Is Organic Culture Often Missing Something?

wayne_5 zone 6a Central IndianaDecember 21, 2010

I thought I might stir up some thought here. Sometimes it seems a bit hard to do that.

In the soil/health library there is a talk near the top of the list under...........Astera, Michael : Beyond Organic.

I realize that they can sell you a product, but I thought the talk is very provocative.

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What he is talking about here, I think, is balance. Manure alone will not provide that. Compost alone will not provide that, and the only way to know what is in your soil is with a good, reliable soil test.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 9:19AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Here is a quick link to the talk. The library has a lot of other good reads in it.

If your soil doesn't have a certain mineral in it, your crops won't have them either. This also means the micros like cobalt, strontium, and lithium.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mineralize

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 12:09PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

One thing I wish to empathize here is that what we[I] are talking here is more than the usual big 3 and the little 6 of minerals and nutrients. While some micro elements perhaps might not be known as ultra necessary for plant growth, they could turn out to be critical for real human optimum health. Think about this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here is a sample

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Good article Wayne. I've only read it once and will go over it again when I get on night shifts.

It got me thinking about what would happen if I added some smaller granite type stones as an ingredient in the tumblers. Would the acidic action 'dissolve' some of the minerals out of the stones? Interesting thought, must ponder some more.

But thanks for that link.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 4:46PM
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Thanks for that Wayne, that was a real eye-opener for me. This Agricola is a knowledgable fellow. I'm going to check into Rheems as well.

It's good timing because I am attending a mineralization workshop starting jan 8th. For that workshop I had my soil tested recently. Noting what Agricola said about the ideal relationship between calcium/mag, 7/1, I looked at my test results and my home garden soil is just about 7/1 by ppm. The phosphorous is also very high. So presumably the veggies grown there are quite well mineralized.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 6:08PM
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Somewhat interesting reading: I do not ascribe to Albrecht's notion of ratios. Where is all the scientific data to back it up, where are all the research papers and journal publications? Trying to do an experiment where one must control variables becomes very difficult if not impossible when more than two are present in crop nutrition research. Albrecht's hypotheses would require many variables, I.E. Ca, Mg, K, P, Zn, Cu, etc.. I'd love to see the experimental design and statistical models one would use to perform the experiments.

One thing the popularization of Albrecht's theory does do is keep people buying fertilizers as they are always going to be short on at least one. Ratios sell fertilizer because your soil NEVER has the exact perfect balanced ratio. In this day and age, it seems quite contrary to be adding one fertilizer after another to follow a theory that has not yet past the rigors of scientific research and debate, organic or not.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 9:35PM
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Alone with wayne's Azomite, you could use gypsum,granite grit(for heavy soil)& Bio-Char.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 1:04AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

It;s kinda funny. For selected plants like watermelons I also have MycoApply fungi and crushed charcoal!!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 11:50AM
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Michael, don't most people use too much fertilizer in any case? I bet few of them know anything about Albrecht or Rheems.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 5:36PM
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Pn: It would be easy to think so but if one hasn't a clue what they are doing it would be just as easy to use too little as too much. I am slightly inclined to believe folks over do it with the NPK and possibly Fe in certain arid areas. I try to go right down the fine line of just enough with N and P especially because as they are the easiest for me to manage on a weekly basis. Sometimes we get a lot of rain and it throws my minimalist method off, I can live with that.

Another place folks can unnecessarily use ferts. is mistakenly believing they need something to balance things out when there is no rational reason to do so.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 12:21AM
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Most people follow the Scotts/Greenfield, etc., suggesstion that lawns must be fertilized 4 times each growing season and many of the state Ag Schools have folowed along with that. It has only been the last few years that I have been seeing some change, mostly driven by the bans on use of Phosphorus containing fertilizers, although most everything I still see tells people to over fertilize, as well as poison the environment they live in.
Soil testing and maintaining nutrient balance in your soil are the key to making and maintaining a good, healthy soil.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 6:37AM
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It is truly unfortunate that the old Scots bag doesn't get far more specific relating to soil and turf type and even traffic load on the turf. There is a great deal to learn to tailor one's use of any fert. to lawns and gardens but I doubt the vast majority of folks are aware of that let alone avail themselves of the info. in order to put it to practice. I'm not surprised, it is work and requires quite an investment in time and energy, guess that what trained horticulturists are for.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 2:46PM
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organicdan(z5b Nova Scotia)

Wayne, et al, There is so much out there to read on the subject of soil, nutrients, and the related sciences. Each of them offers something for thought and very few are all inclusive. It is the sum of all the parts and the application of the knowledge to your particular growing needs.

All soils, all plants and even climates (or season) are created equal. To say it starts with the overview of a soil test is often the best advice. Interpretation of the test results and application to our crops offers the real challenge; not to mention the determination of the best remedy or amendment.

Balance appears a major key. Whether the nutrient is immediately available or simply available for the natural cycling can be a dilemma. Is the balance and ratios of nutrients supported by the appropriate level of organic matter and soil biology?

