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Old February 28, 2016   #46
TheUrbanFarmer
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PureHarvest, in regards to post #31 - let me explain why that statement is blasphemy.

The ingredients I listed on the previous page is just what was being used as a topdressing for the beds last year. The actual soil is much more complex than that.

The base soil is a structured ratio blend of thermophilic compost (hardwood shavings, leaf litter, pine straw, grass clippings), peat moss, coconut coir, earthworm castings, perlite and vermiculite. The soil is then amended with a combination of:

alfalfa meal
aragonite
azomite
biochar
blood meal
calcium bentonite
crab meal
diatomaceous earth
dolomite limestone
fish bone meal
greensand
gypsum
kelp meal
leonardite
soft rock phosphate
seabird guano
sulfate of potash
sul-po-mag

I also inoculate my soils with various beneficial fungi and bacteria:

glomus intraradices
glomus deserticola
glomus etunicatum
glomus clarum
glomus claroidium
glomus mosseae
gigaspora albida

arthrobacter globiformis
azotobacter chroococcum
azotobacter vinelandii
bacillus subtilis
bacillus thuringiensis israelensis
pseudomonas alcaligenes
pseudomonas fluorescens
pseudomonas putida

trichoderma harzianum
trichoderma koningii


I'll leave it up to interested parties to research the benefits of each of these independently.

Bio-availability of raw organic inputs is 100% dependent upon the bacteria in the rhizosphere. Chemical nutrients (ionic salts readily available for plant uptake) weaken the natural ecosystem within soil.

If all nutrition provided is in a plant available form, the need for soil biota is reduced as they no longer serve a function and what feeds them is no longer present in the soil. If the bacteria become weak and and their populations dwindle, then your soil effectively becomes biologically inert, and the end result is an environment that allows various pests and diseases to take hold because the natural system that prevents them from populating in the first place has been hindered or destroyed.

Thus the problem with chemical fertilizers and why I don't believe in a quasi organic approach to gardening. IF there was an issue with "solubility" of nutrients it is not because of what is being applied, but rather a result of what is not present in the soil to convert those raw materials to the proper ionic forms. That is not the failure of a fully organic system to provide for the plants; it is a failure of the farmer to adequately take care of the soil.

There would be zero need to apply a "real-time" solution if the soil had been maintained and amended properly in the first place.

My approach to gardening is not to attempt to feed the plants what they need but rather and attempt to feed the soil what it needs. If the soil is healthy and flourishing, the direct consequence of that is a healthy, productive plant.

I feel most people fail to understand the true science behind organics and think the application of "N-P-K" from an organic source should behave the same as "N-P-K" from a chemical source and that is simply not how it works. Successful organic gardening requires a completely different approach to agriculture. It is not a 1:1 comparison.

Countless university and scientific studies have shown that organics are every bit as productive as conventional agriculture when done right. Not to mention cheaper on a year to year basis as soil health is improved.

The average soil test in my area (when looking at CES records) shows the CEC of farm lands to be between 3-5. My CEC ranges between 18-25. Who do you think has less agriculture leaching/run off? Whose soil do you think is more fertile? It is certainly not the farmers using chemical fertigation. They have no choice but to apply nutrition in "real-time" because they have decimated the rhizosphere and prevented the soils from having any true nutrient retention.

Their farming methods have left them two alternatives as a direct consequence of improper soil management: To go without income for a couple of years while they rebuild the soil or to continue applying chemicals in the same manner. It is a vicious cycle they find themselves stuck in. Completely reliant on agricorps to sell them chemicals to put in the soil and chemicals to spray on their plants because they have completely obliterated a natural ecosystem with the chemicals they bought to put in the soil. Go figure.
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Old February 28, 2016   #47
TheUrbanFarmer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
T.U.F. I can still see the recent pix (including worth's) and not any of the old ones. I don't see any change in my Firefox browser... seems the problem is on your end?
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Originally Posted by bower View Post
FWIW I've never had a problem uploading photos using the "Manage Attachments" menu at the bottom of the posts. Yes, you have to resize them, and that's a bit of work - i do mine in the Gimp before posting. In the end, it works better IMO than uploading a huge file, which the viewer has to scroll back and forth to see it entirely. So I accept that as part of the effort, and gives a better presentation overall for the site.
There is also software available in some platforms that allows you to resize automatically to whatever parameters you select. I don't have that myself, but in the end I'd just as soon crop and tweak the pix anyway before I send em on, or I would make the effort to find that kind of software and have it done in a blink.
It doesn't make sense to me why I'm experiencing fluctuation. I re-size everything using photoshop to fit the specifications the site says. No larger than 600 x 600 and file size under 97.7kb. Every picture I have uploaded fits those specifications. Original image files are in .bmp and then converted to web ready .jpeg. I really have no clue why I'm experiencing difficulties. I haven't changed any browser or site settings yet the behavior of the site changes...and only this site. I've not experienced this issue before with any other webpages.


