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Its true that Nitrogen in the soil is Nitrogen...the plant sucks it up regardless if its organic or chemical. Organic has the advantage because its so much older than the chemical salt fertilizers. The Chemical salt petroleum blast is 69 years old. This human innovation has fed MILLIONS of people and been a boon for mankind. Where it falls down is the acidity left behind. The pH drops low and locks out nutrients for the plant. I try and keep my organic soils at 6.5 to 7.0 (neutral). Once the soil is pH balanced its a beautiful thing. I soak new soil with TONS of water to get the hydrogen plentiful in the mix. This year my soil mound is awesome at 6.5 pH and no lime is required. I experimented with Equisetum averense (Horsetail) and didn't have to alter the pH, it naturally balanced the soil with the tea I made. I try and make a complex tea so the plant can enjoy the subtle nutrient variations and fungus available and who knows what I am concocting in my witches' brew.

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Edited by BCdude888

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" This human innovation has fed MILLIONS of people and been a boon for mankind. Where it falls down is the acidity left behind. The pH drops low and locks out nutrients for the plant."

Let me know how acidic a former cow pasture is mate ;) As organic matter breaks down it releases organic acids, shit look at peat moss again i'm not saying this is a bad thing, its just with quotes like above it doesn't seem you truly understand whats going on

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Wow, excellent replies everyone! Sally brings up a lot of good points.

I am not a die hard organic either, I only grow and do what I can to organic. I don't buy organic as often as I'd like, and I don't eat at organic restaurants. Plastic is unavoidable, but because it's free and readily available a lot of the time, I often use it in my garden. If you look at some of my other posts, you'll see I live rather cheaply. However, I don't see myself as dirt poor, I;m dirt rich! I have a giant bin of worms, that are fed high quality food, and produce fresh castings. Store bought castings suck. The worms are all fed peat, and the castings are dried out to much.

Franky, I would like to offer you a different perspective. That human inovation has destroyed MILLIONS of years of evolution. I'm not even referring to GMO, I'm talking extinction. The billions of people that are supported by this system are destroying the planet at an ever accelerating pace.

I This is a section from my final assignment in an agricultural ethics class. It's easier than retyping how I feel.

The genus Homo has been on Earth for over 2 million years, and recent fossil evidence suggests Homo sapiens are 195,000 years old (National Geographic, 2014)! However, the problem of a burgeoning human population is a relatively recent development. Before the appearance of agriculture, the total world population probably never exceeded fifteen million. Today, we believe that the first instances of agriculture developed as independent incidences in several areas of the world. Somewhere between 10,500 – 10,000 years ago, our ancestors began domesticating several plant and animal species. This ability offered a significant advantage; people were no longer dependent on hunting and gathering food from the wild. However, there is one obvious disadvantage, it requires a long period of time before you are able to harvest. Thus, as the idea of agriculture spread, people began to abandon their nomadic lifestyles and settle into small communities.

In these first villages, agriculture brought about other significant changes. One major difference is that carrying all of your belongings was no longer an issue. Now, we were free to acquire an almost unlimited amount of materials, tools, and cookware etc. Additionally, since large portion of farming is simply waiting for things to grow, there was more time for leisure activities. The newly found abundance of food, time, and space were an effective catalyst for the rapid development of art, culture, science and technology (Filion, 2009). Consequently, as people began hoarding these items, we also acquired the aspects of wealth and greed. This led to the idea that people were no longer equal. For whatever reason, it was deemed that you deserved either a larger portion then was necessary, or you received less than your fair share. Very rarely are people content taking only what they need. Therefore, I suggest the root of all the ethical dilemmas we face today, is due to the unbalanced perception of wealth.