Not surprisingly, few really understand the sciences of soil. How many understand the interactions of the nutrients, organic matter and organisms suffice to comprehend the necessity for the balance suited to their soil? How many grasp the essential order of nutrient uptake to start with the trace elements?

It is a profound realization that so many of our farmers and gardeners are short-changed in knowledge and that they are under-appreciated for there level of expertise. Think about that the next time you buy your produce and the minute share of the price that makes it to the producers pocket.

Finally, boron, silicon and calcium actually lead the way in the biochemical sequence of plant nutrition. Are plants not the beginning of the food chain?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 8:39AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Probably the most important 'soil test' that I know of is 'the proof is in the pudding...through eating it'.

If my plants are vibrantly healthy, resist diseases well, and have great taste with good keeping qualities, I feel this is the ultimate test.

Carey Reams reportedly entered the same watermelon 3 different years in a fair. He said that fruits should not rot but rather dehydrate....I have 4 watermelons still out in the utility room that never got eaten. Perhaps that is a good sign?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 1:11PM
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Check out the:

very relevant to this thread.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 7:42AM
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Agricola starts out with a statement that I slightly disagree with, '... there is no good evidence that organically grown food is more nutrtious...'

Purdue did a study about 10 years ago where they found many differences between organic and conventional.

But his basic point about minerals is still valid. As Adelle Davis used to say, 'Which vegetable, grown where, and how'.

The organic movement is placing more emphasis on minerals, but there is something even more important they are starting to wake up to; 'which vegetable'.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nutrition Overview

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 8:38PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I agree that Agricola was too quick in dismissing the at least potential better nutrient density of organics.

It seems that the young fare better on imperfect diets than oldsters. As a man said about himself; "When I was young I ate poorly but grew stronger, but now that I am older and eating better, I am getting weaker."

I agree that chewing our food better, eating some raw foods, taking a good probiotic, and perhaps taking a good protein enzyme [away from mealtime] can help our bodies to breakdown our food better and we can absorb more vitamins and minerals. The reason for proteases away from mealtime is to let them work on some of our allergy type areas.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 1:14PM
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The beginning of the food chain? carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 10:25PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

And proteins [with nitrogen] are critical basic building blocks of higher life I believe.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 9:48AM
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I am so happy that I came back to GardenWeb because what I've been reading about lately is EXACTLY what y'all are talking about! I first started wanting to know what the relationship between soil health and human nutrition/health was and stubbled into the Reams/BRIX world. I'm still learning and may be a regular in this forum. I used to be a regular years ago in the Garden Design and related stuff but I really have lost all interest in that in favor of growing healthy food via improving my garden soil.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 2:33PM
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organicdan(z5b Nova Scotia)

"The beginning of the food chain? carbon, hydrogen and oxygen."

The food chain essential starts with the organisms with ability to convert the suns energy into forms utilized by the chain to follow. It is the carbohydrates and starches that lay the foundation. Only then can we draw upon the spectrum of nutrients essential to various species; the dietary menu so to speak.

I'll also give mention to von Liebig's law of minimum. This gives credence to the essential role played by the trace elements.

Albrecht's greatest realization was the ratio relationship that exists between nutrients. The Mulder's chart of nutrient interactions lends emphasis to antagonism and stimulation of need. To complicate the nutrient balancing act we gardeners lean towards the diverse mixed garden; finding a happy medium suited to all our plantings. On a farm, typical plantings are in mono-crop over acres so fields may have focused fertility plan.

With so much written on the topic it is a challenge to marry all the information. Each seems to have its own process and interpretation. Few seem to say the same thing, even in different words. The best laid nutrient management plan stills requires understanding of the soil type, management actions, climate and weather influences, rainfall data and the nature of amendments. One changeable influence can alter the best laid plan; ie, drought or heavy rain. I have yet to see all of the essential information in one reference; it a search for all the pieces.

The organic options still seem the most credible. Feeding the soil and application of raw minerals provides for a healthy soil food web and availability of nutrients to enable natural nutrient cycles. That is not to forget that plants play a role in nutrient uptake; the demand and ability to influence availability in the root zone.

The soil test and recommendations still remain key to nutrient management. The experience of each year's production and subsequent testing reports aid in our efficient management plans.

A link to the Mulder chart below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Nutrient Interactions

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 6:25PM
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I found the example of the Rhododendrons needing Magnesium, not low pH a fair one.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:55PM
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organicdan(z5b Nova Scotia)

1. Escape the effects of conventional chemicals on personal health and environmental impacts.

- toxicity & neurological disruptions
- broad spectrum destruction of natural cycles
- inability to build a nutrient reserve
- high demand for irrigation
- soil, water and air contamination

2. Dissatisfaction with the conventional practices reliant on chemicals and scale of operation.

- increasing need and cost
- tolerances and escalation of applications
- operational scale to meet demand
- dependence on and control of corporations

3. Reflect on the economic viability and sustainability of the family farm and community.

- costs exceed returns
- decline of farming incentive
- destruction of soil properties

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 12:26PM
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I am waiting batedly for my brix meter which has apparently been back-ordered.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 4:24PM
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