Humic Acid?

garysgardenSeptember 5, 2008

I'm wondering if anyone here uses humic acid, what you think about it if you do or don't, and things like that. The reason is that I've been reading a lot about it and I'm considering getting some to use in my garden.

Now before we go any further, I'm painfully aware from prior experience that by suggesting I'm going to put something in my garden that didn't come out of an anus or smells like dead fish (because it is a dead fish), that there's certain people who are going to want to berate me. I'd ask the adults among those people to simply move on by. I'm aware of the "if you take proper care of your soil you don't have to add anything to it" argument and giving it again is unnecessary. I make long term plans like that where long term plans are possible, and I make short term plans to go along with those and to fill in the places where long term plans simply do not fit.

Even if I could work for a few years to rebuild the soil web in my garden there's going to be a few years where I'd gardening without it. Thus my interest in stuff like humic acid and what other people think about adding it to their soil.

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Humic acid is made in the soil by the Soil Food Web digesting organic matter, spending money on it is largely a waste of your money.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 7:26AM
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Does anyone have anything to say that doesn't involve ignoring what I said already? I'm aware of the "if you take proper care of your soil you don't have to add anything to it" argument and giving it again is unnecessary.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 5:53PM
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If you are taking proper care of your soil you are adding stuff to it all the time, there is no ""if you take proper care of your soil you don't have to add anything to it" argument. Buying Humic Acid, Humus, and all the other stuff the Soil Food Web manufactures in your soil is like buying "topsoil", a waste of your money.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 7:02AM
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I have been using it on my yard for about two years now and can definitely see the benefit. I dont fertilize as much and my grass has been growing much better. Earlier this year I had two live oaks cut down becuase they had choked out my bermuda grass. Monthly applications with the humic and my bermuda has gone crazy. Below is a good article that covers the benefits of humic acid. I know that the increase of sunlight alos has a lot to do with the growth, but the ability to return organic matter back to the soil and stimulate the soil bacteria could not have hurt.

Here is a link that might be useful: Humic Acid Benefits

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 12:59PM
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fertilizersalesman(z6 PA)

Note that not all products called 'humic' are the same thing. Some come out of the bottoms of old bog like deposits and others are essentially low grade coal. Research has shown that the coal materials are basically inert. I havenÂt had any experience with the other but it seems likely that they would be beneficial, although I would not expect that one would get nearly as good results as you would with compost.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 8:19AM
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That's a good point. I think that most people's experience with Humic Acid products is limited to the low grade stuff. You might as well just fertilize with make-believe at that point.

My experience with it has been mainly indoor use, in my hydroponics. I've used the Grandma Enggy's stuff that Advanced Nutrients makes and I love the results. I've used it outside too, but just when I dump my old nutrient solution for a reservoir change. It just seems like such a waste (not to mention environmentally questionable) to dump it down the drain, so I put it in my little outdoor garden and the potted plants I have.

They seem to love it too.

I'd say if you don't mind spending the money and you get a good quality product, you'll be happy with the results. That's my 2 cents at least.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to what I use.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 12:30AM
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emyers(8 SC)

Out of curiousity...
I've been looking into compost teas lately. But, I don't make compost yet (will start when the leaves fall and I can get some from a "known-good-source".... already mulch mowed).
In the meantime as I was reading about compost teas, I came across a couple of things.
1. A mention or two of using "humus" off the forest floor to make teas. I believe it was to get the humic acids out of the material and to multiply it by making tea.

2. Making tea and using good soil (discussed garden soil vs forest soil and apparently there is a distinction) as a component of the tea.

3. Making tea with humic acid (the type you're talking about) to multiply the colony even more and to be able to forgo using the animal products that typically would be contained in compost.

Now I know that neither of these is humic acid per se, but couldn't it be a substitute? Or would it just not be as "strong"?

Basic teas really don't seem to be that big of a deal as long as you don't get into aerating it.

After reading about the tea stuff, kind of got me wondering why I would need to purchase true humic acid?

