesome information.  thank you for putting all your hard work and studies up for all of us to see and learn from.  i will be working with youth on a community garden and this will be helpful when having the kids learn about growing stuff.  we are starting out with different beds in different sun and wind conditions, with different basic types of soil, and using companion planting. i can see where learning about different microbes in the soil will help with production.  maybe we can even get to the point of having a different compost pile near each bed to go with those plants.



hau Lisa, if you like, you may pm me with any questions that your kids come up with and I'll do my best to help.
I used to teach and am happy to help.

Redhawk
 
lisa goodspeed
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:

hau Lisa, if you like, you may pm me with any questions that your kids come up with and I'll do my best to help.
I used to teach and am happy to help.

Redhawk



thanks.  i will definately keep that in mind.  and am definately following this thread
 
Angelika Maier
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1.) I read it is very bad for all the soil critter to leave the soil exposed, this is the reason we mulch or cover crop. Just how long shouldn't it be bare? How about carrots, it needs some time until they sprout and cover the soil? Or if I don't get around to mulch for a week or so?
2.) I grow quite a few (100+) medicinal herbs, many of these can be described as Mediterranean plants others are just weeds. If you look at the environments they life it looks dry barren - what is the soil life there? Is there less life? Do these plants still grow better with more life?
3.) Why did you choose steiner preparations over other methods like EM or that Yatam thing, are there any advantages/disadvantages? How do the different methods compare?
4) This has nothing to do with biology: Everything Phosphorous goes in the compost first that it is not leached out, but for how long? We did incoorporate p at the last turning how long does it have to sit?
 
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Hi Angelika.

Hope you don't mind me fielding this one. First, I get what you probably mean by weeds, but that term doesn't really help to know what's going on in the patch you're discussing. What are the species involved? Weeds are just plants growing naturally in a place that's inconvenient for your plans.

If you want to see if the plants growing in your dry soil can do better, I suggest you water the soil. If you can list your weeds, you can find a list of soil indicator species that can give you an idea of what it is about the spots in question that the pioneers, and specific pioneers, love, but your crops don't.

Incidentally, how much mulch is going to be at least 3 inches, if using something like wood chips, but whatever you use, it should be a thick enough covering to block the sun from the soil, cutting down on solar and wind dessication, but not so thick as to impede water infiltration. Mulching will keep your soil from getting to that dry, barren state you're wondering about, and will also give food to the bacteria that feed many of the organisms in the soil.

I have over-mulched carrots, too. It doesn't seem to take much. For anything I am starting from seed in a mulched bed, I make tiny craters in the mulch that expose a small amount of soil to light and air, and that's where I plant my seeds.

I don't think you could call Redhawk's preparations Steiner method, for a couple of reasons. First, he isn't affiliated with the company that owns the Biodynamic name and properties. Second, his preparations deviate markedly from the instructions provided by Steiner. His preparations were, no doubt, informed by his research into the making of Biodynamic preparations, but his background made it possible for him to delve into the soil science behind the mysticism and ritual.

Could you elaborate on your fourth point? Are you talking about composting with phosphorous-rich materials to keep the phosphorous, which will leach into the surrounding soils when it rains when applied to the soil, locked biologically into your compost? Can you tie up phosphorous and other macro/micronutrients in the life cycles of living things in your compost, so that they don't leach out?

-CK
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Angelika Maier wrote:1.) I read it is very bad for all the soil critter to leave the soil exposed, this is the reason we mulch or cover crop. Just how long shouldn't it be bare? How about carrots, it needs some time until they sprout and cover the soil? Or if I don't get around to mulch for a week or so?
2.) I grow quite a few (100+) medicinal herbs, many of these can be described as Mediterranean plants others are just weeds. If you look at the environments they life it looks dry barren - what is the soil life there? Is there less life? Do these plants still grow better with more life?
3.) Why did you choose steiner preparations over other methods like EM or that Yatam thing, are there any advantages/disadvantages? How do the different methods compare?
4) This has nothing to do with biology: Everything Phosphorous goes in the compost first that it is not leached out, but for how long? We did incoorporate p at the last turning how long does it have to sit?



