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Old 09-02-2015, 11:39 PM #11
m_astera
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Organic Matter ≠ Fertility

Organic Matter Fertility

Below is a good example of why to get a soil test. At 37.58% organic matter, the soil in these raised beds probably looks beautiful, rich and dark and crumbly. Those who think the secret to fertility is organic matter would likely give it first marks and expect to grow marvelous crops.

A glance at the laboratory soil report shows us that the only nutrients in evidence in any significant amount are Ca, Mg, and Fe. Likely the beds have been limed, accounting for the good level of Ca and Mg, and the soil is naturally high in Iron. Every other mineral nutrient measured is severely deficient.

Blacklick Ohio raised beds
Mehlich 3 test by Logan Labs

Click image for larger version.

Last edited by m_astera; 09-03-2015 at 01:12 AM.. Reason: Table did not post correctly.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:40 PM #12
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Originally Posted by MountZionCollec View Post
He explains everything very clearly in his book and takes those "variables" into account. No need for the aggressive tone, giving him such a traditional icmag welcome will most likely scare him away...as has happened to many others. Let's be respectful please the icmag community can learn a lot from him

By the way, the way you phrase your questions make them odd/difficult to answer, especially with no evidence provided to back the statement he is supposed to respond to.
He is the one coming on here "preaching" his dogma. I had nothing to do with that. This is an open forum. No punches held back. I have honestly never heard of him.

I just get to the point, don't beat around the bush, and just wanted some answers. Do you want me to wrap my question up in butterflies, cotton candy, and unicorns?

It will still be the same questions.

My big problem is the new growers hook onto the dogmas like a cult.

As I have always said, There is a million ways to skin a cat. He obviously has his way.

Am I barred from conversing with him because of the tone of my questions?

I apologize for that, but am still interested in hearing his answers. By nature Growers are a skeptical bunch.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:46 AM #13
Microbeman
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Originally Posted by Photosynthesis View Post
Isn't balancing soil minerals within certain parameters a relative thing to do? there seem to be a lot of variables that this style of growing does not consider.

This seems like some Albrecht type shit, but with your twist on it.

How do you explain a permaculture/no-till style of gardening being as succesful/more successful than a soil balanced garden, when the permaculture garden has never had a soil test?

Don't get me wrong, I have had many soil test. However the more I research long term sustainable gardening, the further away from testing the soil I tend to get.
One might hypothesize that there is some frustration in chasing the nutrient balanced soil through Mehlich based soil testing. From commonly held perspectives, this does not release (test for) sequestered nutrients, which in my opinion are the major players in living soil gardening.

These nutrients are sequestered in organic matter in which case the testing involves baking and weighing which seems somewhat 'stabbing in the dark' or it can be tested with stronger acids and analyzed with mass spectrometry and other expensive means, which many hold to be accurate. (It is the testing I use when necessary)

These nutrients can also be sequestered in rock material (AFAIK) and then again testing involves the use of strong acids if one believes the broader scientific community.

Another method of testing 'hypothetically' is to examine the macro and microorganisms in the soil. Some recent test parameters involve assaying the numbers of bacterial feeding nematodes in the soil as a measure of potential fertility. One might say the same of bacteria, archaea and protozoa which are observed to come to life in the lab from a soil sample.

It is all interesting and I've chosen to sit on the fence, having spent lots of cash on ineffectual soil tests and subsequent advice. I do have the luxury of a biological lab though, which does help.

Suppose I do get the Albrecht-Reams testing and follow the saturation advice by purchasing and applying minerals? Probably no harm done right? So long as the nutrients ARE actually sequestered only to be exchanged for organic acids. (You can't believe how many different ones there are) No harm done and possible benefits and I feel like I've done my best.

Alternatively I might go the route of one straw bending with natural growing methods, rejecting fertilizers and exquisite measurements, using diverse local rock & clay dusts, ramial and plant residue. I might be just as happy, fill my belly with nutritious food but keep some extra coin in my jeans.

No offense to Michael - Good work.
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:11 AM #14
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Originally Posted by heady blunts View Post

feeling the powerful nerd vibe in here!

:respect:
LOL. Thanks for the laugh. :-)
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:28 AM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photosynthesis View Post
Isn't balancing soil minerals within certain parameters a relative thing to do? there seem to be a lot of variables that this style of growing does not consider.

This seems like some Albrecht type shit, but with your twist on it.

How do you explain a permaculture/no-till style of gardening being as succesful/more successful than a soil balanced garden, when the permaculture garden has never had a soil test?

Don't get me wrong, I have had many soil test. However the more I research long term sustainable gardening, the further away from testing the soil I tend to get.
"This seems like some Albrecht type shit"

Lessee, oh yes, I mentioned Albrecht 5 times in my second post, and the avatar is a caricature of Albrecht as mad scientist. Good deduction, man.

"but with your twist on it."

Yup, my expansion from the Albrecht BCSR ratios. Covered that in the second post too. Maybe you should read it so you don't strain yourself speculating.

