Lissa and I joined quite a crowd to listen to Graham Sait expound at length on the need for and benefits of Humus (and although tasty, not the Chick Pea Hummus ;-)) See this event: http://brisbanelocalfood.ning.com/events/how-humus-can-save-the-world
Not certain of Graham's academic background but he has the gift of making complex ideas and practices plain and clear to we ordinary gardeners.
He can talk the hind leg of a donkey though so be prepared if you attend one of his talks, for 1 and a half hours of non-stop information, anecdotes and explanations.
Some notes on issues which sounded useful if not downright vital ...
1. Earthworms eat microbes of one sort and another including protozoa. So to make a protozoa tea do this:
Get some Alfalfa/Lucerne (synonym) either fresh or dried. Steep it in a 10L bucket of non-chlorinated water with some fish emulsion or kelp extract or both. Aerate it for 24 hours and spay on the soil. The worms adore it and munch one end and crap out the other the most nutritious substances imaginable.
2. A pH of 6.4 is the ideal both for soils and for our own bodies. There's a heap of reasons most of which is that the greatest range of minerals are available to us and the soil at this pH.
3. Humic acid stimululates fungal growth. A lot of plants like to live in association with fungi. Humic acid is extracted from brown coal - it is a compressed form of plants. Humic acid can be bought and you don't need much of it. And completed compost is humus although it takes quite a while for the humus to form, it is well worth the wait.
4. Silica is essential for cell-wall strength. Silica is widely available and cheap to buy. Plants with good strong cell walls are insulated against most diseases and pests.
5. The minerals Molybdenum and Boron are vital for plant health. Available as Trace Elements.
6. Moringa trees are just so valuable on so many fronts - beg borrow or steal a Moringa tree! I will have some billets from my Moringa available at Dianne's GV on Sunday 29th March.
7. One square metre of soil with humus can hold 16 litres of water with only 1 percent humus. What a bargain!
Secrets of soil health: Microbes, Minerals, Humates. In a nutshell.
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