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Author Topic: Soil Biology
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  Solar Max
  Redding
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Soil Biology    (Posted Thu, May 12 '11 at 03:56 UTC)

Do any of you have your soil tested for beneficial fungi and microbiology before you decide to farm a piece of land and how do you respond to the reports.

Are there any sources of soil bacteria that can be used to improve soil conditions and organic conversion.

How do you replace the bacteria that used to come with the organic material (such as manure) that was spread on the fields, thats lost due to tilling and plowing

Stephen Pahl Solarmax Farm Hyper Intensive Organic, Sustainable Permaculture Research
 flaja
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Thu, May 12 '11 at 04:39 UTC)

Your best source for soil microbes would be either compost that hasn't composted all the way or some soil that you already know is suitable for growing things.

You can buy bacteria that will grow in the roots of beans and peas so these plants can take nitrogen from the air (look for soil inoculants), but if you have good organic soil you shouldn?t have to add any of them.

 Solar Max
 Redding
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Thu, May 19 '11 at 05:16 UTC)

You say that just by putting organic material on your land that you get the correct microbiology. With over 300,000- 500,000 different strain of bacteria and microorganisms and other than specific strains for beans how can you know if your soil has the best formula for growing your specific crops. If you don't know which species of bacteria, fungi, worms, beetles etc,etc. are in your soil, it would seem that soil nutrients and trace elements would also be a consideration, how can you say or now that your soil has the proper (best) combination for your needs.

Is there a source for specific information concerning location, environment and crops that provide specific species resources. There must be millions of microbiology combinations possible.

There is also the problem of material from other environments invading your local farmland due to deliberate or accidental means, different species of Fungi, bacteria and other micro organism are known to compete and do battle with each other and over short or long term periods the composition of your soil changes.

So do any of you concern yourselves with this or just leave it to chance and hope it will all work out. It seems to me that being concerned with only a few of the contributing factors to soil and crop health prevents you from producing the best crops and livestock you can.

Up until the fossil fueled Ag movement local organic material was re-spread over the local farmland, but with outside organic material and chemicals contaminated by non local strains, you can not really now where the microbiology of your farm comes from if you don't care or test.

So what do the rest of you think ?

Stephen Pahl Solarmax Farm Hyper Intensive Organic, Sustainable Permaculture Research
 flaja
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Thu, May 19 '11 at 05:56 UTC)

I have almost 30 years experience growing beans in my garden. I?ve had naturally sandy soil as well as clay and commercial compost. I?ve never had a failed bean crop due to soil conditions and I have inoculated the seeds only once. It didn?t make any real difference in the crop yield.

Soil flora and fauna are not as plant specific as you think. All plants need roughly the same nutrients and pretty much the same soil conditions except for things like pH and temperature. I know of absolutely no research regarding specific soil organisms for specific plants. And even if you could find such specific information, you won?t be able to buy any soil amendments that are not already on the market meaning all you can buy is one size fits all. But mother nature knows what she is doing. As long as you have soil with a good texture (neither pure clay nor pure sand), that drains well and has a lot of organic matter in it and you keep a lot of organic matter in it, you?ve got the best soil you can have.

 kodiakgirl
 kodiak
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Thu, May 19 '11 at 10:23 UTC)

