TRUE FERTILITY REVISION DAY – DR. Elaine Ingham (time approx 6 hours)
“Revision Day” has past attendees sharing, questioning and deepening their knowledge from practical experiences learnt since applying the skills from previous attendance in past years at the “True Fertility Workshop – Combining Soil Biology, Chemistry and Structure”. It was a great opportunity to get in depth answers on the spot from Elaine.
True Fertility Compost & Compost Tea [REVISION DAY]
Compost Tea & Extracts
- Can I get compost teas done in 8 hours?
- If you are applying it to a soil as a drench to feed the soil biology you can use a compost extract which will only take 30 minutes.
- If you are making a compost tea you need a minimum of 18 hours to grow the organisms.
How to make a compost extract.
- Is there a minimum temperature for the water when brewing?
- Wouldn’t advise freezing water but if colder it will be slower
- How to monitor the brew.
- Just use a microscope to keep a check on your organisms and their diversity. Water quality is also very important.
- What food do you add to a brew?
- Why fish? Why kelp?
- How much in a 20L brew?
- What to test if your brew isn’t right?
- The benefits of a simple brewer
The Type of Brewer & Water Quality
- Will cleaning the brewer using a stocking, vinegar and caustic soda cause problems for the next brew?
- Does the pH of the water select for fungi or bacteria?
- What should you consider when using dam water?
- How to deal with varying water quality, particularly town water with chlorine?
- Is there any sequence of adding the foods to your tea?
- Read the labels and neutralise any preservatives in the nutrient eg fish or humic acid.
- Make sure your molasses does not contain sulphate.
- Why you should store your foods in a cool place.
- Where does e-coli come from?
- Is in-vessel composting a good system?
- The importance of temperature being maintained at 55 degrees C
- How uniform does the temperature have to be in the whole pile?
- How good is the result from using a front end loader?
- Backyard Composting as seen in “How to make organic compost” Film
- How hot is the compost pile?
- Can you compost toxic materials?
The Use of Herbicides & How To Increase Fungi
- What is the impact of herbicides on micro organisms?
- Find out how the herbicide affects the micro organisms.eg Glyphosate, dieldrin have different affects.
How would you buffer amine etc?
- How do you get rid of cape weed, bindi etc. biologically?
- Maintain the right biology for the species that you want to grow.
- Does clover cause bloat in dairy cows?
- Alfalfa is known to cause bloat. Is it still a problem with organic farming?
- Compost/ compost teas increase protein content by up to 60%
- To grow the best lucerne you need rhizobium, a bacterium which requires the fungi and you will also add VAM spores.
- How do add VAM to plants that are already growing?
- Do mychorizal fungi spread from one plant to another?
- Do perennial plants maintain the mychorizal fungi?
- Results show that planting into a dormant pasture show a better response than planting into a ploughed paddock that has been sprayed
What is essential when starting out? A walk using your eyeballs!
- A penetrometer
Isn’t moisture important?
- Good compost Tony Evans, Camperdown Compost and others – ask Gerhard Grasser
- Make your own compost.
A good thermometer, shovel/pitchfork
Collect or grow materials – high nitrogen, green and woody
- A brewer or extractor
An air pump, a container, a sprayer
Note: Nozzle size
- A spreader/sprayer
- Can you put herbicide into the compost tea?
- Check your spray equipment for possible damage to the micro organisms.
- How long will the compost last in dry conditions?
What is the difference between compost tea and compost extract?
- How do you select against weed seeds?
- What do you use to spread the compost?
- On broad acre can you compost in place with green manure?
- Will the soil biology survive IF it gets dry?
- Do we have to worry about carbon/nitrogen ratios?
Discussion of Crops and Soil Biology
- Is there an optimum time to cut the crops?
- If you spray a tea or put an extract on a straw mulch is that going to work?
- How specific can you get with getting the right biology?
- Is there any data on bacterial/fungal ratio for plants?
- If you want to change the crops planted each year, how do you change the biology?
- Why rotate? Is it necessary? Is it detrimental to rotate?
- How do you use compost on broad acre?
- To get more fungal growth add fish hydrolysate or humic acid. Leonardite also can be used.
- How do you establish trees in grassland?
What is VAM?
- What is ectomycorrhizal fungi?
- What is ericoid mycorrhizal fungi?
- Mycorrhizal fungi do NOT survive composting. To colonise them put them next to the plant.
- How do you get a compost tea into the soil?
- Is there a substitute for fish hydrolysate?
- How does pine oil used as a herbicide in the soil effect the microbes?
- What difference does the different animal manure make to the soil microbes?
- How do you culture nematodes?
- What conditions does kikuyu like?
Reports from students of the course.