Hello, looking for hope, long horror story follows...

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by Gourmet Garden, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    At this stage ive gotta take the purple Pear option and say "Soil tests are for pussies"!!!
     
  2. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    80 cubic metres I've spread over 200 metres squared and I could use heaps more. I could biochar 20 cubes and run it through 5 worm farms and still not have enough.

    Out on the block, I'm screaming for OM and have to make do without it.

    My wicking beds and made out of OM and sand, pure woodchip compost, cow manure, chicken manure, worm castings and sand.


    Do these look deficient? But, would a soil test make it just so much better?

    [​IMG]


    Yes, infinite OM is a fantastical situation that no one could possibly achieve. Additions of diverse manure, healthy compost and mulch are still recommended for almost every garden/farming situation, I have never heard of different.
     
  3. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    I take umbrage Sir! Frankly, coming from a forum moderator I find you comment offensive, blasé and baseless. How can you know what your system needs inorganically without some knowledge of it's chemistry, carbon levels and micronutrients? Back in the dark ages yet again for another millennia! The religious application of Organic matter and blind faith will cure the world. What direct evidence and/ quackery qualifies this bald statement? Ha ha Sir, I meet you for a duel at noon! Bring your seconds!
     
  4. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Hi Peter,

    I think it comes down to different philosophical opinions... but to quote (from memory) from Geoff's video today... If we focus on correcting soil biology the chemistry will take care of itself... That's generally how I approach it anyway.

    Yes I will be at the convergence, I'm on the planning committee and really looking forward to it.

    Will pass on greetings to Nick and Michelle next time I see them.
     
  5. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Its chemistry, not "it's" :)
     
  6. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    Hi Eric,
    Let's hope the convergence committee has a Soil Science Forum arranged....with David Holmgren delighting us with his definitive wry words of wisdom...which, of course I will respectfully defer to..I do my best to emulate David's philosophical position, but have a long way to go...
    ...and very much looking forward to the Convergence...and look forward to meeting...
    Peter

    Ps

    .....regarding your website blog- ....the cow dilemma on an acre would be resolve by a collective of neighbours getting the cow and rotating the daily milking...that way one can get away for a time with others to manage in one's protracted absence...alternatively sharing the milk with a calf provides a degree of flexibility...
     
  7. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    My evidence is at Purple Pears farm at Maitland!
    I dont think you will hurt anyone by spending 500$ on a few soil tests!!!
     
  8. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i think it is wrong to recommend soil tests for everyone when there are many situations where it isn't needed. this thread is a really good example of why such an approach isn't needed, desired or appropriate.

    if you are not doing extractive veggie or livestock growing and exporting such veggies or livestock then you only need to do a small test and that would only be if the area is otherwise known for deficiencies. your local ag station, university, etc. can answer that sort of question for a very small or no fee at all.

    the idea of spending $500 for soil tests here would be a joke and a very expensive and poorly done one at that. especially for a small plot of ornamental/perennial gardens.

    before using resources, use some knowledge and basic sense.

    the OP is not talking about anything that requires soil testing beyond what has already been said by the person.
     
  9. NGcomm

    NGcomm Junior Member

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    Hi guys, always nice to see soil biology and tests being discussed.

    My 2 cents.... get a soil test, preferably two - one for chemical analysis and one for micro biological analysis, with one caveat - if the return on investment is worthwhile! For me it is and gives me a reference point to monitor from with regards the application of both soil biology and the impact of my Holistic Management grazing strategy. For others I would suggest if you are growing things that rot (vegetables, flowers etc.) add lots of bacterial food such as manures, it it dries (woods, bushes, vines etc.) add wood chips and slightly rotted sawdust (non-treated raw from mills and non allelopathic) and save yourself some money.

    If you want to get serious, make your own tailor made composts designed for your crop and spread it along with compost teas made from same.

    By the way, make sure the biology tests are worthwhile - they should name the bacterial to fungal ratios of both active and dormant types plus number and types of protozoa and nematodes.
     
  10. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    it's chemistry as in the soils's chemical makeup as originally intended. The points made are not denying that OM is a necessary part of any system and that the addition of external OM to a system can be beneficial if the correct balances of soil components are maintained. I add approximately 600 tonnes dry matter weight of imported organically certified dry matter of extra OM spread over three applications annually at a cost of $16.00/ tonne applied with a 4% available Nitrogen and 2% available P and K test. I export roughly 200 tonnes of Organic dry matter as food in the forms of 16 different fruit varieties, 18 different vegetable crops, 5 different meats, none grown as a monoculture plus a tonne of wool directly to consumers annually. This is no different to a backyard system, just on a larger scale. No different to a backyard system I am still a one man band with no outside labour inputs. Soil tests cost me $480.00 a year and are tax deductable, without them I could be chucking away my gross profit by the wasteful addition of OM where it is not required and not knowing where my soils are at.
    Songbird, sure in a backyard vege. patch you are not depending on this for your livelihood and to pay the mortgage, so probably not necessary.
     
  11. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Without some knowledge of it is chemistry? That sentence makes no sense, that's where the lighthearted dig came from as you felt you could have a dig at me.

    It's is a contraction of it is. Its signifies ownership.

    And finally, we have some real world statements and sense. Soil tests are useful where money is involved and possibly the rarest cases of human health. Or if you want to burn through money in your backyard gardening adventure for the purest experience.
     