beans and peas need one innoculant, while crownvetch requires a different kind, but those are legumes. I live in Alaska (poor soil). I've planted Apple trees and given them no beneficials, only to watch them die from the elements. 2 years ago I planted them with large amounts of beneficials and they are thriving and growing a foot or more per year. I don't know if the beneficials die over winter (freeze 3 ft deep), but I think at least some go dormant (they survived being dried and packaged). There is a book by Jeff Lowenfells(not sure how to spell last name). The author lives in Alaska and I heard him speak. If I remember correctly, he can tell a lot about whats going on in the soil just by looking around at the plants, funguses, weeds. The battles are epic. He really openned up our eyes about the importance of the beneficial bacteria. He talked about how roots can communicate with worms and beneficials. They trade. Something provides the roots with something in exchange for sugar or starch provided by the roots. He showed us amazing pictures. Ph is very important. Providing organic matter allows beneficials to really flourish. The more different kinds of things in your compost, the greater the diversity (different bac. likes different things). When I go out into the forest, I take a bucket and I go to a place under large wild shrubs and trees that is so shady it isn't overrun with grasses and weeds. I want forest hummus that isn't filled with weed seeds. I can easily find this type of place with no weeds. Get down on your hands and knees and put your bucket on its side. In my area, there can be about 3 inches of leaves broken down in stages. Top is leaves all the way down to an inch or 2 of black gold!! You will see tiny white bacteria in long connected rows, it's really beautiful. Also, since it's alder bruch in my case, the roots are all through this hummus with actual nitrogen nodes everywhere. Alders are legumes. Anyway, I don't know which beneficials these are, but I add it to my compost pile and the white bacteria breeds like crazy. I run a cold compost that takes forever (2 years), but that way the beneficials don't die. Then, I make compost tea with it because I cant make enough to spread 2 inches over soil. I watch my plants grow an inch or 2 overnight everytime I do this. It leaves me in amazement. These bacteria are obviously the cold hardy kind and I'm sure that there are other kinds I can't see too. I have learned through trial and error the importance of good soil, organic matter, and beneficials with compost in tea. I have never used fake, commercial fertilizers, just as I wouldn't feed a baby that melamine formula the chinese poisoned us with. If the world doesn't go back to the old way of farming, the soil will be dead, produce cancer causing food, and we will continue to slowly die. The argument that we have to do it this way or millions will starve is poison. These dead soils can't hold water, check out national geographic magazine. An artical in the last few years showed the difference between healthy soild with roots that go 10 feet down, and unhealthy soil that gets dry, compact and dead. It's the beginning of the end for us. Too bad humans can't be smart about the most important thing required for us to live, and that is our food and environment we live in

heather
 flaja
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Fri, May 20 '11 at 06:32 UTC)

Every type of legume has its own version of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. But no kind of bean or pea needs to be inoculated because their bacteria are naturally found in most soils.

Did you have your soil tested for its nutrient content and pH before you planted anything? The things you have added may simply have corrected any deficiency your soil had when you planted the first time.

I?ve heard the same thing about plants being able to tell you what your soil is like. Certain weeds need certain minerals so they draw these minerals from deep below ground; remove the weeds and anything you plant will have the benefit of the minerals the weeds added to the root zone.

Removing soil or plants from public property, even to add them to your garden, is illegal in some areas of the country. The government has to support the agro-chemical industry.

 kodiakgirl
 kodiak
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Fri, May 20 '11 at 11:19 UTC)

is the wilderness public property? If so, who cares because I am an animal on this planet too and when a person buys non organic veggies from the store, they help ruin our planet. If a person creates a garden to sustain themselves, using as little money as possible, that is a good thing. I only take what I need and I never take too much from any area. In Alaska, it is almost all wilderness, our state pop is only 500,000. What I'm doing isn't harmful, but when the Exxon Valdez spilled it's oil here, it ruined a lot that hasn't ever recovered.
Whatever I'm doing, I am greatful. I just replanted the onions left over from braids and they are growing, maybe to give me seeds and the cycle will become more self sufficient by the year.
I don't mind the govt supporting agriculture, they don't know any better either and it's one of the things they do that does a little good. Better than giving tax breaks to big oil right? The last few years the govt has supported the high tunnel program so at least they are being fair by supporting the little guys to get going, reduce independence on oil by helping areas become more self sufficient by growing more that actually gets distributed local. It's wonderful!

my soil consultant said I had the best soil composition he'd ever seen in the state with the best nutrient ratio. The only thing I had to do was correct my ph. The cooperative extention service here recommends forest hummus and claims it has every nutrient a plant needs. Works for me. Now I need to figure out what is munching my mache that isn't me. I can see how it might be disconcerting to imagine people overrunning the forest and stealing all the soil. If you lived here you'd see there is enough. I've been down to the lower 48 (lived there for 5 years). I got so depressed from all the people, roadkill, dogs tied up in yards that I will never go back. It was like being in hell. Hope you found somewhere better. Happy gardening

heather
  Nutraslim Acai
 usa
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Fri, May 27 '11 at 01:25 UTC)

Spreading compost on the soil between plants leads to better growth of the plants. Explain why.
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enriquestuart hogosen
 karenrowanb
 lonond
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Tue, May 31 '11 at 08:55 UTC)

Soil Biology is the study of the living component of soils ? the bacteria, fungi, and soil animals which all have particular soil processing roles. It is distinct from, but linked to the processes involved in Soil Chemistry (nutrient processes) and Soil Physics (soil structure, texture, stability, water movement in soil).

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 Lipotrim
 usa
Re: Soil Biology    (Posted Sat, Sep 10 '11 at 02:55 UTC)

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