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Originally Posted by Spike2 View Post
I am confused as to what is going on? I see all the pictures all the time, new and old? AND since I do a lot of planting not only in my garden but in containers and my raised bed PLEASE do not give up and keep posting pictures.
It has almost become personal and now I feel as if I must conquer it!! LOL!

I'll figure this out eventually. I did PM Mischka and hopefully that will provide an answer and solution.
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Old February 28, 2016   #48
Gerardo
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It can hiccup sometimes if there are characters in the file name, such as ' or ,

Hope it works out
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Old February 28, 2016   #49
Ricky Shaw
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I post pics all the time, no problem either. Are they there when you preview the post? Resizing is the problem nearly every time. Somebody was having this same issue posting dwarf project pics in one update thread but not others. So the thread specific technical glitch is very possible I'd think. Well, it is 2016, maybe start a new thread and try the new pics there.
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Old February 28, 2016   #50
TheUrbanFarmer
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Thanks for the help, folks. I'll examine those possibilities. I do have "special characters" in the file names, so that may be the issue.

On a side note, I only have room on site for about another 15 pictures anyway - is there a preferred photo storage service I should consider using? I was thinking of starting an Instagram simply because it could serve that function, but perhaps something like imgur or photobucket is better / preferred?

Is it better to cross link photos in that manner vs having them hosted on site?

Last edited by TheUrbanFarmer; February 28, 2016 at 05:45 PM.
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Old February 29, 2016   #51
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TUF, I would have to disagree with a lot of your points.
I will say that painting with a broad brush and using absolute assumptions is, well, uncool.

Basically, saying that soluble fertilizers and non-organic farming kills soil is a blanket exaggeration. This assumes that all conventional farmers are willy nilly spreading whatever ferts they want and are clueless. Don't get me wrong, this does exist, but not the norm based on my 1ST HAND experience.

I think if you were to go out and personally visit 100 farms and see their soils, soil tests, and look at what they are using for nutrients, the rates they are using, and their crop rotation, perhaps you would come up with an adjusted conclusion.

As far as quasi-organic being impossible, I think that is close minded.
I want you to go tell that to the farmer that i met with that has been no-tilling for 22 years, doing intense cover-cropping, and has raised his organic matter from 4 to 11 percent, all the while using commercial fertilizer and occasional herbicide. As I'm sure you know, that is a small jump mathematically, but a HUGE jump as far as what that means agriculturally.
His yields are way up, inputs are way down, and his drainage and compaction problems are 100% gone. His worm population is unreal.
This is just one farmer in one state.

So, in my experience, the EMPIRICAL and visual evidence is there to show me that a blend of biological/organic principals with conventional does build soil health, improves efficiency, and conserves resources.

To say that it is all or nothing smacks of zealotry towards an emotional attachment to an idealistic way of doing something. I understand your perspective, I am not a fan of chemicals.
However, I want you to think about your daily life. Do you drive a car? Think about all the fluids in that car. Gas, brake fluid, motor oil, gear oil, trans fluid. What did it take to make the battery?
Your home. All the materials in it. Your appliances, what are they made from. Your bedding?
How much plastic is in all of the goods you buy?
The point is, in and of themselves those things are 'bad' for the planet and us. But, we do the best we can to limit our exposure. We do our best to acquire the raw ingredients in a way that is good for all. Can we do better? Yes.
But if I take the blanket approach and say all industry that is no good all the time because we are killing the air, soil, and water by supporting these processes, and that nobody is gonna correctly use them so lets do away with them, I am left living in a cave with no electricity. So then my burning of wood for heat and light will be a problem because I am cutting down trees and putting carbon into the air.
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Old February 29, 2016   #52
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Also, I personally feel we as a society argue about the wrong things.
We should be arguing 1ST about WHAT we are growing not HOW we are growing it.
Wheat, Corn and Soy needs to be seriously diminished. They are NOT the foundation of human health. Yet, that is what is grown on a large scale to produce the foods that are pervasive in our society.
When we can increase vegetable production along with 100% pastured meats, then we can get into the discussion of how we are raising those vegetables. That is where the time and effort should be focused in my opinion.
It's like debating over GMO corn. My mind doesn't even go there. The question should be why we are growing so much corn...
And I'm not saying ban grains. I'm saying the food pyramid is upside down and/or wrong.
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Old February 29, 2016   #53
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Duplicate post