1.) yes, soil erodes in wind or by water washing it away, this means that those organisms living in that soil get blown or washed away with the soil.
For seeds, leave as small an area of exposed soil as possible (holes in the mulch which you plant through) or use transplants from your seed starting trays (one other possibility other than direct seeding).

2.) If a plant is grown or left to grow so you can make use of it someway, is it really a "weed". Plants that grow in "barren" areas are primary succession plants, those first comers that will condition the soil for the next wave of succession plants.
Just because they can grow in such conditions doesn't mean they won't grow in better conditions (usually). Those primary succession plants can get by without a thriving soil microbiosphere but they will thrive in soil rich in the microorganisms.

3.) I studied Steiner in one of my Graduate classes, then I modified his methodology with the goal of great results in less time and with less effort. I do use EM (of a sort since I also modified the method of making that too).
All these "concoctions" are designed to increase the soil microorganisms numbers or to install them where they aren't currently living, since this is the goal, great quantities of soil organisms, it is wisest to use a diverse set of methods and concoctions to arrive at the desired end.
By using a diverse set of methods and preparations we can have a very diverse, thriving soil biology that will help our plants thrive and survive catastrophic events like diseases, infestations, etc.

4.) Phosphorous in very high quantity can be detrimental to other nutrients availability to your plants. If you are building your soil microorganism counts, it will not remain in a free state for long, bacteria and fungi hyphae are always hungry and will shut down when their foods are not available or if the conditions become hostile to their survival.  Once you have your microorganisms at good levels, all nutrients will be available all the time and you should not need to supplement any nutrient or mineral ever again. The microorganisms will recycle the nutrients continuously so as long as the soil life thrives all the nutrients will not leach away.

Redhawk
 
Angelika Maier
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Chris, you got that wrong I grow these weeds intentionally since many of them are good medicinals, sounds crazy but people want to grow them! Some of them are not weeds though.
Yes it's about sucession and that is why in my opinion it is wrong to eradicate weeds (I mean these government declared invasive weeds)
Bryant as I understand that right you are either not wanting to add phosphorous at all or only a little bit (my soil test showed 500kg/ha). Do you use fertilizer at all or only cococtions?
Our soils here are very low in phosphorous and definitively in boron and probably some other minerals, classified as not suitable for agriculture (damnit I should have taken some photos how apparently suitable pastures here look like).
Opening small pockets on the soil surface does not really work for carrots, since the seeds are broadcasted over the whole soil suface otherwise I only grow some carrots in little pockets - not very feasible. As for most other crops I really do prefer direct seeding since it is so much less work like lettuce spinach, silverbeet green onions the turnips no one eats and so on. Of course beans zucchini can be light ly mulched after sowing them. With lettuce it's probably not a problem since it's coming up so fast but parsnips or carrots do affect the soil biology - unless I might pop and old cardboard on the top until they germinate or something similar.
Another 'method' is maybe not to weed all the time. I just 'dug' out a huge crop of tomatoes in weeds hip high. I tied them a bit up so that they can ripen. Many crops actually don't mind some weeds it's more us trying to be tidy.
 
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Redhawk I have really been enjoying the mountain of information you have been dumping on us lately, it has made for some great reading and thinking as our spring drags it's feet around here. I am preparing to attempt my largest field planting ever (about 30,000 sq. ft. of sunflowers and pumpkins for seed oil) and I'm curious to hear your thoughts about how often compost teas or extracts can/should be applied for maximum benefit. I don't currently have enough compost to cover the field and I don't think it would be cost effective for me to buy that much compost because the space is not mine and may not last more than this one season. Also the soil is already fairly vibrant based on the height and vigor of the mixed pasture that grows there every year. So if I apply a vibrant compost tea at planting time (early/mid may) would a monthly application be sufficient to maintain those microbial communities? would that be excessive?
Also do you know if it is true that fungal relationships are more important during the fruiting phase of a plants life than at other times?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Stephen, Good questions, thank you for asking them.

