Supplying biology to soil without airation or cultivation

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by DJ-Studd, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Hi Guys,
    dilemma is 160 acres of paddock. I haven't any tools to open the soil up at this stage, ie Yeoman's Plough (or a tractor for that matter).

    The soil is currently very compacted with little to no organic matter present. Would there be value in me mixing up some compost teas and Darren Doherty style 'biofertilisers', putting them in a container on the back of the ute and spraying it on the property? Will I just be wasting my time without opening/lifting the soil at all?

    Cheers.

    Edit: excuse typo in subject.
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    What are you going to do with the paddock?
     
  3. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Eventually swales/keyline with fruit tree plantings along swales and cell grazing between swales. :clap:

    In the mean time, I'll probably get baled whatever grows for an organic matter supply until I can commence the project.
     
  4. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

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    Thistles / dandelions are good soil decompacters. :) Not a lot you can do on that scale without some sort of machinery - any contractors in the area?

    You might consider just slashing what is there, and letting it lay, rather than baling it, and taking it away from where it is needed most.

    You really need to get some sort of organic matter on top of the soil to start with, to prevent any tea/biofertiliser from being washed or blown away. Pumpkins, curcurbits, sweet potato, etc are all handy for smothering weeds, and chopping & dropping the leaves & stalks to start some sort of OM buildup. You may get some small return from the crop, or perhaps simply mash them up for compost.
     
  5. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    I'm not sure that the neigbouring farmers would like my encouragement of thistles and dandelions in the area!
    I'll look for contractors, but ideally I'd like to contract out as little as possible so that I can invest the money in the machinery myself, even if it means delaying the start of soil rehabilitation.


    Whilst chop and drop is an option, I would like to establish a large market garden on the site and as such the current pasture provides me with a prime opportunity to produce organic matter without importing. The paddocks have had 100 years of theft so I doubt one more season will cause too much further damage, while allowing me to immediately start production of vegetables on site.

    I suppose the issue is the sheer scale. 160 acres of pumpkins and sweet potato is certainly an interesting concept, but a bit difficult to get my head around!

    Cheers for the comments.
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    How were you planning to establish a large market garden anyway? If you can figure that out then you can probably figure out your current problem.

    But anyway I would say you don't have to work all the acres all at once since there's no chance you are going to be able to convert 160 into market garden in short time anyway, even if was all in great condition. So why not just nominate 10 acres as a reasonable place to start.

    You should plant some leguminous trees over the whole place to decompact it. YOu can chop them out later. Actually wattle is a good tree for this as its native so it may have the innoculant in the soil. It will break up the soil and it will die in less than 10 years also. I'd be talking to the dpi if i was you. Or try to plant some of whatever the original native vegetation was.

    How have you determined that the land is severely compacted. Is it just by knowing that cattle trod on it. People seem to be arriving at this conclusion like they got it out of a book rather than actually noticing that it is compacted. Does the water not drain away when it rains but form only puddles? Does almost nothing grow? Is it bare earth?

    Also if you pour on compost teas with microbes they will die if there is no organic matter for them to dine on.

    What about hiring some farm machinery. Don was talking about a seeding machine. If i had flat open country i'd get one of those and use it to plant a legume crop.
     
  7. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    Hiring a Keyline plow would be a great option, but adding soil microbes if there are sufficient root exudates available for the biological life to feed on would still be a good idea, although maybe not heading into summer. They will aid decompaction and introduce oxygen into the soils. Things cant be too bad there after all this rain??
    I would recommend working on your Holistic Management plan and getting some dynamic accumulators, ie animals, onto your property. Also their land evaluation tools will be helpful to work out your priority areas to start with.
     
  8. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    I agree with sun burn. If you have a perma plan in place you will know the areas you will be planting out, with what and when. Work and stick to your plan rather than focusing on 160 acres... that's why it sounds so big.

    You won't be too concerned with planting where you will build your swales, you might have some ground aside for grazing etc, etc,
     
  9. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Market garden will only be a few acres, not all 160 :)

    Remainder will be swales interplanted with fruit trees and used for cell grazing as stated above.
    I'm planning on getting some acacia and tagasaste planted as you suggested, this is critical in the establishment of my plan.

    I've dug the soil and done a jar solubility test which shows almost no organic matter. Aditionally, after a month of flooding in the area, the "dirt" contains zero moisture and if ploughed would turn to dust. There is good grass covering the soil on the property, however this hasn't assisted with moisture retention.

