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What we need to know about Soil  RSS feed

 
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Gail, I use sea-90 in pastures, as free choice salt for all the animals, in the gardens and orchard, on the dinner table and for cooking. I use a whirly spreader, mostly because it speeds up the process of covering a lot of ground.
I use a half cup sprinkled by hand around every fruit tree. I first spread it two years ago and will do another treatment next year, mostly because I am adding more land to pastures from the forest and that area will benefit from the minerals.

BTW, the planet has 5,000 minerals now (earth started out with @250 from the original rocks that came together to create this planet), it is my opinion that the more variety of mineral content we can put into our soils, the better the nutrition will be for the consumers of what grows.
Himalayan sea salt (we use this for a finishing salt) is a good product but it is also lacking some 69 minerals contained in sea-90. It is far better than some feed store "salt block" for certain.
It is my feeling that anything we can use that will bring more and a variety of minerals to every aspect of living is a good thing.

Minerals have recently been shown to be integral to the formation of life on earth, life and minerals are intertwined so closely, you can't have life without minerals.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Location: Otway, Ohio, USA
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Hi, In regards to installment 4, I have added this company's mychorizae mix to my vegetable seed balls, and despite the lack of mention of radishes in the list linked below, the radishes in the control group were fingerling size, while radishes treated were very very large (like footballs). I was growing the heirloom Minowase Daikon. soil and watering conditions were otherwise the same, and the same ground grew all corn the previous year. Their ordinary size is elongated fingerling. My seedball mix always includes clay, dust from carving soapstone pipes, compost tea, and small amounts of fine sawdust (to prevent cracking). The addition of mychorizae being the only difference, the crop seed balls treated with it produced exceptionally well other than corn for which there was no noticeable difference. Tomatoes were noticeably larger, with the plants reaching to my hips and fruits having gained an inch of circumference. Further testing is needed before I submit a paper, but I have designed a battery of tests to determine the full effects including gross weight, water weight, dry weight, calories, and so on... My 900x microscope is broken (my oldest big brother likes to take things apart grrr), so I have to rely on scales, ph, etc... I'm considering cloning the test plants from cuttings to remove genetics as a factor, though radishes are not great for that.

http://www.fungi.com/plant-list/articles/plant-list.html

The Bacteria may have a relationship with the mychorizae fungi that we don't know about that results in greater nutrient uptake in plants that do not necessarily have a symbiotic relationship with the fungi. I intend to explore this hypothesis in the future as a possible explanation as to why the radishes were larger despite no known mychorizal relationship with the Brassicaceae family. should I gain access to a microscope, I may discover that there is a relationship that was overlooked or not.

I am rather enjoying this series and look forward to reading the rest.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Bacteria do indeed have symbiotic relationships with fungi, both micorrhizal and non micorrhizal fungi. There are exomycorrhizal and endomycorrhizal fungi, the exo species grow tight to and surrounding the feeding hair roots, while the endo species actually invade the root cells. Both varieties eat the bacteria, thus releasing those stored nutrients the bacteria was busy eating and breaking into component parts. One of the coolest things about these relationships is that the plant talks with the bacteria and fungi both through electronic and chemical communication paths, and the bacteria and fungi communicate as well. It is a finely tuned nutrient community that goes on in the soil and we are just now starting to see just how intertwined it all is. None of this communication goes on at peak speeds unless all the right minerals are in place and in the right quantities, this is under research as we speak. Time passed is also one of the things to look at in all considerations of this great mystery of the soil organisms and plants.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 103
Location: Pennsylvania, Dauphin County
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I will add this, on top of learning about soils and soil biology, learn about plant physiology and then specifically for the plants you are growing.

For me, it was about the soil first and terms of its biology and ecosystem.  The plant simply is a part of that cycle but we need to understand plant physiology as well.  Together this will unlock many aspects that will enable success and with experience and time greater success.

I am big fan of fungi perfecti, Mycorrhizae.  It helps create a bigger root uptake area which when all things correct is very impressive.

Keep on keepin, on Bryan Redhawk!
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
476
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hau Harry, As you have noticed, Life is a circle and our earth mother is a circle (since a sphere can be described as a series of circles laid out in an ascending and descending order which creates a sphere).

minerals, water and electricity (lightening) created life on this planet, with out all the parts, we would not be here.
There is no part of the great hoop of life that is independent.
Each portion is dependent on every other portion.
Soil can not exist without plants, plants can not exist without soil. (soil can be thought of as the mineral rich medium that supports bacteria, fungi and all the other microbes that interact with roots)
Since all life is intertwined our job is to know as much as we can to help keep everything in proper balance.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Hi Briant I read all your threads, albeit a little bit later. But they are timeless!
About the Himalayan salt: our local coop stopped selling it, because the mining of the salt is rather unsustainable. I have no further information, that's what they told at the counter.
I have some questions about the dirt part (for you it's maybe bygone area but I just begin to try to understand that part): I read Solomon's book and got that soil test and he says he recommends rather high levels of amendments. Now you are telling that the critters get fat and lazy doing so. Do you think Steve's target levels are too high? And if yes with what would you replace them?
Second: you don't explain much about the dirt part - I know it is not in your focus anymore, but I still would like to know a bit more at least some basics. CAn you recommend a good dirt read? Something for people who forgot about all their chemistry stuff from school?
When will you finnish your book? I will definitively buy it!
And I need some more maybe video explanation how to work the soil. (I hate videos) But my parents used to dig over winter (I don't do that) then to hoe thoroughly and rake to make a nice seed bed. I do roughly the same, but I do mulching. For the manual part videos are good.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:
The Bacteria may have a relationship with the mychorizae fungi that we don't know about that results in greater nutrient uptake in plants that do not necessarily have a symbiotic relationship with the fungi.
I intend to explore this hypothesis in the future as a possible explanation as to why the radishes were larger despite no known mychorizal relationship with the Brassicaceae family. should I gain access to a microscope, I may discover that there is a relationship that was overlooked or not.

