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Art & Science

Posted by barbararose21101 8 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 0:34

Wouldn't it be sweet if we could sieve our experiences here and harvest some facts ?

Tho I seem to swim upstream in digging for facts, I've gleaned a few, I think. I think there is something like consensus on all fronts, that vermicompost and vermicompost tea are good for plants and good for soil, and better than "synthetic" fertilizers in a long-term healthy -earth sense. The G. Profs seem to object more to the claims of disease prevention, than to the idea that VC is good for gardens. There are a variety of views on whether Tea is worth the work, and if so, what's the recipe that is worth the work and what are its best uses ? Further, what is the value of aerating ?

I challenge the sharp divide between Leachate and Tea because I think the facts depend on some variables.
What if the liquified (pureed food) I feed the worms filters through castings present ? At one extreme would be liquid from rotting stuff that worms have not processed; at the other extreme could be liquid that washed through mostly castings with little or no unprocessed stuff,

Without knowing the science of the desirable bacteria, I don't know what the value of aerating is. I can speculate that since it is fact that the bacteria that exist in nature in the top 3 ? inches of hypothetically healthy soil are aerobic, that aerating the liquids may have merit.

Today I sprayed my disease-prone roses with some undiluted, well aerated God Knows What: part stale "Tea" part leachate.
It was hot and sunny: the spray visibly coated the young leaves.. If the leaves are healthier this year than last, I'm going to give the treatment credit. (I don't use conventional treatments anymore for fear of harm to bees.)

If anyone has suggestions on how to test VC on Tomatoes, I haven't found them yet. We do wander among our threads.
I could make tea with chicken manure or cow manure but we know that the chicken stuff is high nitrogren and that wouldn't address the question. Nor does comparing Tea or VC to Miracle Gro address the question. I assume (I've never used it but my neighbors do) that Miracle Gro for tomatoes would be more productive and maybe safer food.
Do you disagree ?
How would I test Tea ? Aerated or Not ? vs What ? vs mixing the castings into the growing medium ? In what ratios ?

I think many of the tomatoes will be determinates in pots, the long-term health of the garden is less an issue.
The bed that will get the Brandywine even has charcoal in it and a little human nitrogen. No science there just Overdo the whole way.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Art & Science

DISCLAIMER: Each & every answer, explanation, claim & statement I am about to put forth/offer up/adhere to can, and will, be questioned/denied/pooh-poohed by any number of conservationists/naturalists/chemo-heads/worm & VC & commercially-for-sale vendors of all things worm.

Nothing will be all black or all white, or absolute, or written in stone because nature overlaps and covers up for itself all the time. That said, here goes:

Q??????.>>>>>>>"Wouldn't it be sweet if we could sieve our experiences here and harvest some facts ?"

A........ We see them, and read them every day. Some we discard, some are embraced.


Q??????>>>>>>"Tho I seem to swim upstream in digging for facts, I've gleaned a few, I think. I think there is something like consensus on all fronts, that vermicompost and vermicompost tea are good for plants and good for soil, and better than "synthetic" fertilizers in a long-term healthy -earth sense. The G. Profs seem to object more to the claims of disease prevention, than to the idea that VC is good for gardens. There are a variety of views on whether Tea is worth the work, and if so, what's the recipe that is worth the work and what are its best uses ? Further, what is the value of aerating ?"

A........ First, vermicompost is not vermicastings. It is incompletely finished VC. Vermicompost is a combination of compost and vermi-CASTINGS (where all the disease-prevention properties are as the result of that little magic thing the worm does to compost when it passes thru his/her digestive tract creating the biology that invades and overruns the bad biology on plants and in soils that causes them to not do well).
AVCT (aerated compost tea) is aerated to supply all that good biology that is being formed in the tea process with the amounts of oxygen necessary for the sustainability of the life being mass-produced. You are, in effect, building the large army of disease fighters to be able to overwhelm the nasty old bad biology on your plant surfaces. Being able to apply the good army of disease fighters to plant surfaces is the reason....other than being able to multiply the army during brewing.... for AVCT. The amount of effort necessary to brew tea is VASTLY over-rated unless you are without electricity.

Q??????>>>>>> "I challenge the sharp divide between Leachate and Tea because I think the facts depend on some variables.
What if the liquified (pureed food) I feed the worms filters through castings present ? At one extreme would be liquid from rotting stuff that worms have not processed; at the other extreme could be liquid that washed through mostly castings with little or no unprocessed stuff,"

A...........Leachate isn't tea because of the explanation given in the previous question. It, DOES, however have a little bit of goodness about it in that it has fertilizer properties in minute quantities in that it is, or should, all be organic.
Always remember that all AVCT, and vermicompost, and vermicastings, and anything stirred with a stick that came out of a worm-bin and is organic and not contaminated with chemos is NOT a really good source of fertilizers. But it is natures' fertilizers that are unlike chemo crap that have made us all demand unnaturally ultra-green lawns and artificially gigantic tomatoes, and other stuff that would never exist if Monsanto, and Ortho and others had not gotten into our heads and altered our awareness. Just like LSD and maryjane.