If you are preparing a "new" field (assuming it has something growing on it now), this is the time to use the One Time Only tillage, the growing materials become the infusion of organic material.
For any farmer, the best use of compost is to make oxygenated teas and spray applying them, you get far more mileage from your compost this way.
I would spray this field prior to planting then again once the plants are up and growing well and probably a third application right after fruits are set.
All soil has all the minerals present, the problem most people have with keeping that information present in their minds is that soil test report on the Water Soluble Minerals Only, so even though your soil has all the minerals present, they all most likely don't show up in a soil test.
This has been proven over and over through the use of Gas Chromatography and Spectrometry but so much emphasis is placed on soil tests, the true facts sometimes are forgotten.
By getting complete soil biology living and growing in your soil you create the conditions needed for those locked up minerals to become available when the plants send out the call through their exudates, otherwise they would remain locked up.

Fungal relationships with plants are always important there isn't a point in a plants life (germination might be considered except that we know now that this is the prime time for mycorrhizae), so I would have to say no to fruiting time to be more important but it is just as important as any other point in the plant's life.

Redhawk

 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Angelika,  This is a rather involved answer to your questions, I'll try to make it easy to understand.

All over the world, there are present all the minerals, most of these are "locked up" as parts of molecules with very strong electron bonds, these bonds can be broken by bacteria and fungi created enzymes thus becoming available to the plants through the actions of the soil food web.
When we take samples and get them tested at a lab, the lab reports on the free minerals, those that are in water soluble form only. So while the soil test will tell you "available mineral quantities" it can not tell you about those locked up minerals.
In fact this is one of the problems with soil science, it ignores everything it can't detect or test for.

This is not saying don't believe your soil test results, they are valuable to know, but you do need to know exactly what they are reporting and why they report that way.

Until you have your soil biology up to the right levels, you should make additions per the soil test results, that way you have "free minerals" available, but you also need to keep adding to your soil biology because you will reach that point where the microorganisms will be able to free up those locked up minerals for your plants to use. This is the point of maximum returns (in microbiological terms) and that is what we want to achieve.

If you are broadcasting seeds and want to make sure you get the most germinating, then you should do two applications of compost tea prior to broadcasting the seed.
Doing this, gives your seeds their best chance at surviving once they have used up their own energy stores, it also will help with water retention in the soil.

Once your crop is up to where you can add mulch, that is the time to do so.  My wife plants carrots and beets and other root crops this way, the seeds sprout and then she uses sifted mulch (fine, almost powder like) so that it comes just below the first leaflets, she will add more of this sifted mulch but through a coarser screen, for the second and third applications, then she will use coarser mulch as the plants grow tall enough. Her total depth of mulch on these root crops is just above 2 inches. 
I have to say that she is using my set of soil screens so since you probably don't have those, any screen under a 1/4 inch would be perfect for that first, fine material, application when the plants get up tall enough.
If you only have the 1/4 inch, just wait till the plants are a little taller so the mulch layer won't smother the new plants.

Redhawk
 
Chris Kott
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Hau, kola Redhawk. Thanks again for sharing your soil wisdom with us.

I have a question regarding the newest addition to my family, a Flemish Giant doe we are keeping as a litter-trained housepet.

Based on what I know of digestion, the rabbit's fecal pellets should contain her digestive enzymes and a sampling of her gut microbiota, along with the usual digestive byproducts. These should essentially be soil probiotics, shouldn't they? I mean, not-so-tiny little nuggets of indigestible bacteria food?

