Anthony Saber

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since Jun 01, 2017
Noosa Hinterland QLD, Australia
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Recent posts by Anthony Saber

Hi Travis,

My understanding is that once you get the minerals in the soil balanced, the PH should rebalance to around 6.4.
Also keep in mind that the PH around the rhizosphere of the plant can be quite different from the rest of the soil.

If you want to adjust the PH for certain plants and trees I would be adding amendments to make the soil either more alkaline or acidic
but remember that could in turn throw out the soil balance of the minerals as some may become unavailable.

I would do tests before I did this to the whole crop and see if it performs as expected.

I only use the PH of the soil to get a reading before I start the remineralisation process.

Cheers
Anthony
3 weeks ago
Hi All,

Looking to start doing soil tests with recommendations on how to improve the soil to produce nutrient dense foods
for small time farmers and market gardeners.

I have done a couple of courses and know the fundamentals but need to know more about how the calculation are been done.

At present I am working my way through Ideal Soil by Michael Astera which does a good job of explaining the how and why.

I have spoken to a couple of agronomist and they seem to make it some sort of black art,
which I don't buy as I think if you have the soil test results you will be able to identify what the soil needs in minerals.

Another issue is that most of the soil tests, are been conducted by company agronomists who are in turn selling their own product.
I believe you could use simple base minerals to achieve the desired result and which could be cheaper in the end.

I am also discovering that its also down to the person doing the report, because they are influenced by different authors and in turn
follow their methodologies.

Am I missing some thing and over simplifying the whole process?


So any advice or recommendations on getting the above information would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks in advance

Anthony
4 weeks ago

Brian Rodgers wrote:
I have a refractometer for my aquaculture systems. I'll try it on veggies and fruit. Can you explain how the sugar content of food is a measure of its nutritional value?  
My wife has been wanting to get a microscope for educational purposes to interact with our granddaughter.  This seems a perfect time to combine our efforts and look at our soil. Thank you. Do you have a link for further reading?
Thank you
Brian  



Hi Brian, My understanding of how the refractometer works for Brix is that the thicker the liquid the higher the reading.
In turn the higher the reading the higher the nutrient level.

I would not worry that much on how it works, as you have one at hand give it a try.

Go online and download a Brix chart which is a list of fruit and vegetable and their ratings.
Then take a fruit or vegetable which is on the list and squeeze a drop or two of juice on to the
refractometer. Then read the measurement and compare it to the chart.

But before you do the Brix test, you need to do the taste test. Take a bite of the fruit or vegetable and give it you rating.
This will vary from on the low side TASTELESS to high WOW it's flavorsome.
I am going to let you into a closely guarded secret. Our mouth has an inbuilt Brix Meter ;-)

You will see with out fail flavorsome produce will always have a high Brix reading.

All produce I grow goes through the Brix test. That said I am not growing to the required high level yet
but will endeavor to keep improving.

Getting a microscope will open a whole new world to you and can become quite addictive if you are that way inclined.
I have only had a microscope for a couple on months and it has changed my approach to growing.

Hope that helps
Anthony



4 months ago
Hi all, me again.

I am pretty surprised the way this post has evolved.

All I was trying to say, was that in my opinion if fruit and vegetables get the minerals and foods they require
via the microbes (soil food web) in the soil. The end product will be more nutrient dense and in turn, will benefit
the persons who consume it.

We should be focusing on educating the farmers and growers to aim for a better product.
In turn, the ones that grow better food should be paid more for their produce.
Quality over quantity.

(Dan Kittredge’s organisation is working on a handheld monitor which can be pointed at a
fruit-vegetable and will give you an instant reading (Brix).
Imagine walking around a farmers market and instantly knowing the nutrient value of the produce
I wonder which farmer will sell more?)

I am not knocking the farmers, overall big supermarkets – chains are paying them the bare minimum to grow food.

I am also not negating all the other issues about healthy eating and getting access to healthy food in general
but I will say that is the choices people are making, sometimes through necessity and other through lack of
knowledge.

Anthony
4 months ago
Managing the Soil

What I have learned about soil and my approach to managing it so far.

Following is my opinion of what I have observed. I am no expert and have on formal training in this area.