Last edited by PureHarvest; February 29, 2016 at 01:50 PM.
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Old February 29, 2016   #54
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Forgot to mention workplace exposures, the buildings we live and work in are toxic to us too. I agree with PH, our daily lives expose us to a significant amount of agents that are deleterious in the short and long run.

In my case I've found a happy medium between organic and conventional inputs. They get along just fine if you are aware of how they play with each other.

I applaud you for going all organic. That long list of inputs for your beds gets pricey fast, and while "the kitchen sink" approach does work, there are other ways to skin a cat and still produce good results. Not quite as perfect or nutritionally dense or as non-polluting as one would like, but still pretty good and more than acceptable.
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Old February 29, 2016   #55
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I'm interested in the idea of a soil mix for container tomatoes, that is so nutrient dense that nothing needs to be added during the season.
I'll admit that your list of amendments is daunting... there's no way I could afford that list of primo ferts. I've seen the bat guano alone in action at my friend's farm one year - her Cherokee Purples were the size of melons. (In her case though she's growing in the ground, and the bat guano was fed to her plants later in the season).
I am growing in containers, and I do try to provide as much as possible in the basic mix when planting, which for me is basically bone meal, shredded kelp, and a high quality local compost made from fish waste - I count on the compost to provide the necessary mycos. I have added dried chicken manure too when it was available.
At first I thought this should be enough, and didn't feed anything else during the season. What I found though, is that my plants would set great and be healthy right up until they started to ripen their fruit, and then they would start to get all the usual diseases and go into their decline. I read here what other growers were doing, long story short, I tried supplementing the plants with ferts after they reached that point of ripening, and what I found is that the plants stayed healthy longer and bore more fruit. So since then I've been using granular top dressing (a chicken manure product) or liquid ferts (fish emulsion, blackstrap) to keep the plants in better shape.
So now I'm asking myself, could I simply make my mix more nutrient dense to begin with, and get the same results without supplemental feeding? If so, I'd be game to try it.
Looking forward to hear more about your system and your results this year.
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Old February 29, 2016   #56
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Originally Posted by TheUrbanFarmer View Post
I had spent the last hour typing out an elegant and extremely informative post...but accidentally hit the back button and lost it all. In correct context, the following statement would not have sounded as snarky, but it is pretty much an all inclusive summary:

Chemical vs organic ultimately comes down to whether or not you think you know more about what the plant needs than the plant does itself.
I can flip that and say organics is about thinking that you know what the vastly complex soil food web is comprised of with great understanding, and that you know what and how much to add in the organic form to supply what is needed and be able to predict when if/when it will become used/available.

If you are saying that the organic forms are stable and therefore cannot harm the soil, and the soil biota in combination with the roots will dictate the proper use of said material, then I will say that proper timing, rate, and method of application of soluble fertilizer will do the same when soil organic matter is sufficient.

I will also mention that organic nutrients can be over-applied and harm the soil and surrounding systems.

We are all basing our nutrient applications on some basic assumptions based on what we can observe and measure.

If we go with the assumption that tomatoes need 100 lbs of Nitrogen per acre, then we can calculate how much Ammonium Nitrate or Fish meal.

Other than that, I'm not sure how deciding what the plant needs versus measuring the nutrient load of a material differs.

I can over-apply either material and cause harm to the soil.

If your beef is with the source, then I don't see how using alfalfa meal (most alfalfa is conventionally grown, soon to be 100% GMO contaminated) or blood meal (most is from conventional pork) is better than a refined elemental form of nitrogen, such as Ammoniacal N.
Either product uses up resources to process, package, ship, and apply.