I know they're a good cool manure to use, and that you can apply them directly as mulch without burning plants, but I was wondering, for instance, what, if anything, fresh rabbit droppings would add to an oxygenated compost extract, or if dropping a few pellets before watering into houseplants would inoculate the potting soil and increase its vitality and that of the houseplant.

Does this sound right to you, or am I missing something?

-CK
 
Bryant RedHawk
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You are exactly right Kola, that is what I use rabbit droppings for (and deer if I happen upon some that is fresh). You can not wait long however, once they dry out, the bacteria go dormant and the enzymes are gone (usefully inactive).
If you want the best of rabbit dung, you need a cage that sits over a tub, add water with some molasses or dextrose and fructose sugars in it. The dung falls through the cage, hits the sugared water and the microbes feed and multiply rapidly.

I did some smears of rabbit dung a long time ago and was amazed at how many different bacteria were present in fresh dung.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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"Long ago man had six senses, it was when science came to be relied upon that we started only using five".

How many people actually understand the width and breadth of what soil is?
This is a trick question, we still don't know everything about what soil is, it has become the life work of scientists from several disciplines and we get closer every year but we may never have the whole answer.
Not too long ago I was given what I considered at the time a huge complement, (I was introduced to a group of university fellows as "one of the top experts in soil biology and plant interactions with the microorganism biosphere") then I thought about the implications of that complement.
Now I am not so sure that I deserved the praise nor am I sure I want it. There is so much more to learn that it is nearly impossible to express in mere words, they somehow fail to be precise enough.

So, we know we need a full complement of microorganisms in our soil, we know these organisms need the basics of life, water, oxygen and food which for bacteria comes from simple sugars which they metabolize to process minerals in the soil and rocks.
We know that fungi form a hyphae network of biblical proportions, inhabiting hundreds of feed of soil, and provide not only foods and protection from parasitic organisms but also serve as the communication network for both plants and other microorganisms, and that the microorganisms travel along the hyphae network, using it like a free way system.
We know that the way a plant gets the nutrients it needs is three fold, 1. they can pull in rain born nutrients, 2, they can pull in air born nutrients and 3. they can order specific nutrients from the soil organisms to be pulled into the plant's root system.
We know that plants feed the soil organisms through their secretion of exudates and that these exudates order up the exact nutrient(s) that the plant needs at that time.
We know that the microorganisms of the soil work as a circle of life food web, the smallest feeding everything up to the largest which is the plant that placed the nutrient order in the first place.
We know that direct feeding through the use of "fertilizers" tends to 1. make the microorganisms lazy, 2. can actually kill the microorganisms via poisonous reactions, 3. increase the numbers of the predatory, parasitic organisms, and 4. doesn't really give the plant all that it needs and receives through the soil microorganism world.

We also know how to grow all the different microorganisms and how to cause them to multiply so we can add them to the soil via spraying or watering.
We understand that this whole, simple but complex system runs on sunlight, oxygen, minerals and water.
We know that every time we disturb the soil through tillage that we kill off the majority of the living soil organisms, even though we might be adding organic matter at the same time, the detrimental effects far outweigh the benefit.

We have covered in another thread one of the better ways to gather and grow specific types of microorganisms with which we can create better compost that contains all the biology we want to add to our soil.
We have covered how to make the additions to the soil so we can then grow better, more nutrient rich foods which will help prevent our bodies from nutrient poor disasters like Illness and disease.
Some have asked questions, which I have answered to the best of my ability.
So where do you want me to go next? I can answer most of the questions you might ask, and I have the resources to get those answers I don't have myself.
This is where I am going to turn to you, the reader so I will know what you want to know or understand better.

