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A lovely presentation by Luke Boshier.

Silver Bullet

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The seedlings from the silver bullet seeds grow well until Percy comes along....

Has anyone planted legumes inoculated with beneficial bacteria together with other veggies/fruit trees? I'm curious to see how much difference it makes to the companion plants when used in a small backyard scenario.

Tried the supplied inoculants with Edamame Soy and warm-adapted Lucerne. Since I didn't get a successful crop from either, hard to know. Mainly I'm not sure why they failed, it's a while ago now.

However, Lucerne grows feral in my yard. Seeds either from spent sprout trays or a cover crop. No idea of the variety. They grow, they thrive, I harvest successive crops of mulch. When pulled out, the tap roots are long and strong. Yet there doesn't seem to be any nodules. I've figured if it grows, let it be … don't fuss and the strong plants will succeed.

Have planted (or they came up by themselves) Lucerne with fruit trees. Tried Comfrey in pots but it out-competed the trees. Lucerne is more tameable. Anyway … do not use an inoculant but both trees and lucerne are doing well.

I used a beneficial bacteria product called Great White, first in the wicking beds, then in new mixes this year. I applied it to the Davidson Plum garden (in the soil beside the house). I also added it to the bathtub (aquaponics system).

The first 2 wicking beds had a very poor potting mix, with a small amount of coco peat and mushroom compost. In the first 2 months, the plants struggled to grow and some died, I added the beneficial bacteria to one, and saw improvement after about a month  (mainly with new plants put in after I applied the bacteria). Most new plants in the 2nd wicking bed were still at a struggling stage. (It was not the 1 cure for the wicking beds ... I think time & volcanic rock dust at a later date assisted as well).

There are lucerne, broad beans & sugarsnaps/snowpeas growing in some of the incoulated mix. I haven't grown lucerne and broad beans before, but they're looking healthy, the sugarsnaps & snow peas have only recently being going well.

I hope the little guys stay in the mixes, because I'm seeing the use of it as a one off starter.

They'll stay with food, water and shelter.

I'm up late! Don't have time to watch the link video right now but hope to do so tonight.

I've been using Mycorrhizal Inoculant with new plantings for a bit. At first I tried broadcasting over the raised beds but now I put a tiny pinch in the bottom of each hole before planting a seedling. Lack of time has caused me to be a bit erratic in my application - I should have used it with the seed I planted yesterday as well.

The beds were there most productive this last season (not beans and peas) but that could also be due to the amount of good composted horse poo I've had to hand recently.

I'm wondering about inoculant supplementation..

We planted out green manure yesterday at the school -- Millet+Cowpea + inoculant...and it wasn't a straightforward exercise --what with milk and some drying agent. We had tested most of our beds and the one that was pitiful Nitrogen we decided to green manure.

FYI: we'll also be running a sister exchange  project with a local high schools' horticulture program. our kids are spending time in their gardens and their students and teachers are coming to visit us. We have one horticuluralist among our volunteers and another is currently signing up.So we're in a great learning environment...

 The green manure mix I got from Green Harvest and they also sent me a handy little pamphlet with the seed packets and inoculant: Organic Soil Improvement Guide. Very useful little DIY manual.

I've also been using Neutrog 'GoGo Juice' here at home...

I have a copy of some FoodWeb publications into which I've dabbled but I'm living a sort of contradiction. 

I've bought my 'garden' from yellowish sand to sandy loam over the past 6 years or so. From seeming sterility to a dirt teeming with life. I know my  soil still has gross limitations. It's still shallow for instance...

But my mounds are what has taken off ...and in terms of the no dig, no plough, perspective I'm really adding air to the soil and disturbing the critters' habitat. I may build my mounds with a hand trowel -- always with  a hand  trowel -- like sandcastle building on a beach -- but I am half way to the French influenced 'double dig' tradition...

So I'm trying to engineer a good 'additive' protocol...and since these mixes are expensive and can be hard to work with sometimes, I'm wondering about seriously getting into home brewing of manure or compost teas. 

Do you reckon that's worth the effort ...or are there a wider range of bought options I could consider? Any recommendations? I gather that inoculants (a)need to be refrigerated and (b) have a short shelf life.

Of course the other issue is how to get the bacteria into the soil: coating the seed, watering in...or whatever.I'm in no position as yet to judge my results -- I just want to foster good habits.