"How do you explain a permaculture/no-till style of gardening being as succesful/more successful than a soil balanced garden, when the permaculture garden has never had a soil test?"

Insufficient data.

"Don't get me wrong, I have had many soil test. However the more I research long term sustainable gardening, the further away from testing the soil I tend to get."

Are you sure you are competent and informed enough to comment on this?
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:39 AM #16
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Originally Posted by Microbeman View Post
Another method of testing 'hypothetically' is to examine the macro and microorganisms in the soil. Some recent test parameters involve assaying the numbers of bacterial feeding nematodes in the soil as a measure of potential fertility. One might say the same of bacteria, archaea and protozoa which are observed to come to life in the lab from a soil sample.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Microbeman View Post
Another method of testing 'hypothetically' is to examine the macro and microorganisms in the soil. Some recent test parameters involve assaying the numbers of bacterial feeding nematodes in the soil as a measure of potential fertility. One might say the same of bacteria, archaea and protozoa which are observed to come to life in the lab from a soil sample.
This is really interesting to me. As much as I like the idea of knowing exactly what is attached to the clay I'm always unsure of how much Nitrogen (or anything else that interacts with organic matter) is not shown on tests.

Since I don't know enough about soil microbiology I've just been using tests to get as close to ideal numbers then trying build a robust microbe population on top. Foliar feeding plants extra energy seems to help quite a bit.

Michael,

In your years of growing in the PNW, did you ever have plants in soils with K saturation in the high range (6-15%) and in the same season have some growing in balanced soil (Ca around 68% and K around 4%)? If so, what kind of fungal pressure did you get when the rains hit?



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Old 09-03-2015, 04:01 AM #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Microbeman View Post
One might hypothesize that there is some frustration in chasing the nutrient balanced soil through Mehlich based soil testing. From commonly held perspectives, this does not release (test for) sequestered nutrients, which in my opinion are the major players in living soil gardening.

These nutrients are sequestered in organic matter in which case the testing involves baking and weighing which seems somewhat 'stabbing in the dark' or it can be tested with stronger acids and analyzed with mass spectrometry and other expensive means, which many hold to be accurate. (It is the testing I use when necessary)

These nutrients can also be sequestered in rock material (AFAIK) and then again testing involves the use of strong acids if one believes the broader scientific community.

Another method of testing 'hypothetically' is to examine the macro and microorganisms in the soil. Some recent test parameters involve assaying the numbers of bacterial feeding nematodes in the soil as a measure of potential fertility. One might say the same of bacteria, archaea and protozoa which are observed to come to life in the lab from a soil sample.

It is all interesting and I've chosen to sit on the fence, having spent lots of cash on ineffectual soil tests and subsequent advice. I do have the luxury of a biological lab though, which does help.

Suppose I do get the Albrecht-Reams testing and follow the saturation advice by purchasing and applying minerals? Probably no harm done right? So long as the nutrients ARE actually sequestered only to be exchanged for organic acids. (You can't believe how many different ones there are) No harm done and possible benefits and I feel like I've done my best.

Alternatively I might go the route of one straw bending with natural growing methods, rejecting fertilizers and exquisite measurements, using diverse local rock & clay dusts, ramial and plant residue. I might be just as happy, fill my belly with nutritious food but keep some extra coin in my jeans.

No offense to Michael - Good work.
The Ideal Soil method was developed for use with the Mehlich 3 test. Mehlich 3 is a powerful extractant, a mix of strong acids, ammonium nitrate, and EDTA. It has a pH of 2.5.

The only test more powerful than the Mehlich 3 is a complete acid digest, a geology test where the entire mineral sample is dissolved in nitric acid or aqua regia. That is not necessary nor helpful if the goal is to balance soil fertility. The Mehlich 3 test extracts all of the mineral nutrients that are potentially available to the plant or soil organisms under normal conditions. The Mehlich 3 is fully capable of extracting minerals from organic matter.

Adolf Mehlich was a contemporary of William Albrecht. The Mehlich 3 method was first published in 1984, shortly after Mehlich's death, and ten years after Albrecht's death in 1974. Albrecht never had the opportunity to use such an advanced test.

"Another method of testing 'hypothetically' is to examine the macro and microorganisms in the soil. Some recent test parameters involve assaying the numbers of bacterial feeding nematodes in the soil as a measure of potential fertility. One might say the same of bacteria, archaea and protozoa which are observed to come to life in the lab from a soil sample."

Sort of like seeing which weeds grow and extrapolating a mineral assay from there? I don't think I would want to try writing a soil mineral Rx based on that. Besides, the thread is about balancing soil minerals, not balancing soil microbes. If you don't want to know an accurate mineral profile of your soil, fine by me. I'm sure there are at least 100 threads here on soil biota, organic matter, permaculture, and Fukuoka for every thread on soil minerals.
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Old 09-03-2015, 04:30 AM #18
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Michael...have you backed up soil tests with tissue testing for cannabis?
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:59 AM #19
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:07 AM #20
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