Redhawk




 
stephen lowe
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A question that comes up to me as I read through your insights and compare/contrast that with my conversations with functional production farmers (many of them certified organic and all of them attempting to be better than average to the land they steward) is about tillage. How bad is it really? What is it's proper place in production annual agriculture? I know that you have said it should be a one time only activity but approximately 100% of the annual veggie farmers that I know describe as a (minimally) once yearly necessity. And many of them insist that some kind of regular 'cultivation' is super important for ensuring productive growth. I even know of one very large, thoughtful, certified, dry-farmed farm that uses very heavy tillage to combat the intense weed pressure in their fields. So I suppose that my question is whether you see a place for tillage in production agriculture and if not what sort of practices do you see replacing it?
 
Chris Kott
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My understanding is that tillage involves inverting the soil structure, killing soil life. This is generally thought of, in permacultural circles, as a bad idea, as we use the soil biota to do most of the work for us.

Tillage is used to break up clods, deal with compaction, and to mix organic matter down into the soil faster than it gets there itself. This kills the soil life, as mentioned. It also tends to reduce particle size, making it much easier to lose soil to the wind.

So instead of energising the soil, as they think they are doing, they are actually killing off the organisms that make the soil, and encouraging it to blow away.

You can't just take a till-based system and stop tilling and expect it to work for you. That is probably where a lot of bad opinions on the subject come from.

I would replace tillage with regular applications of organic matter, or growing and then crimp rolling green manures, and either top applications of oxygenated compost extract, or ground injection, as described with the device in a previous post of Redhawk's, or both.

If they have already been routinely killing their soil life, depending on how little organic matter is left in their soil, I would probably add at least three inches to the top, then till it in and do the compost extract treatment.

The other thing tillage does is break up the fungal networks, which prevents them from acting in the way they should to optimise growing conditions for some crops.

My opinion is that the opinions of these functional production farmers have been skewed by people selling farming models that require constant tillage, which requires their machine, and their crops, to resist their pesticides. Even organic farming models developed on the bases of those industrial models will suffer, because their playbook is essentially the same. Organic production would simply have you source what you're spraying and fertilising with from nature, whatever that means.

Your farmer friends are moving in the right direction and it's great that they're asking questions. That's a critical step to informing oneself, and you can't find better ways of doing without that.

-CK
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hua Stephen, 

You mentioned that the Till it is a necessity guys are combating weeds in their POV. If they had proper soil microorganisms,, which leads to proper nutrient availability, then they would not have so many weeds.
Cultivation is also called disturbance, disturbance in nature comes along by fire, wind damage (blown down trees), earth quake and flood.
Cultivation is continuous disturbance, no time for succession to occur, so this would be like having a field burn down every year. I know of no place in farm land that has such a thing happen.

Tilling kills the microbiome, the very thing that allows a farmer to not have to use any fertilizers, or other expensive items and yes even organic has a list of approved fertilizers and insecticides along with some herbicides.

Here's the problem, Farmers are told by the USDA that they must till the soil to get a good seed bed and that this will get rid of the weeds.  Unfortunately this is not what happens.
The farmer tills, kills all his soil life and creates dirt, weeds love dirt, they are the first succession plants of nature, they build dirt into soil, that is their purpose in nature.
How much sense does it make to you to do such a thing? Farmers believe the USDA (they are the "government experts") so they do as told by these experts instead of learning what it really is they are doing to the very land they claim to want to protect.

Cultivation is a huge Urban Myth, perpetuated by the Big Agriculture Corporations (who fund the USDA), these guys are in the business of selling fertilizers and all the sprays, I doubt they ever want the truth about dirt to be learned (this is why I no longer work for the USDA, and Neither does Elaine Ingham).

What these guys you mention should be doing is to build their soil organism levels, that is how you stop the weeds from sprouting.
 
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Do you happen to know how duck poop differs from rabbit and other manures in it's effects on the soil? I often take shovels of my duck's deep litter bedding to put under raspberries and other fruit trees, and they've been doing better from having done so. But, would they do even better if I composted it first?

I have four compost barrel turners that I got for free. These are marvelously convenient, but they don't have any contact with the soil. How does that impact the mirco-organisms? I recently added a shovel-full of forest soil from under my maple/nettle/salmonberries to add some forest biology, after reading your threads. Is there anything else I should do? How often should I spin these?