Ironically, the freedom that was gained through agricultural development is also what enslaves us today. When we stepped away from the balanced system of nature, we broke our deep connection to the Earth. Although our planet is priceless, we only recognize the value of its extractable resources. However, if we held ourselves accountable for the damage to the planet due to agriculture, the deficit would be immeasurable. It’s no secret “that money makes the world go round.” However, it is much harder to figure out why this is the case. After all, money doesn’t provide any of the most basic necessities; it has no nutritional value, it won’t rehydrate you, it doesn’t protect against the elements, and it certainly won’t cure any diseases. In fact, it has no useful function at all, unless you can convince others to share the same distorted valuation as you. This is exactly what an ethic is, the illusionary value you place on something. Additionally, because two people often differ in what they consider valuable, conflicts arise over the discrepancies. Therefore, I realize that in order to make ethical decision, we must reevaluate what is a truly at stake.

Although the domestication of plants and animals has eased the burden of acquiring food, farming has always been backbreaking labor. Even today, we encounter many of the same problems as our ancestor. Agricultural systems require a large amount of open area, and there is a continuous demand for suitable crop and pastureland. Therefore, deforestation due to agriculture has also been a persistent problem. The rate at which this is currently occurring is quite alarming. A recent study found that “Globally, around 13 million hectares of forests were converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year between 2000 and 2010 as compared to around 16 million hectares per year during the 1990s” (Global Forest Resources Assessment, 2014). It’s a bit disheartening that nearly 7.1 billion people inhabiting this planet are either unconscious or apathetic to the fact we are losing upwards of 80,000 acres of tropical rainforest daily. Why are 7 billion people not concerned that one half of the forests that originally covered the Earth are gone? Besides agriculture, a large number of trees are used to produce paper products. However, if we planted hemp instead, we could produce the same amount of paper with 1 acre as we do with 4. It’s also renewable, and has numerous other benefits.

Edited by hookahhead
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Take it easy on him franky, his heart's in the right place and I must say I admire his convictions.

The current state of affairs where soil is being treated like a machine that has to increase in productivity all the time is starting to fail. Soils (and aquifers) in some areas are a toxic soup of chemicals.

I'd much rather see people promote the organic philosphy and realise we are only having a lend of this earth until we die. It's just not right to poison the staff of life (soil) in a mad desire for profits. I'd just like to see the organic movement use a bit more science instead of dogma.

& you have to admit the price he's asking is quite reasonable.

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Yes that is true sally, I am sorry to OP if I have been rude there is no excuse your intentions are in the right direction.

"I'd just like to see the organic movement use a bit more science instead of dogma."

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I just also believe there is far too much anecdotal information being spread around throughout the whole horticultural sector.

Hey hookah,

I understand there is a very intricate system out there, but really sally I think has hit the nail on the head with her post!!

and sally, that is so true, According to Handreck & Black (my bible lol) no more than 30% organic matter in general otherwise it will be of now use to the plant.

"I'd just like to see the organic movement use a bit more science instead of dogma."

:rolleyes:

INFLUENCE OF TILLAGE METHODS AND FERTILIZER APPLICATION ON CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF WORM CASTINGS IN A TROPICAL SOIL.pdf

The effects of four rates of N (0, 40, 80 and 120 kg/ha) and three rates of P (0, 13 and 26 kg/ha) on chemical characteristics of soils and earthworm casts for no-tillage and conventionally disc plowed systems were investigated for a tropical Alfisol. Worm casts contained 2.3 to 1.5 times more organic matter, 1.8 to 1.2 times more nitrogen, 1.6 to 1.3 times more Bray-P, 3.2 to 2.1 times more exchangeable Ca2+, 3.8 to 2.5 times more exchangeable Mg2+, 3.1 to 2.2 times more exchangeable K+, and 1.4 to 1.2 times more exchangeable Na+than the top 10 cm of the soil. The ECEC of worm casts was 3.1 to 2.1 times higher than in the surface soil. The nutrient status of both casts and soil in no-tillage plots was generally superior to that in conventionally plowed treatments. Different rates of N and P application had a significant positive effect on the nutrient status of worm casts. The results are discussed in terms of the role of earthworms in soil productivity.

