Beneficial Bacteria Breeding?

MetalEdJuly 8, 2012

I have a serious problem with my plants that I have tracked down to a fungi or bacteria. A lot of my plants and my neighbors trees start out in the spring with symptoms similar to leaf curl (peach).. Plants like pomegranate, peach, grape, tomato, green been, peppers (8 variety so far).. I have also found a white fungi growing under large areas of bark mulch when the soil is moist. And for years I have tried different things to grow healthy plants, without success.

Most of the plants will show great improvement when we get real dry (drought area)... They will actually thrive unless they die from lack of water. (illness comes back with regular watering, must keep things very dry!)

So I assume it is a water/ground born bacteria and I am trying to treat it with Bayer's Natria, which is bacillus subtilis..

The few plants I have treated have shown improvement in just a few days. But this stuff is very expensive and it covers very little of my yard/plants per a bottle (recommend treating weekly).

Can this stuff be bred? (grown/incubated)??? I thought maybe it could be and am trying an experiment. I filled a 5 gallon bucket with water, threw in a handful of worm casing and then sprayed about a cup of the treatment into the bucket. It has been kept warm and in the dark for almost 24 hours. It is getting real cloudy (white, same as the treatment when it is in concentrate. it was originally clear) and smells like the spray (vinegary type smell) this the beneficial bacteria multiplying that I am looking at, or is it just wishful thinking. It seems like this would be proper conditions to create more of this bacteria for use in garden/yard sprayer.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks all!


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You may be on to something there. I should not be difficult to grow any bacterium, as long as you provide the right conditions. An aquarium aerator and some molasses (for quick nutrition) might be two easy additions to improve the growing environment.

Below is a link to a scholarly article about culturing the bacterium for use in agriculture (South African avocado growing). I did not bother reading it, but it should provide more than enough detail on how to do it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:45PM
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What else have you tried? Sulfur could be a less expensive alternative. The main problem with culturing your own is the fact you're also culturing who knows what else, up to and including Legionaires' disease.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 11:04AM
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I agree with pasadena that there might be another easier solution to your soil problems... however, I don't really see a problem with what you're trying. I'm sure glad that not everyone in history has been scared to culture bacteria, otherwise we'd have no sauerkraut, yogurt, bread, soy sauce, pickles, beer, wine, etc...

Also, nobody has shown any problem with culturing compost tea, which is a real shot in the dark (put some partially finished compost in some water and aerate for a few days, then spray on the plants and soil) compared to this.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Do you use drip systems to water your plants? In the heat of summer here in zone 9 Riverside and the short fall and short cold winter the white fungus is kept under control by carefully regulating the water and where the water goes.

Sometimes turning in the bark helps. Usually it is to much bark. Using shredded leaves or a walk on bark mixed with the shredded leaves helps control the white stuff.

Have you treated the leaves? I'd stay away from making my own uncontrolled bacteria factory. I'd try changing your mulching medium and how thick you mulch.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 1:58AM
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