All I have had experience with is home-brewed teas. I got a simple recipe from a BOG newsletter. I'll do a separate post rather than have it buried with other items. I have used this brew but since I didn't do a side-by-side trial, I can't comment on the results or lack thereof.

A person who I get some bags of cow manure from, suggested to me to put 2 or 3 old dry cow paddies into a large bucket and soak for a fey days. I love this one as it's quick and simple. The mix does not stink in the short soak time. It's probably not as much of a brew, and more of a soak/nutrient solution. I've being doing this for several weeks now, and I am unsure of the results, but it's a nice, clear brown colour by the time it goes on the garden.

Here's a review of manure/compost teas. The core problem with using animal manures is the pathogens. That means, if you use it:

  1. don't spray the foliage
  2. thoroughly wash (& peel)  anything in contact with the soil
  3. don't use it on salad greens.

The standard guideline for manures is to not use them on any crops for human consumption any earlier than 90 to 120 days before harvest.

But a basic manure tea is a straightforward process...but some aeration  is required. Elaine Ingham's Compost Tea Brewing Manual (download pdf) is worth studying.

Elaine coolowl's recipe seems complicated but then so does Ingham's.

The basic manure tea makings seem simple enough  but Ingham's manual has some critiques:

Manure is added to water. If no mixing or stirring is used, only soluble nutrients will be extracted and the tea will typically be high in nitrates, salts, phosphorus, and/or potassium. Antibiotics used in the animal feed are soluble and so normally extracted into the water and can cause significant problems for microorganisms in the liquid extract. If the manure tea is mixed or stirred, high numbers of anaerobic bacteria will be extracted, since anaerobic bacteria are not as good at sticking to surfaces as aerobic organisms. Manure tea contains high numbers of ciliates, extremely low fungal biomass, and can have high numbers of nematodes. Human and animal pathogens can abound as well. At the very least, manure tea cannot provide all the benefits possible from compost tea. Once manure is composted, then it should be called compost.

I was making a variation which seemed to work but I'm sure the Igham foodwebbers would disagree -- here's a summary:

This is made in a very similar method; although a porous bag would be preferable to a pot to hold the manure or compost. Any form or mixture of animal manure can be used, provided it is not fresh. Pelletised chicken manure (eg. Multigrow) can be used, and a mixture of manure and compost is great too.
Fill the sack to approx 2/3 and tie off using twine or rope. Place the bag inside the drum. (You can suspend the bag by the rope if you like to allow water to penetrate evenly all around.)

Allow to steep for about 2 - 3 weeks; stirring every couple of days - if you remember. Remove the bag and allow to drain (catch the drips into a bucket!). The soggy manure or compost can be added to garden beds, compost bin or worm farm.
Stir the liquid and dilute at at least one part tea to 5 parts water.

For an even faster tea:

Use the manure or compost directly in the water (no teabag required). Stir daily. After about 3 days, strain off the solids and use the tea diluted as above on your garden.

(* Compost Tea. This method describes the basic method of compost tea making. More complex, aerobic methods are sometimes used to produce the maximum spectrum & quantity of beneficial microbes, please feel free to research your own methods!)

Alternatively if GoGo juice does what it says it does you'll pay $15/litre for a product that will make up 250 litres. No? pathogens. No smelly bins or flies. No compost and complicated recipes. No poo.

While the Foodwebbers seem to tailor the 'tea' to suit the soil type -- these probiotic supplements seem to me to be a good workaround. But then, I'm in no position as yet to judge if they work or not. ..and I cannot find much in the way of research and reviews.

Info Sheet HERE.(pdf)  Brochure HERE.(jpg)

More info from Neutrog's Commercial newsletters. -- albeit in snippets. The cannabas and bonsai growing communities seem to like it.

Hypothetically there is no reason why a large scale commercial enterprise cannot brew a serviceable tea  alive with microbes. Just like a supermarket yogurt or kimchi. The dilution is 40 ml to 5 litres.  So do your it worth it? 

There's also Micro-Force...although some brewing is recommended.

Curious about what I can test in a 3 day cow pad soak. I have an API test kit for the aquaponics, which includes ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I understand that this does not test for life and minerals, but it may give me an indication of the 'fuel' side.


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