    I suppose this was my real question, IE is there value to spraying biology on the soil without first boosting organic matter. I suppose there would be little value and my time would best be spent on other ventures until I can offer some mechanical assistance to the ground.
    I could hire some equipment to seed the soil, but once again I'd rather invest the money spent in my own equipment which would offer more in the long run.

    Cheers
     
  10. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    That's pretty much the case I suppose :)
    I just figured if I could assist the soil health now with minimal involvement, IE driving a ute around and spraying with microbial life, then it would be worth the days work.

    Cheers
     
  11. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    There is some good advice up there :think:

    I reckon the least you need is something to slash it with. Let the weeds grow and then slash them before they go to seed, or the neighbours complain. Weeds know what to do - that is what a lot of them are there for. ;) At the very least you will be shading the soil and giving the little microbes a chance. If the summer is as cool and moist as they are predicting then this year might be a good chance to do something.

    If it were me, having experienced the try-to-do-too-much-too-early even on my 3 acres, I would definitely 'chunk' and do bite sized pieces and get that right. You will learn heaps about your land in that time and may find that you actually save yourself a lot of time and effort in the long run. Success breeds success. And as they say the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

    I suppose it depends on your water situation, but you could try some direct seeding in a few small areas, off the back of your ute, or out the window. It's still something. You could try seeding into what is there and then slash it over the top, Fukuoka style.
     
  12. SueUSA

    SueUSA Junior Member

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    "In the mean time, I'll probably get baled whatever grows for an organic matter supply until I can commence the project."

    Sometimes I'm not certain if what you Aussies appear to be saying is the same thing that I'm hearing....

    Does the above statement mean that you're planning on mowing and baling the grass that is currently growing there? If so, why? You're just taking more OM off the land and compounding your problem. Just mow it and let it lie.

    It seems to me that if you spray aerobic compost tea over the growing grass (or whatever is growing there), it will help it to grow more volume, then mow it and let it lie, and spray your compost tea over the freshly-mowed OM. Even if the bacteria only multiply to a certain point, it's probably more than you had before. It usually doesn't die when the soil dries out, it just goes dormant, waiting for more moisture and food.

    Some range animals might help, if you also have (or could attract) dung beetles, as long as you're using livestock wormers that won't kill off the dung beetles.

    Any plant that can grow there is going to have roots die, and that will leave channels in the soil. If you have any earthworms or arthropods, they will help, too. Just keep adding anything you can to the top of the soil, and the earthworms, beetles, and other fauna will help to take it underground to improve the soil.

    If you can acquire seed of a/several groundcovers that will grow well there, that will be an improvment also. Just try to avoid turning the soil as much as you can.

    Sue
     
  13. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Radishes are a good plant for breaking up a compact soil as well as being a good slash crop (before seeding).
     
  14. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    presumably if you are considering making hay there is organic matter somewhere

    im also presuming it is anual ryegrass dominant
    if you can let it rot and introduce some clover in autumn
    decididuous trees esp legumes will help
     
  15. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    Hi. I have a question: is carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) nitrogen fixing legume and what companies manufacture nitrogen fixing bacteria in Europe. Thank you, please answere only if you have solid information.
     
  16. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

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    From Wikipedia:
    The carob genus, Ceratonia, belongs to the Fabaceae (legume) family, and is believed to be an archaic remnant of a part of this family now generally considered extinct. It grows well in warm temperate and subtropical areas, and tolerates hot and humid coastal areas. As a xerophytic (drought-resistant) species, carob is well adapted to the ecological conditions of the Mediterranean region. Trees prefer well drained loam and are intolerant of waterlogging, but the deep root systems can adapt to a wide variety of soil conditions and are fairly salt-tolerant.[4]
    While previously not believed to form nitrogen fixation nodules typical of the legume family,[4] trees have been identified more recently with nodules containing bacteria believed to be from the Rhizobium genus.

    One possible supplier is at https://www.legumetechnology.co.uk

    People should be taught to use Google before they are let out of the sandbox - - *mumble ... mumble*
     
  17. barefootrim

    barefootrim Junior Member

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    Dear Studd, the 160 acre man

    You need a plan dude, a simple mainframe plan a la Geoff lawton style, until you can get up and running,,, its simple, in fact too simple, but it does work. A main frame plan will allow you to let nature do the work for you until you can be on the land full time to tweak it some more.