It is a little daunting as I have an audience of very knowledgeable people (AKA Soil guru Dr. Bryant RedHawk etc)
I also know that a lot of what follows is common knowledge to a fair percentage on this board.

So lets begin..

First of all, one needs to understand that the soil microbes (Soil Food Web) are breaking down organic matter and minerals which in turn are made available for the trees and plants.
They have a symbiotic relationship with the trees and plants by providing each other with what each other needs to live and grow.

Unfortunately, most growers as in home gardeners to farmers do not understand the relationship and believe you need to feed the plants instead
of trying to manage the soil food web.
That said there are certain foods that can be taken up directly by plants.

My KISS Soil Rules
- Observation, look at the trees and plants, look for any signs they may be in need of something to keep them at optimal health.
- Keep soil disturbance to a minimum.
- Water, keep the ground slightly moist at all times.
- Feed regularly ( Compost Tea, Seaweed and Fish extract)
- Mulch, keep the soil covered at all times.
- Check compost tea is at optimal microbial life (Microscope)
- Check the microbe count of the soil monthly (Microscope)
- Collect seed of your strongest plants, to be used the following year.
- When removing plants cut the stem at ground level. Let it rot and do not disturb the roots rhizosphere.
- Have patience, nature is in no hurry.

The main building blocks are -

Rock Minerals and Trace Elements (There are two camps when it comes to minerals. One as in Elaine Ingham who believes that all the minerals are present in the soil and needs to be mined by the soil microbes to make them available to the plants when needed, the other camp says, find out what's lacking (soil test) and provide the missing minerals and trace elements to the soil. I personally start by providing a balanced mineral mix to the soil. If it's not needed it won’t be used by the plants. Plants won’t request it from the microbes.

Sea Water (I live on the coast so it's easy to get - You can dissolve pure sea salt in water)

Well Balanced Organic Fertiliser (Personal preference in the form of pellets)

Fine wood chips (Give some structure to the soil and provide some fungal food)

Compost – (Worm Castings) I am of the opinion that worm castings provide a better overall end product and are easier to produce.
(I am totally committed to this and I am in the process of setting up a large worm farm so I can have access to high-quality worm castings for compost and teas.
After examining soils and composts under a microscope, I am of the opinion that most composts and soil mixes are basically just lifeless dirt.

Compost Tea made from high-quality worm castings (Feed the soil microbes)

Activated BioChar (Mixup some worm castings in water and drench the biochar. (Provide a home for the microbes)

Cover Crops - Get some biomass into the soil

Mulch (Cover the soil to keep it cool or warm and provide food for the microbes when it breaks down)
I am leaning towards using Alfalfa – Lucerne mulch, as it seems to be a way of increasing the protozoa population in the soil.

Microscope(Optional if you want to examine Soil, Compost. Compost Tea)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How I prepare new or revive old beds

I believe the work you do up front will be of ongoing benefit in the future.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the task ahead. Just do one bed-area at a time.

- Check the soil type of the beds-area you are working.
- Loosen up the soil to about a spade length. This is hopefully the last time you will disturb the soil to this extent.
- Mix into the depth of about six inches, the Fine Woodchips, Activated BioChar, Compost, and Organic fertiliser.
- Broadcast the Rock Mineral and Trace elements over the soil.
- Give the area a good watering.
- Drench with sea water Mix 10 to 1
Next day
- Drench the soil with a compost tea mix. (Ensure this is fresh, 24 to 48 hours old.
- If you are planting a cover crop, broadcast the seeds thickly over the ground.
- Cover with mulch.
- Let cover crop grow to just before they seed. Cut the stem at ground level, leave to rot down.
- Now ready to be planted out


Ongoing Soil Maintenance

Is basically my KISS Soil Rules

I know this so-called system may evolve as I learn and experience more over time.

I would like to thank the following people who I have learned stacks from and are totally committed to the same cause.

Our very own – Dr. Bryant RedHawk
Dan Kittredge – www.bionutrient.org
Graeme Sait  - www.nutri-tech.com.au

My biggest challenge now is to produce fruit and vegetable at the highest BRIX level and ensure we are growing nutrient dense food for better health.