Planning on filling a bucket half full with "humus type" material I get directly beneath the surface layer of the leaves, adding some alfalfa meal, and let it sit for a few days stirring every day or so. Water in the plants and walah, "humic acid +".

Just thought you might be interested.

Am I missing something?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 7:36AM
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Thanks cokeisit, fertilizersalesman, and hooked. That's given me the kind of stuff to think about I was looking for.

And emyers, that sounds really interesting. Let me know what you find out about that, just post a follow up to this thread or something because I'd really like to hear what you learn.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 11:15PM
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Honestly people use humic acid in soiless environments or hydroponics because the medium does not naturally produce it. You could just get peat humus and work it into the soil and it would probably have the same effect. I do not really know that much about it except that it helps the organic matter digest fertilizer and maximize the ability to distribute it amongst the plants. It does improve yield but humic acid is very concentrated and it is good for mediums that lack the matter to produce it. I don't really know if you would want to use it in a huge bed of soil. It would cost too much and it would distribute all over a large area instead of a concentrated place.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 6:32PM
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"Humic acid will not compensate for poor turfgrass cultural practices." This is the last line in a discussion on humates and humic acid by Dr. Wayne R. Kussow, Department of Soil Science,
University of Wisconsin - Madison.
The whole article can be found at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Humic Acid

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 7:12AM
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If you actually read the whole article it says that the study it covers was not nearly in-depth enough to draw any real conclusions from.

And call me weird but I'm not trying to grow turfgrass in my garden. Quite the opposite, actually.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 2:17PM
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Gary: I use humic acid (and aerated compost teaa also) in the belief -- and it is belief -- that they will increase biological activity in the soil. Results are mixed: some veg e.g. onions have very high Brix, and some e.g. beets are only just above average. Regards, Peter.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 6:27PM
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Hi, Humic acid can reality optimize the structure of soil to increase the buffering power and fertility. take a look at this :

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 4:29AM
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graysgarden, thank you for the tread.
I do not sift though dry, boring papers to find every thing compost or humus. So I miss some of the good stuff.
I will check this one out, please let us know how your garden reacts to the mix.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:27PM
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the dirtdoctor out of dallas tx uses humic acid to make his compost tea...he is all organic and trusted by many...for eye opener go to youtube...humus the essential ingredient by graeme indian

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:31PM
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"Humic acid" is just a general name given to various types of organic matter sourced acids. It's pretty much a mixture of chained phenols, carboxyls, and sugars (as well as other things).

You don't need to add humic acids to make a compost tea...any decent compost you're already making a tea out of should provide it's own humic acids in the leachate...and most people don't need it anyway and are better off just putting the compost on/in the soil rather than making a tea.

It's one of the most uselessly expensive "miracle juice" concoctions thrown out into the organic supplement market at really crazy prices...and too many are sold by predators of organic gardeners rather than friends of organic gardeners.

Btw, this isn't a rant against "The Dirt Doctor"...he's put out plenty of consumer-friendly do-it-yourself formulas and suggestions. While I don't agree with everything he suggests, I'm not lumping him in with the expensive "miracle juice" crowd that's out there ripping off people. This is more of a reply to the thread at large and things I see too much in the marketing toward the organic community. Making a humid acid-rich tea (if you even need it at all) is well within the novice-to-average gardener's grasp without throwing $$ at it.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 6:44

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:26AM
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Apparently adding humic acid directly to compost tea is a great way to kill half the microbe population in one go, while making the rest go dormant.

To be sure, I think humicacidcorp disagrees, but thank god he isn't plugging a product. Why isn't there a way to flag posts like that? :D

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 1:53PM
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Keep in mind that someone that also sells the products he pushes in articles may not be totally unbiased.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 6:59AM
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new undisturbed forest soil contains mycorrhizal fungi which helps grow a big root's free....take a coffee can full and mix in bottom of planting hole where roots get into'll be pesticed or any type chemical or you will kill it....don't let it completely dry out either...mix with regular compost...the indian

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 11:27AM
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