  12. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    Thank you S.O.P. I don't know when or where I started using it's as possessive and its only when I forgot to put the apostrophe in, and eventually, out of laziness, began using the "It's" for both ownership and "it is". After reading your post I had to take the time and make the effort to look it up in my old "Webster New World Dict."
    Now if I can just get "bring" and "take" straightened out lol.

    Love is the answer
    Uncle Ben
     
  13. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Yes, as in the ownership of the soil's, the soil being it. When a word or a phrase becomes widely accepted and adopted in a language. Mayhap we should now spell Glasshouse Mountains Beerwah as "Glaaaasshouse Mountains Beerwaaaaah" after listening to a certain local Zoo advertisement. Splitting hairs to no end point. End of my end of the discussion. I take your point, I thought that you had misinterpreted my meaning. I in no way "had a dig" at you, merely stated my opinions and my understanding of the discussion at hand. As much sense as a needless organic matter addition to a possibly already loaded system makes?
    The soils across the area where I live are all deficient in varying degrees in the compounds containing Boron and many are also short on Cobalt and Manganese. Many older, leached soils have pH in the order of 4.5-5.5, some as low as 4.0 remembering that the pH scale is logarithmic ie. a pH 4 is 10 times as "acid" as a pH 5 and 100 times as many hydrogen ions as a pH 6 soil. The availability of these nutrients to plants also varies with soil pH and what the solubility of the compound they are found in the soil in. In this locale many of these sites are characterised by a prolific growth of dandelion amongst the kikuyu and couch and a complete absence of legumes such as clover. Some micronutrients are not essential for plant growth but affect the animals which consume them in being essential for their metabolism. Some of the soils here contain over 10 times the recommended maximum levels of the heavy metal Cadmium reputedly due to past supplies of poultry litter and inorganic fertilizer containing excess levels were unwittingly used. I do not know the extent of this but possibly 65% or more of the land area here, about 3000 Hectares was aerially fertilised from the same bunkers from the 1950's until the late 1970's. A local School vegetable crop growing area being one of those areas affected. In fact, without my testing and monitoring of this small site over the past 25 years, hundreds, if not thousands of little vegemites would have been proudly taking the produce grown at that site and have certainly fed it to their families. In the late 60's and 70's there used to be a pick-your-own strawberry farm on a popular local thoroughfare until it was discovered that it was the site of an early Government run arsenical and organophosphate cattle plunge dip from 1914 until 1969. Soil tests over the whole site showed excessive levels of not only arsenic, but DDT and Deildrin. I do not know what the plant tissue tests results were, if any, but let us say that it is now under a supermarket car park site.
    It is, of course up to the individual's choice to decide what they will grow and consume and what levels of soil contamination and food contaminant levels are acceptable to have a backyard gardening adventure of the purest experience. Any produce sold to the public must contain amounts of contaminants less than certain predetermined ppm levels to be legal to sell. This varies from Nation to nation. Have a look to see what the Chinese acceptable levels are for instance to really blow your mind about imported foodstuffs. Interesting to see though some old adverts from the last century advertising over the counter radium facial creams and pills to invigorate and stimulate the metabolism and the amounts of lead salts used in face creams to whiten the faces of the ladies of England and "the continent". You are what you eat.
     
  14. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Wow. Reminds me of the excessive lead and arsenic levels in soils near the old highway and downwind of the Asarco plant in Tacoma, Washington. Scary to go into food production blindly with such "additives" hiding in unsuspecting places!
     
  15. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    I have always let the plants tell me what they are lacking. Observe and Interact... pH test and soil structure tests are all I have ever done.
     
  16. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    the answer is Organic Matter

    Remember - What ever the question about soil - the answer is Organic Matter. I do not think many would be against a soil test if that is what you want to do. I do feel that any insistence on getting the tests prevents participation by many people who for one reason or another do not have access to the tests. I would hope that Permaculture allows participation by a wide range of people.
    My idea with the above statement allows that a diverse range of organic matter will have a wide range of minerals and nutrients in a form that plant can use after conversion by the biota.
    Plants can indicate deficiencies in the soil as we all should know and as dynamic accumulators they can mine the nutrients that are deficient. As an example bracken fern grows in soil that is deficient in potash and yet the plant when broken down is high in potassium. "The problem is the solution"
    We now know that fungi allows for the transfer of carbon and other minerals through their networks and that nitrogen is taken from the atmosphere in leguminous plants in association with bacteria attached to the roots. Bacteria has this capacity with other minerals as well.
    Get all the soil tests you want though "slow and small solutions"would require that we do not truck in additives across huge distances and acquired using destructive extractive industries.
    I would love to expand on this if time allowed but you would do well to read some Paul Stamets on fungi and look at dynamic accumilators and plants as indicators. There is plenty out there and when you feel ready read some biodynamic text. I would love to provide some links for you if I get a chance.
    As Andrew stated earlier ( g-day mate ) the proof of the pudding is in the eating and though we did have tests in the early days, our actions have been in line with the above thinking and the results have been amazing.
     
  17. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    Re the OP This is where Biota booster bioremedial agents would kick start the beneficial biological processes required to bioremediate the soil. The answer is it depends. over supply or under supply of what and there is a really good chance its organic.
     

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