Now over to you, to provide feedback and comment…

Thanks for indulging me
Anthony
4 months ago
This is made up of two parts. This is Human Health and following will be Managing the Soil.

Following is my opinion of what I have observed. I am no expert and have on formal training in this area.

My motivation is to grow and teach others, how to grow nutrient dense food.
I believe we are experiencing a human health crisis and it’s not being discussed to the level it should be.

We are eating and feeding our children fruit and vegetables with basically no nutritional value.
And simply put it’s tasteless. Humans have an in build way of knowing if something is good.
It’s your nose and tongue. If it smells good it will taste good as well and it will have a high nutrient level.
(This only applies to raw fruit and vegetables, I know cakes and lollies always smell and taste good 😉).

When last did you bite into a juicy sweet peach or tasted a flavorsome celery stick or tomato?

The result is, we have a couple of generations of people who are allergic to all sorts of things – nuts, bread, milk to name a few.
An obese population who are eating food with no nutrient value so they have to overeat to try and get enough fuel to drive the body’s engine.
Seven out of ten kids are having to go to the orthodontist because their mouths are too small to accommodate their teeth.
When I was growing up in the sixties allergies of certain foods and going to an orthodontist was relatively rare.

Now don’t kid yourself, thinking that because you are eating organic fruit and vegetables you are OK.
Organics is a step up because they do not use toxic chemicals but be assured most of the produce
is as low in nutrient value as the rest.

What's more, you are been charged an arm and a leg for the privilege of buying their produce.

You can do a simple test to find out how nutrient dense the fruit and vegetable are – Do a Brix test.
Buy a refractometer ($25-$50) and do the test, you will find the majority of what you are eating is
POOR (No real nourishment to feed your body)

Obviously the above is for first world countries, for the parts of the continent where growing food is a problem
I believe some sort of permaculture setup would go a long way to fixing the problem.

Now to frighten you a little more –
My question to you is “ What is going to happen to the generations to come?”

OK, enough doom and gloom the good news is, that this can be reversed by managing and working the SOIL.
4 months ago
Hi Chris,

In my opinion, before you do anything. I would have someone look at the microbiology of the soil.
What microbes are around and is the soil food web in balance.

Once you have those results you can then take the appropriate action to get it in balance if need be.  
This may be in the form of a good compost tea soil drench.

What most people forget or just don’t know is that the microbes build the soil and work hand in hand
with the plants to give them what they need.

Cheers
Anthony
4 months ago
I am sold, I’ve had the microscope for a week and even though I have a lot to learn. It has opened my eyes to getting some
hard facts on what is in the soil, compost and compost tea.

Next step is to experiment with different compost tea recipes and see the results.
Maybe a business opportunity as I can offer this service to fellow gardeners and market farmers.

I enrolled in a Udemy online course https://www.udemy.com/microbial-analysis-for-growers/
Watched Elaine Ingham on youtube and purchased Tim Willsons DVD, so getting started has been pretty cheap.

Now to spending lots of time analysing lots of soil compost, compost tea samples.

If I find anything that I believe to be of interest I will add to this post.

Cheers
Anthony
5 months ago
Hi There,

Having second thoughts on going down the microscope route as I am not sure what I will gain from it.

My understanding is that once I have learned the skill I will be able to identify what microbes I have in
the soil, compost or compost tea but then what?

I understand is that if you want fungal compost you can see if its fungal dominated or not.

For compost tea is it fungal/bacterial and what microbes are growing in the tea.

Now the big question what happens next?
Is this an observation exercise only or are there action steps to be taken thereafter.

Thanks fro your time
Anthony
6 months ago
Thanks  Bryant.

I looked through your posts and found this below. Can I bug you to recommend the make and model. As I known very little about microscopes I don't want to buy the wrong model.

Thanks
Anthony

2500X magnification capability. The step up model is one with EPI-Fluorescence for the light source, these are costly though, you can add this light source separately later on.
The average person will spend around 350.00 for the scope, slides, cover slips, stains and specialty tools for slide making.
The scope I usually recommend as a good starting point is around 250.00, it is designed Veterinary/Clinical use and has a good illumination module with iris.

7 months ago