I am rather enjoying this series and look forward to reading the rest.



There are many relationships between fungi and bacteria, one being that fungi hyphae serve as a highway for bacteria to travel along, fungi will entangle and devour nematodes (which eat fungi) and other relationships.
arbuscular mycorrhizae wrap around roots and protect them from root eating nematodes and other "bad guys" while also becoming the first responders to exudates from the plants, as the exudates coat the fungi, the bacteria travel to the cake and cookies the plant sent out and they begin to produce enzymes to dissolve the plant needed minerals which the bacteria then feed on. At the same time, the many different types of fungi begin to feed on the same minerals and also on the bacteria, along with the other "higher" micro organisms that come to feed on both the bacteria and fungi. These organisms expel the extra nutrients they can't use and those are picked up by the endo mycorrhizae, drawn into the root cells and up the plant to the leaves and other places they are needed.  

Even in plants that are bacteria users the presence of fungi hyphae will enhance the workings of the bacteria and the fungal "wrapping" of the plants roots offer great protection from predators, so this allows the plants to grow faster, better and end up more nutrient rich.
All the brassica's share this trait, even though these are classified as bacterial plants, that just means that bacteria are their primary food supplier, it doesn't mean they don't want fungi, it just means they can do pretty well without fungi.
Currently there are at least 30 studies going on about fungi relationships with plant groups. (If you can join at least one of the scientific publishing communities on the web, you can read the most current research papers, which come out on a weekly basis right now).

Good luck on your research, I hope you get to do it soon.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I am going to add to this thread now since I've been asked to get a little deeper into what dirt is, it is the foundation of soil so we do need to know exactly what dirt is and how it came to be.
With that said, here we go.

In the beginning there was a big bang, (stay with me here) that started the universe, I don't think we need to know more about this giant explosion except that it was the result of all the matter that makes up the universe condensed so tightly that it had to explode.
from this stars were born and eventually planets were formed by the collision of solid matter (we call this stuff rock) and that created heat which glued the "rock" together and this happened over and over and the glued rocks got larger and larger as well as hotter and hotter.
Skip forward to the time where our rock arrived at the size of the Earth, the molten mass has cooled enough for a crust of cooled rock to be the outer layer.
This ancient outer layer contained minerals, 7 of them and that was it.
The first bacteria sprang to life in a soup of noxious chemicals and gasses, they cemented little bits of the rock they had dissolved with enzymes to themselves and created new formations that we can still find today that look a lot like birthday cakes made of stone.
These bacteria gave off a new molecule called oxygen as they broke apart the rocks to use those 7 minerals the earth started out with. In this process they formed new minerals that were pooped out as waste materials and the Oxygen atoms found hydrogen atoms and formed bonds with them to make molecules of water.
This sort of thing kept going and the bacteria created more and more minerals, gave off more oxygen which formed more water molecules until, there was enough water to form puddles and eventually the seas.
By this time there were lots more minerals available which allowed new bacteria forms to feed on those without competition, until we finally had enough resources to form higher life forms than just bacteria, these were the first fungi.
chug along a few more million years and we have large scale erosion of the rock surface crust to have pockets of dirt, which was comprised of all the pooped out minerals that the bacteria, fungi and other newer single celled life forms expelled as waste from their activity of eating, making new materials so they could live and eventually a few hundred million years later we had life as high as the dinosaurs roaming around, leaving all sorts of minerals, as they died and decomposed, laying on the surface so the circle of life could continue along.

So dirt is minerals, some created by the earliest life forms, some already here or falling from the sky as space dust that gets pulled to the atmosphere and eventually settles to the surface.
Most of our minerals that make up the periodic table were created by the earliest of life forms and some were created by chemical reactions caused by the wastes materials those life forms expelled.

Water and wind worked (and still do work) to grind the hard rock surface into smaller and smaller particles and wash them towards the seas or they get trapped in pockets where plant seeds can sprout and hold it in place with their root systems.
When the ground up rocks make it to the sea they settle out and become the ocean floor.
When the tectonic plates (there are cracks all the way through the surface layer not unlike the plates that make up our skulls) decide to shift there arises the opportunity for that ocean floor to rise above the water and become land, with the sediment already in place.
That sediment usually is primed to become soil because it already has lots of bacteria and fungi in it, but as long as it remains underwater, only the anaerobic bacteria and other organisms are active and soil needs aerobic bacteria and other organisms that breathe oxygen or it isn't soil it is "muck".

(When I started University there were 98 atoms (elements) on the periodic table now we know of 118 so we are still in the age of discovery and it is most likely that at least some of the newly discovered elements are created by bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms.)

Redhawk



 
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