    Try this, (assuming you have little financial resources)

    draw a plan, pop a swale or two in on the higher spots, divert water from the road onto your place into a swale, look for any niches on the place that you can expand from concentrically with legumes and food trees,

    get a second job for a couple of weekends,,,dont spend the money in the pub,,, hire a neighbours tractor and keyline,,,,or an small excavator for a few hours,,,, amazing what an excavator will do in a 1/2 day for 400 bucks,,,, could entirely do swales around the house block say for the first food forest. 1/2 day excavator could possibly do 1-2 km of swale easy. depends on the machine.

    yes it is worth doing some biological compost teas, or worm juices and spreading them on the pastures,,,of course it is,,, just do it at dusk for best results if you cant inject directly into soils. also you can broardcast deep rooted seeds, radish, chicory dandelion etc,,,with some legume vetch or lucerne, plus some native grass seeds .

    might be worth just slashing the pasture this first time around to get more % of soil cover and organic matter down. depends if you need the money from baling the pasture,,,, if you dont need the dough,,slash it in first time around. provide some cover

    And how come your asking this if you did your PDC only a few months ago?

    best of luck
     
  18. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    Thank you for the information. Don't be such a snob!
     
  19. Solaris

    Solaris Junior Member

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDMg6W95-2s —Rx for the Biosphere Darren Doherty, Keyline Permaculture. Excellent series on the importance of sinking carbon into soil organic matter and soil building, planting and dam building for holding water in the landscape.

    These guys also advocate soil organic matter SOM

    Rob Gourlay, an environmental scientist and founder of the Environmental Research & Information Consortium (ERIC) told us about how he has been combining Effective Microorganisms (EM) and ORMUS in some of the ERIC products and Australian farmers have started asking him "where is all the water coming from?" after using this product. https://eric.com.au/html/papers_soilmap.php


    • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in the irrigation water to provide sulfur. Irrigation water that is both aerated and vortexed…and NOT chlorinated.
    Look at www.amazon.com for Richdel-Inc-Msm-Powder
    • Copper Sulphate—A copper paste (copper sulphate and water) can be an effective cure for collar rot
    • Seacrop…ancient seawater extract. www.seacrop.com/
    • Kelp to provide soil binding agents and minerals. www.noamkelp.com/scprod.html
    • Chamomile, if you grow chamomile and add it to your compost it will sweeten the mix and encourage healthy soil microbial life.
    • MicroGrow for Vegetables…Mycorrhizal mix from www.fungi.com will provide a competitive advantage which eliminates pathological species and increases plant nutrition many fold; producing more leaves, thicker, greener, stronger, more roots and better immunity.
    • Ground Leonardite Shale added to soil mix to provide humic acids and minerals.
    • Rockdust, perhaps a variety of rock types to ensure complete mineral spectrum
    • Compost tea using a local source of organic animal manure coupled with plant infusions, seaweed and soil bacteria…aerated for 24 hours or so.
    • Silicon is the one of the structure elements for immunity…use Pro-Silicate in irrigation water. Or find local sources of herbal silicon to add to compost or soil…ground horsetail, cornsilk, nettles, Echinacea etc…
    • Ashitaba is a local adaptogenic herb grown in Ventura…you could see if they have any plant matter that they discard, to be used for composting.
    • Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of single celled organisms keeps soil environment healthy and holds moisture.
    • Oxygenating Water—Make an ORMUS bubbler with an aquarium aerator...and put some ring magnets on the tube next to the air-stone...alternate the charges of the magnets and keep them in place with a twisty on the tube. I bubble my water for up to 8 hours or more and then put in bottles for freezing. This oxygenated water provides more energy than normal water, heals the GI tract, has amazing properties on the skin...promoting strength, youth and sheen...it also makes plants healthier with greater immunity and faster growth.

    One of my best ways to increase the soil water holding capacity is the goop produced when sprouting buckwheat groats...this thick mucopolysaccharide improves both the soil-grain, moisture colloidal capacity and nutrient flow to root hairs.
     
  20. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    @Don,

    If we all used google... we wouldn't need this forum... and its forums like this, articles, blogs and websites that feed googles search results... what goes around comes around... as they say (whoever "they" are).
     

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