Originally Posted by rykus
Thank you so much again for the help and effort you've been putting in here slownickel!
I am still not able to send my soil mix in, but just the principles you've been teaching, along with knowlage I got from reading a few of the epic outdoor and organic soil threads have been helping me greatly in my slow transition to no till or minimal mixing organics....
The mix I've been using is approximately 107 l of peat, 150 l of coco and 220l of perlite with 60l of worm castings.
Realize a couple of things. Depending on where that peat was harvested, it will have distinct capacities to give off its constituent elements that it is part of its' chemical nature while it breaks down. It is organic material. That is one chemical profile. Correct? Canadian peat, Russian Peat, Coots' peat? What ever! All have a distinct chemical profile.
Then you add coco.... I won't tell you about how many mango fruit in a very large mango farm in Brazil were destroyed by adding coco fibers/meal as bedding material on mango trees. It was full of salt and toxic with boron. Never saw such a thing in my life. Another chemical profile. The same Coconut materials are used in Costa Rica and work great as a mulch, why? Different chemical profile, different water and soils. Correct?
Then the big wild card. All of the basic components used to make worm castings come from decomposed manures, composts, organic material etc. fed to worms, all of which combined, leave a very unique chemical profile in a very readily available form. What organic material was fed to the worms that made these casting? If it is was from the coast of Peru, chances are, high Na, no Mn, toxic Fe. If it was from Oregon, low Na, some Mn, toxic Fe and Al. If it was produced in one of the islands of Hawaii with no Fe and all Mn, guess what chemical profile that worm castings have?
Hopefully You understand where I am going with this before I get to the punchline.
So in the meantime, I will tell you about a great Chinese friend of mine here in Peru, his name is Huey. Pronounced Way. I help him on his grape farm, nearly 4 years now. Today I was in his farm several hours with his team.
After about an hour or so, he said to his team, "You all should just tape Michael and replay it over and over, because he just keeps repeating himself, every time he comes here. So I will repeat myself again today.
So what to do in your case? Any doubt? Take samples of your best and your worst medium/soil hybrid and send it to the lab. Specific gravity will vary over time as this hotbed of pure organic material breaks down, result in less and less airspace. It will take some time. If you don't know how to maintain that structure open with calcium, by not applying magnesium, etc. You have a small time bomb on your hands. So you will always have this dynamic of decomposition while at the same time, trying to push fertilization, with little to go on other than it kind of worked last time.
Do an analysis, there are a dozen folks here that get off on looking at analysis. And if I could convince you all to test your best vs worst, we could dial each and ever situation in faster and faster. A database if you will. But that takes discipline. Garbage in, garbage out. Analysis from lousy labs send people to the right, when in actuality the solution is to the left! That is what we have seen so far and shows to a great length the real cause of what everyone is complaining about and having to spray foliars to fix, CALCIUM.
Calcium is the King of the elements. If not at full power, all kinds of problems happen.
Realize this took me nearly 25 years to understand. After you keep running into the same issue, over and over, in more than 20 different Countries, in thousands and thousands of acres, all one common issue. Not enough calcium, not enough air to the roots and not enough drainage. Sound familiar?
Of course it does! And why? You all are farmers! Just like the rest of us and that means you all will have to deal with the same exact same problems that we do.
How does one solve a problem in agriculture? Analyze it. Measure the problem. Gauge the problem. Test your hypothesis. Learn from your mistakes by doing tests.
I only know one way to do it and it isn't simple. To accomplish this task, we have to use up to date science, where many have been able to wade through a lot of bullshit and have realized the correct path, whether one likes it or not.
We have to do better than Albrecht, better than Tiedjens, better the folks that just copied the Masters' works into their handy dandy books and had to guess their way around issues that have long been studied by other real people in this science. It is a science.
Do you go to your gas station to get your teeth fixed?
And realize this is not just about mediums/soils and fertilizers. There is this whole other dynamic called water, quality and quantity. Light, wind, temperatures, day lengths, etc... all of which are much easier to guage. But soils and mediums... not so easy. Even though I am not very vocal about it, I believe greatly in the use of microbiology, however, I believe in providing the environment and nutrition to the biology so that they can work. Humates, calciums, micros, sugars, cover crops, washed manures that release metabolites (like Kempf talks about), worm castings, etc... But without air and the correct nutrient combinations, biology will sour due to the lack of air and not be able to compensate for that lack of balance.
Glad to hear that folks are getting something out of my rants!