MOBILIZATION OF NUTRIENTS IN TROPICAL SOILS THROUGH WORM CASTING- AVAILABILITY OF MICRONUTRIENTS.pdf

The casting activity of earthworm had a significant influence on the DTPA-extractable micronutrients (Figs 1 and 2). The DTPA-Zn in earthworm-ingested soils increased from 360 mg kg1 to 543 mg kg1 in the red soil and from 440 mg kg1 to 60 mg kg in the black soil after 28 d of incubation (Fig. 1). Whereas the parent soils showed little variation during the same period. The DTPA-Cu also exhibited similar changes. Both DTPA-Fe and Mn levels in the soil increased up to day 7 and then declined after further incubation (Fig. 2). But at any given time the DTPA-Fe and Mn content in the earthworm-ingested soils was more than in the parent soils. It is not clear how the DTPA-micronutrients concentrations were maintained high in ingested soil. But since the growth of bacteria and actinomycetes is strongly favored in freshly deposited earthworm casts (Ponomereva, 1953; Kozlovskaya and Zadannikova, 1966) and the in- itial phase of microbial succession in casts is ac- companied by an intense mineralization of organic compounds (Nowak, 1975; Wolters and Joergensen, 1992) it is likely that physical, chemical and micro- biological changes occurring in the soils during the transit gut process might be responsible for the increased content of DTPA- extractable micronutri- ents in the ingested soils.

MICROBIAL BIOMASS AS AN INDEX FOR TILLAGE-INDUCED CHANGES IN SOIL BIOLOGICAL PROPERTIES.pdf

Indirect measurements of soil microbial biomass carbon © and nitrogen (N), using the chloroform fumigation-incubation method (CFIM), were utilized as indices of the soil biological condition on a range of tillage systems under different climatic and agron- omic conditions.

Biological properties within the soil profile were influenced by the degree of soil mixing, incorporation of crop residues, soil moisture regime and root growth. A wheat-- fallow system reduced microbial biomass C and N in the 0--15-cm soil depth by 60%, compared to a continuous wheat system. Reduction in soil tillage caused a redistribution of biological properties within the soil. For spring cereals under semi-arid -- sub-humid moisture regimes, after 4 years, zero tillage increased microbial biomass C and N in the 0--5-cm soil depth by 10--23%, compared with shallow tillage; this increase was gradually offset over time by a decline in microbial biomass at lower soil depths. In a per-humid region, a similar redistribution of soil microbial biomass was evident after 2 years. After 3 years, direct drilling of Italian ryegrass increased microbial biomass C and N in the 0--5-cm soil depth by 26--28%, compared to a cultivated system. The level of microbial biomass under the direct-drilled system was similar to that found under an associated permanent pasture.

The CFIM provided a sensitive measure of tillage-induced changes in soil biological properties. Both microbial biomass C and N responded rapidly to changes in tillage and soil management. In general, the CFIM detected changes in soil biological properties prior to any measurable change in soil organic C or N.

I used to try to tell these type of people about the benefits, usually to the point of frustration. Now, I just smile and move along. You see, it doesn't matter what you say, because they can't listen or look into it for themselves. You certainly can't force them to feel. Usually when your still alive, but can't see, hear, or feel anything, it's because your unconscious. Trust me, :slap: doesn't work... They have to wake-up on their own.

Keep in mind, I still have a lot of listening, looking, learning, caring, sharing, sowing, growing, loving and living to do yet.

Edited by hookahhead
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Hey hookah,

none of what I wrote was geared towards you mate.

The handreck and black i was referring to is a book called growing media for ornamental plants and turf written by the authors handreck and black. Bible probably was the wrong word to use in that instance, but it is a book I refer to a lot! It has very well laid out accurate information regarding soil science most specifically in regards to Australian materials and environment.

Edited by franky

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Best way to make soil is simple. Biochar, Azospirillum, recycle food scraps and yard waste, minerals, millipedes, forest roaches, worms, and appreciation for what nature has provided. My decomposing insect population is so high from me taking care of them and my fruits are soooo sweet and my plants smile at me every day.