Thank you SO MUCH for all your informative posts. These are marvelous, and for me, a lot more helpful than a video. I can take my time and really digest the information, and it doesn't eat up my limited internet.

THANK YOU!!!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Duck poop is very similar to chicken poop and goose poop, all are very hot (high nitrogen content) and should be composted before incorporating into soil, laying it on top (using as a mulch like you describe) is ok as long as your soil already has some good biology living there.
The main problem with all manures is that there is a high concentration of Pathogens, those nasty critters that cause listeria and other horrible illnesses.
The lettuce industry and in fact almost all the items we can find in plastic bags in the produce department at the grocery store are subject to being grown through the use of non composted pig and cow manures, this stuff is usually called "Sludge", it is a foul liquid held in ponds until they pump it into trucks and ship it to some unsuspecting farm, which pours it on their field for a nitrogen boost. The farmer thinks he is getting great things for his soil, but those pathogen critters eat up any good bacteria and smother the fungi we want and that means they are actually creating a "kill field" rather literally.

compost barrel turners are super, fill them up as if you are creating a new compost heap, then turn one or two turns, once a day. 14 days later you have pretty good compost if the heat comes up like it should.
Forest soil is never a bad idea as an addition to any compost heap, no matter if it is out in the open or a stand up box or a tumbler, the extra biology will grow and grow as long as the moisture is there (slightly damp to the feel) and there is food for the bacteria and other organisms (when in doubt add a few table spoons of sorghum molasses) air is the third component to soil life (which is what we are growing to add to our soil).

I have built 8 foot long tumblers with 2x4's and plywood for the ends in the past, and I've used good old clean 55 gal. barrels (both plastic and metal), all with great, fast results.
My last one finally rotted away this winter so I will have to see what I can find for a new one, I'm getting to old to worry about another 8 footer to turn every day.

I am glad you like these threads, it means that I am reaching the audience that will gain the most benefit (if you have MS Word or another write program, use your copy/paste features and build the book, all of this information is free to you here. you can always buy the book when it comes out so you will have a copy for me to sign LOL)  If you want the working title; "Soil Building for Healthy Plants and A Healthy Body"  by  B. Redhawk

Redhawk
 
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It will become a gardening classic, I am sure of it.

May I suggest that the first section is theory, with your explanations of soil life, plant interactions etc, and the second section is practical, with clear instructions on creating good humus, compost teas etc. It would be great to also have photos of different types of soil, and photos of healthy examples of different types of soil. Even some images of microorganisms.

It would be interesting for gardeners around the world to be able to look at the photos of the different soils and find their own. And for them to read the "Why" first, and then the "How" of creating those healthy soils. So often, you get only one or the other. I think many people like to understand why they are doing something, so instructions only can leave you a bit empty, and on the other hand they don't want to read something theoretical and get all fired up to make changes, but have no idea of how to go about making them.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Nicola,

You are right and thank you for the suggestion of starting with theory, I do plan on the book being a compendium for building soil, starting with what dirt is and going through what we can still find in some of the untouched areas in Alaska and Canada, where the soil is doing just as it was back a thousand years ago and more.
The book will be full of pictures both macroscopic and microscopic, it will even have the communication network explained and how this network is so very close to an Internet for plants and microorganisms.
In the book I will not only be telling along the way the how to build it but why to build it, every chapter is planned to have pictures relevant to the material being covered.
It will have as much detail as needed so anyone can do the work and know they are getting it right, but it isn't going to be a Scientific paper, it's a book for folks to use.

A friend of mine has offered up the title "Soil For The Rest Of Us" but I think that doesn't really work for me.

This book will have very little "Theory" and it will not be so full of scientific notations and formulas nor will it be strict on naming the organisms, I plan to make this a book for the Non-Scientist, and make it much easier to read.
If you follow the threads I am putting up, you know how the book is going to be written, you are getting parts of it here.