Q??????>>>>>>"Without knowing the science of the desirable bacteria, I don't know what the value of aerating is. I can speculate that since it is fact that the bacteria that exist in nature in the top 3 ? inches of hypothetically healthy soil are aerobic, that aerating the liquids may have merit."

This is also addressed in the previous answer about building the vast army of do-gooder bacteria to fight the bad boys.

Q????????????>>>>>>"Today I sprayed my disease-prone roses with some undiluted, well aerated God Knows What: part stale "Tea" part leachate.
It was hot and sunny: the spray visibly coated the young leaves.. If the leaves are healthier this year than last, I'm going to give the treatment credit. (I don't use conventional treatments anymore for fear of harm to bees.)"

A............. I don't "know what" either. If it was aerated, you would have been able to deploy a larger army than liquified vermicompost can. However, when that application is applied in "hot and sunny" conditions, all hell breaks loose within the ranks of your...up to this point... coddled and pampered army and a lot of the troops will perish in the heat. That's not to say that you won't be doing some good because a depleted deployed force against evil is better than no force.

Q??????????>>>>>>"If anyone has suggestions on how to test VC on Tomatoes, I haven't found them yet. We do wander among our threads.
I could make tea with chicken manure or cow manure but we know that the chicken stuff is high nitrogren and that wouldn't address the question. Nor does comparing Tea or VC to Miracle Gro address the question. I assume (I've never used it but my neighbors do) that Miracle Gro for tomatoes would be more productive and maybe safer food.
Do you disagree ?"

A............Yes! Miracle-Gro is chemo.

Q??????????>>>>>>How would I test Tea ? Aerated or Not ? vs What ? vs mixing the castings into the growing medium ? In what ratios ?

A........... Trial, error, tweaking, and experience are proven ways to test. When you see results, repeat. Keep reading. And aerate. At this point, I could tell you to do as I do and take advantage of about 15 years of my screwing up and getting it right and eliminating the things that work less well than the things that don't. But I won't, because we play with worms, and nature, and are incredibly prone to independent thought processes and momentary lapses of reason.

Q???????>>>>>>I think many of the tomatoes will be determinates in pots, the long-term health of the garden is less an issue.
The bed that will get the Brandywine even has charcoal in it and a little human nitrogen. No science there just Overdo the whole way.

SUMMATION....... That concludes my little pinch of fact and healthy dose of facetiousness.

Chuckiebtoo

Sorry it's hard to distinguish the questions from answers, but without having the ability to use italics, or different script, or boldness, and not wanting to yell at everyone using CAPS, ........................


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RE: Art & Science

"Sorry it's hard to distinguish the questions from answers, but without having the ability to use italics, or different script, or boldness, and not wanting to yell at everyone using CAPS,.."

Amen to everything but the "caps" comment. I truly fail to understand "yell" in writing. When caps are the only option for emphasis, I think a group of people that have the intellectual ability to raise worms successfully have the intellectual ability to understand the need for emphasis in written communications.

I agree with most of what has been written so far, but I would add that for the most part, I don't care. I spent a lot of time when I was young, "saving the world". I am no longer interested in OVERTLY "saving the world". Instead, I am interested in "saving" myself. Saving myself means creating an environment around myself that is conducive to my health. That MAY, in some small way, "save the earth", but that is something I am not concerned with.

Since I am "old", I have had many, MANY, opportunities in my life to 'challenge' my body. Having done so without catastrophic results, I realize that too much of what we qvetch about is truly nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. I would strongly encourage anyone "worried" about the world around them to read Michael Creighton's, "State of Fear". He eloquently illustrates how we, "The Masses", are kept in a constant state of fear by The Press, Politicians, and Lawyers. Each because it serves their purposes - money - to have us 'pin-balling' from one fear to another.

Growing things give me pleasure. It's tough to grow things in the sub-arctic without SERIOUS effort. I don't like to 'spit into the wind' any more. Worms can be grown in Alaska without having to spit into the wind. The products of growing worms - worms, vermicompost, and possibly some liquid product, WHATEVER it is - are "good" FOR ME. I don't need 'proof' that the product of raising worms is "better" than something else. I used to spend my life constantly comparing every aspect of my life in search of "the best" so that I could either "save the world" or "save myself". Nowadays, I don't. Instead, I try to do what "makes sense" TO and FOR me, and not worry much beyond that. Growing worms 'makes sense' regardless of whether it is "better" than some industrially-produced product or system. If I can't produce enough VC and worms to satisfy my plant-growing efforts, I WILL use Miracle-Grow. I am not afraid of it, and I don't "Hate" it (as some do), even though it is not "the best" fertilizer in the world according to some people's definition of "best".