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Here is my Special Tea recipe :wink:

20 Gallon Bin

2 cups dry alfalfa

1 cup earthworm castings

3 Tablespoons Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate)

3 Tablespoons molasses

handful of comfrey leaves

handful of horsetail (Equisetum avarense)

handful wood ash

1/4 cup willow bark tea (made from new willow shoots cut into 1 inch pieces and brewed on medium heat 1 hour)

2 caps kelp extract

1 teaspoon humic acid

1 teaspoon fulvic acid

1 teaspoon bat guano

2 teaspoons super septic enzymes

human urine (1-2 pees)

Add all ingredients to 20 gallon container, add the water and mix well. Place on cool side of the house (North side in Canada) and stir vigorously daily to incorporate oxygen and mix the creatures. Mix 50% water to tea for new seedlings & plants & full strength for mature plants. I drench the roots and foliar feed (after screening through T-shirt or silk screen). Tea is usually ready 3-5 days. An aquarium bubbler can also be used.

NicK

☼♠☼

Edited by BCdude888

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Cool posts Hook, the soil food web is way too complex to explain in a few minutes.

As far as I'm concerned a chemical analysis is only a minor part of the picture but it's gives a good insight as to what's going on in the soil. If you get a few basics right concerning the chemistry of the soil then often the biology will sort itself out. Compost teas are great to speed up the process and maintain that biological balance.

I was devout organic "hippie" for years until the weight of evidence became so overwhelming that I had to re-evaluate things. When I got my first refractometer (brix meter) I was able to see that the vast majority of organic produce available for sale (with a few noteable exceptions) was vastly inferior to food grown using convention chemical agriculture. A lot of organic produce available at markets will commonly show lower sugar levels than the cheap shit you get at the supermarket.

When plants are low in sugars they typically don't assimilate minerals very well or form complete proteins, so ultimately that food has a lower nutrient value than food that tests higher on the brix scale. It's not quite that simple but the brix measurements are possibly the best way for a home gardener to get some insight into nutritional values without resorting expensive chemical analysis.

Given the choice I'll take high quality organic produce any time, it's just finding the high quality stuff that's a problem. One of the main advantages of organic produce is the restrictions applying to chemical pesticide use. I believe if an organic grower is going state that their produce is better than they should prove it with side by analyses with food grown conventionally - and not just that generic chart you see at farmers markets that shows higher levels of nutrients based on an unknown ambiguous sample that can't be traced or proven.

If you want something to open your eyes about ideal soils google - too much compost, and see the problems it can cause. Organic adherents will often believe that mindlessly adding compost will solve all soil problems but it is simply not the case.

Hey Sally! I agree on what you've said, and I'm not surprised to see low Brix readings on Organic food.

I'm not surprised as the term 'Organic' has be capitalised on and is used loosely on food stock. All foods are organic in reality.

The food you tested the Brix meter on must have been grown in nutrient deficient soil or nutrients in the wrong ratios. A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon, and a lot of people don't know the basics at soil levels before they start growing.

The only reason to buy 'Organic' (Un-conventionally grown) as we all know is so you aren't taking in Pesticides/fungicides/herbicides and not eating GMO grown crops.

There is also the problem of radioactivity with Phosphate containing fertilizers. That's a major concern for me, as in New Zealand we are the highest user of Super Phosphate for our crops/pastures.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8056596

All those water soluble chemical fertilizers like 'Thrive' etc, anything that has Phosphorus as part of its make up, will have some radioactivity to it.

As we all know, radiation doesn't just 'evaporate' or wash away with the rain. It will accumulate. Food stock will up-take it. Live stock will eat this when they eat the grass that was fertilized with it. We are also relying on the farmers using the right amount of ferts too. Most people think, "If a plant is sick you fertilize it more".

Could this be part of the reason why we're seeing so much more cancer in people?

I would also like to say that this is also a MAJOR contributing factor to why smoking gives you cancer. The trichomes of the tobacco plant 'capture' or grab hold of the fertilizer when it is aerial sprayed. It won't wash off. If you've grown tobacco at home, you know just how sticky the leaves are.

If there's ONE reason to buy NON commercially produced food, it would be this.

Edited by JT_NZ

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