So I still think that application rates and methods are what matters in regards to soil health.
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Old February 29, 2016   #57
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Originally Posted by bower View Post
I'm interested in the idea of a soil mix for container tomatoes, that is so nutrient dense that nothing needs to be added during the season.
I'll admit that your list of amendments is daunting... there's no way I could afford that list of primo ferts. I've seen the bat guano alone in action at my friend's farm one year - her Cherokee Purples were the size of melons. (In her case though she's growing in the ground, and the bat guano was fed to her plants later in the season).
I am growing in containers, and I do try to provide as much as possible in the basic mix when planting, which for me is basically bone meal, shredded kelp, and a high quality local compost made from fish waste - I count on the compost to provide the necessary mycos. I have added dried chicken manure too when it was available.
At first I thought this should be enough, and didn't feed anything else during the season. What I found though, is that my plants would set great and be healthy right up until they started to ripen their fruit, and then they would start to get all the usual diseases and go into their decline. I read here what other growers were doing, long story short, I tried supplementing the plants with ferts after they reached that point of ripening, and what I found is that the plants stayed healthy longer and bore more fruit. So since then I've been using granular top dressing (a chicken manure product) or liquid ferts (fish emulsion, blackstrap) to keep the plants in better shape.
So now I'm asking myself, could I simply make my mix more nutrient dense to begin with, and get the same results without supplemental feeding? If so, I'd be game to try it.
Looking forward to hear more about your system and your results this year.
This goes back to my comment earlier in this thread to Urban. I had commented because I thought (maybe misread) that he was having some problems.
My experience with 100% organic nutrients is taking into consideration nutrient availability. These materials take time, temperature, moisture and microbes to do the work more so than soluble elemental fertilizers.
So, you can load up all these natural materials, but you might not get them into the plant when needed.
Which is why, you are correct, people go with some soluble organics to get an instant boost into the plant.
For example, large farms around here spread chicken manure for N and P. They only will get 30-50% of the total Nitrogen from this material for THIS YEARS crop even though the total measurable N is higher.
So, when you start plugging in the different organic inputs, you have to take these factors into consideration. The more ingredients you add, the more complicated this becomes.
Just looking at Nitrogen, if a crop needs 100 lbs per acre, you would take the nitrogen % times the weight of each material and add them up till you figure how much of each to apply, also taking into consideration the known availability for that year, also assuming you have the conditions in your soil (microbials) to make them become available.
Translating that into container plants from field acerage is another level of researching too.
Urban, I am not dispelling your methods as invalid, just disputing your claim that not doing it your way is somehow harmful or naive.
I actually love the organic method, but don't use it exclusively.

Last edited by PureHarvest; February 29, 2016 at 02:35 PM.
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Old February 29, 2016   #58
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I've seen the bat guano alone in action at my friend's farm one year - her Cherokee Purples were the size of melons. (In her case though she's growing in the ground, and the bat guano was fed to her plants later in the season).
Guanos work great. There's Mexican bat guano (high nitrogen), Jamaican (lots of P), and Indonesian (slightly less P than Jamaican). Then there's seabird guano (lots of N and P) too. The variability is due to their diets, insects vs fruits vs fishies.

All of them make your plants happy, just don't breathe the stuff in.

Seabird and Indonesian make a powerful combo.
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Old February 29, 2016   #59
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Consider the time to availability here:

Fish Meal

Fish meal is ground and heat dried fish waste.

Fish Meal
Typical NPK analysis 10-6-2
Release time 1 – 4 months
Pros N and P source
Cons Heat processed
Application Till in 5-10 pounds per 100 square feet

So in a container, that is a long time when you have just transplanted into a pot.
Soil growing with organic is a whole nother ball game than with containers.
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Old February 29, 2016   #60
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Guanos work great. There's Mexican bat guano (high nitrogen), Jamaican (lots of P), and Indonesian (slightly less P than Jamaican). Then there's seabird guano (lots of N and P) too. The variability is due to their diets, insects vs fruits vs fishies.

All of them make your plants happy, just don't breathe the stuff in.

Seabird and Indonesian make a powerful combo.
Look at the release rate on bat guano:

Bat Guano – High N

Bat guano (feces) harvested from caves is powdered. It can be applied directly to the soil or made into a tea and applied as a foliar spray or injected into an irrigation system.

Bat Guano – High N

Typical NPK analysis 10-3-1
Release time 4+ months
Pros Stimulates soil microbes
Cons Cost
Application Till in 5 pounds per 100 square feet or as a tea at 3 teaspoons per gallon of water

Not saying its not good, but consider the time to release.
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