Redhawk
 
Chris Kott
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Just so I understand, Kola, the book and your dissertation are separate projects sharing source material, right?

I like the streamlined approach, and I definitely agree that presenting the whole thing as a number-heavy info-dump is a turn-off to those not primed to take in information like that. I like to think that I could, but realistically, the reason so much has stuck from the perusal of your soil threads is because your presentation flows logically and well, from the general to the specific, without overloading us on information that, while critical for the specific circumstance, might not do much to improve understanding of the overarching concepts.

I wouldn't rule out the option of having appendices in the back to which the body of the book refers, such that, should we need the taxonomic nomenclature and detailed pictures of microbes under the microscope, or equations, recipes, target bacterial counts, that sort of technical thing, they could also be at hand. You've done a lot of good work, and by making it all available, the hard data can still be there for those who work best that way.

I hope you don't mind, but I will both make use of the knowledge you've posted in your threads and buy the book when it comes out.

And thank you. Permaculture, and the world, needs this.

-CK
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Chris Kott wrote:Just so I understand, Kola, the book and your dissertation are separate projects sharing source material, right?

  Exactly right, these threads come from parts of the dissertation research and from my years of working with farmers to improve their soil and profits.

I like the streamlined approach, and I definitely agree that presenting the whole thing as a number-heavy info-dump is a turn-off to those not primed to take in information like that. I like to think that I could, but realistically, the reason so much has stuck from the perusal of your soil threads is because your presentation flows logically and well, from the general to the specific, without overloading us on information that, while critical for the specific circumstance, might not do much to improve understanding of the overarching concepts.


The book will be very similar to what you read here, same style and technique, not everyone wants to read the dry, boring (to those without the background I'm sure).

I wouldn't rule out the option of having appendices in the back to which the body of the book refers, such that, should we need the taxonomic nomenclature and detailed pictures of microbes under the microscope, or equations, recipes, target bacterial counts, that sort of technical thing, they could also be at hand. You've done a lot of good work, and by making it all available, the hard data can still be there for those who work best that way.

There will be both, appendices and bibliography also a suggested reading list.

I hope you don't mind, but I will both make use of the knowledge you've posted in your threads and buy the book when it comes out.
-CK


I am glad you like these threads, it means that I am reaching the audience that will gain the most benefit (if you have MS Word or another write program, use your copy/paste features and build the book, all of this information is given free to you here. you can always buy the book when it comes out so you will have a copy for me to sign LOL)  If you want the working title; "Soil Building for Healthy Plants and A Healthy Body"  by  B. Redhawk   P.S. The book will be far more detailed than these threads and it will include the photos I can't put up here due to computer limited access.

Redhawk
 
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Redhawk,  Would a pre-order work with you? If this will help in the publishing end. I know sometimes pre-funding may help.  I promise to be patient also. A go-fund-me or similar.
 
master steward
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Erica and Ernie had a pretty good experience with funding their book via a Kickstarter.  It's a great way to gauge interest.
 
stephen lowe
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So Redhawk, to follow up on my question and make sure that I understand what you are recommending, you would recommend that a production farmer transition to a fully no till protocol in all of their fields? And this would essentially look like mowing/roller crimping cover crops and then what? Chisel plow and seed drill? And so you understand the tone, I am not skeptical, I am simply not very familiar with a lot of the tractor tools and am trying to get my head around what I would need to approach a fresh field.
Also I am totally hoarding word documents of these threads but will be super excited to buy many copies of your book for my own library and as passive aggressive gifts to everyone I know with a field crop business.
 
permaculture is giving a gift to your future self. After reading this tiny ad:
Solar ovens, haybox cooker - What would you build to go with a rocket oven?
https://permies.com/t/89917/Solar-ovens-haybox-cooker-build
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