Paul


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RE: Art & Science

“Sometimes I sits and thinks while looking at my vermicompost bin, and sometimes I just sits and look at my compost bin without thinking...” apologies to ― A.A. Milne

Boy that was a large number of questions. I am clapping at the responses.

“All the World's Problems Can Be Solved in a Garden” Geoff Lawton

When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden." Minnie Aumonier

"Worms make things better." equinoxequinox


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Art & Science & Religion

Thanks folks.
Further thought since that post, add Religion:
Faith without facts being "religion".
With some respect to all three.

I do do as CB2 says: repeat good practices;
and try others' experiences.

I want to experiment with tomatoes only because I want tasty tomatoes. They are a lot of work and more expensive than store bought . . . so they have to be good. We've had cold/cool temperatures and rain this week. I hope I can keep the starts happy until May.


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RE: Art & Science

"They are a lot of work and more expensive than store bought . . ."

In Alaska you can say AMEN! to that. Nonetheless, thousands of gardeners spit into the 'tomato wind' in Alaska. Some go to incredible ends to get some good-tasting tomatoes. If one questions the sanity - or even practicality - of that endeavor, one should be prepared for a fire-storm of rage in response."Me thinks he doth protest too much."

Hmm... I should be able to make a small fortune 'selling' the magic of vermicompost for growing tomatoes to the "dedicated" tomato slaves in Alaska.

I should offer a disclaimer: I broke my sword trying to grow tomatoes - using reasonable effort - up here. So my opinion should be considered in that context.

We have LOTS of summer light, but we simply do NOT have enough degree-days. Period. Most of the effort spent up here on tomatoes is directed to increasing the degree-days.

As one might imagine, cold weather root crops like carrots, potatoes, etc., do very well, as do most cruciferous vegetables like cabbage. I will concentrate on those. (Actually, I prefer perennial herbs and fruit-producing shrubs.) Gardening is supposed to be fun. Trying to grow tomatoes in Alaska takes ALL of the fun out of it, FOR ME.

However, exploiting the insanity of those that insist on growing tomatoes in Alaska by extolling the magical elixir of VC and "tea", could change my whole attitude toward growing tomatoes in Alaska. BWAHAHAHA!

Paul


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RE: Art & Science

My limited experience with potted tomatoes is:

They respond well to tea, both as foliar feed before fruit set and as a soil drench, as often as you wish.

I quit using castings in my potted soil mixes. I have tried 5%-20%, but casts seems to plug things up. They slow/stop the soil drainage and air movement. I do still top-dress with castings.

Castings are great in a starter mix, as tea, topdressing, and in the garden in general. But my experience is not to add to potted plant mixes.

Good luck Barbara


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RE: Art & Science

"I quit using castings in my potted soil mixes."

Interesting! The person that gave the vermicomposting seminar that I attended said that was one of her primary uses. THE primary use she had was in her starter flats, AND when she "potted out" the seedlings, she mixed two parts VC with one part "Pro Mix".

It would seem to me that top-dressing and drenching with tea would be the methods that most closely simulate what happens "naturally". Meaning: "The worms go in, the worms go out" producing the "top" dressing, and when it rains, the rainwater "makes" tea by percolating through the worm castings.

I haven't figured out how to get the "natural" process to foliar feeding. I'm workin' on it though. Maybe it's the splash from heavy rainfall. :)

Paul


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Science

BioCycle Magazine

"There is an urgent need to standardize compost and vermicompost tea production methods and application rates as far as possible to increase their effectiveness, avoid adverse effects and decrease human and environmental potential hazards. Until recently, a research at Ohio State University has addressed primarily the effects of solid vermicomposts on plant germination and growth and the suppression of plant diseases. During the last year, the researchers have extended their research into similar studies of the effects of aqueous vermicompost extracts or teas on plant growth and plant diseases. Preliminary research has demonstrated clearly that teas produced with aeration are much more stable and effective than those produced without aeration. Recent research in their laboratory has demonstrated clearly that solid vermicomposts also can suppress a range of plant diseases such as Pythium on radishes and Rhizoctonia on cucumbers in the greenhouse."

I'm thinking 1 cu ft pots half Cedar Grove Booster Blend mixed with half Cedar Grove potting soil top dressed with vermicompost, maybe a cupful.
I'll have the work of the worms from the Worm Inn to use: some for tea,
some as dressing. Compost status post brewing back to Inn with horse manure. Equal parts ?

I started with half a pound of worms a year ago.
A lot of worms came with the last batch of horse manure.
So far theyhave been segregated. I'll fill 13 of these pots.
Not sure yet what variations to compare.
Possibly:
1. BB&PS only;
2. BB & PS + 1 c VC dressing ( including worms & cocoons ?)
3. BB,PS, & foliar feed weekly with ACT;
4. BB,PS & foliar feed weekly with fish emulsion fertilizer.

Tentative tea recipe:

5 gal rainwater
2 # VC
1 T molasses
1T fish fertilizer
aerate 24 hours.


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