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Doctoring the Soil: Compost, and the Difference between Organic and Synthetic Fertilisers

Edwin Dysinger

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Edwin Dysinger

Work on development for Bountiful Blessings Farm

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Conference

Recorded

  • November 30, 2017
    2:00 PM
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I just want to talk about. A little more about some of the options or. For slow movements. The 1st the 1st 1 I have listed this is Mohsen Coconut Court. Of D. Do you have a cooking forum. So you know what it is. When we call it coconut or. Cereal I R. And it's still it's the husks that have been polarized so there you know it's a fine fine literal but. I don't think and I think you're more likely to have that then you are to have people months you have most. Needed. Most probably there's a rolling OK because I mean the most is going to come from Northern Europe or Canada or. Some parts. Right. Yeah you know I don't think I mean it's it comes from very cold places like August 5th and it's it's all yellow. To me which we have it in a few places in the United States but most of the piece was by far that we get comes from Canada. And the Northern Europe you know. Far more than confusing. It's just a good. Filler of organic matter and so we use it as a bird sample when we if we want to make up our own party mix the Pete Moss is that's kind of. The base. That we work with. But. If you are an addict. The moss and coke in a corner in America are sold in bales are usually plastic around. Bales that you know about this 1 this time. It is that something that you have a garden supply stores. But that you are seeing the office will say. OK. All right look for not only my suspicion but. Could be I don't know. So. Anyways. In the United States there's there's quite a debate among. Your intelligent minded working on the farmers as to which which 1 is better to cook and poor people. You know that are there are some who say that the peat monsoon this is a good it's nonrenewable I mean it is renewable but it's there are concerns that it's not renewing the sprouts it's being taken out. There are there others who say that's not the case it is you own. Any ways for us Kate Moss's the and the other thing is transport you know so for us peat moss is is closer and more local doesn't take as much transport as cook in the core. Core. That C.O.I. are. And it it's. The outside husk that's been pulled Rice. Your local spot. It's you know not quite a power but it's so hot public funded it's not anything useful. You know just yeah. Yeah. So the organic own soil moments were just talking about Moss and cooking to core. I'm sorry I'm not familiar enough with Australia to know what's commonly available in garden stores and that sort of thing and that's. Yeah OK So I mean those are those are good if particularly if you're wanting to go to. Pot things or start transplants and that sort of thing but. It is handy to have something like peat moss or or cork in a core we will use it when we're when we're making a new garden bed. Just to add a bowl of organic matter into the ground in the give it. You know kind of charge the ground with organic matter and it's that it's probably that the cheapest and easiest way to do that quickly. And it's usually for us it usually comes in in plastic wrapped bales that are about. 30 to 50 pounds and they're you know they're got the size and this tall and and they're compressed and in these. Plastic wrap bags. So well. We'll add. Probably about. 2 bales or. Well probably about 1 bale for 50 feet. Of garden bed that's that's a 30 inch garden bed. So that's just like I said it's a way to to add a lot of organic matter quickly into your ground and it's it's it's. Kind of an easier and cheaper way than most anything else now compost can be used to and what will usually do is well we'll put that much. Peat moss on our bed and then will will come in maybe at that much compost on top of it so we're you know we're adding both but we're just really trying to bulk up on the organic matter in the soil initially just to get it going and we once we've done now we don't ever add peat moss to our soil again after that but we keep adding some compass to every year. Or or having them all jump on the surface. So the next the next option for more organic matter is is going to be things like manure. Cow manure horse manure. Chicken manure. Things like that. We are starting to get a fad in America or began it farming. That is farming without any animal products I don't know if there's anyone been talking about that here. Yeah we're talking about having the waste I mean it could be any animal product that animal parts as well as waste that. Primarily went well that I have I feel that there is some good reason for doing that but but I don't buy it just across the board. There the reason behind it is that most. Animal manures that you'll find bagged in for sale in the in the shops. Comes from from what we call it a castle that's a centralized animal feeding operation so we call feed feed lots OK. So I think we used to call them a few lights but they're always kind generating new kind of fancier. Terms so oh yeah so that's your big stockyards where you have thousands of cows just on the lot or chicken operations you know huge chicken operations or anything like that that's a centralized animal feeding operation of. And those those kinds of places tend to because of the the close confined conditions of the animals they have to treat them with that about Erik's and they often treat them with hormones for you know growth and things like that and. Almost for sure they're feeding them all feeds and you know for all of these reasons and as well as the fact that we just think it's wrong to do that. We don't want to we don't want to use animal products from those kind of situations and so like I said most anything that you find backed is you can almost be sure it's coming from 1 of the situations. But. I don't I don't have a problem with you know if I've got horses or my neighbor has horses you know cleaning out the stall and using them out you know you know you know how those animals are being cared for and you know that that to me it's 2 different situations going to be hit with a hole so I go oh right. And discovered that I would have the balls this is all these rules or. Oh really there was no had all our research there are not that makes sense but I haven't I haven't come across that before well there are a lot of this book out. There. The what. Right people don't write or do that and I heard. You got. In. Here you know oh. Honey I know. My. TIME So you have that experience also heard that I'm OK. You have heard that OK I'm the next. Interesting and I doubt that I had come across that before so that's something to think about. How. Are you settling you know. OK. Or good. Yeah so that's that's kind of our thoughts on. Using the animal manure. You know if you if you are going to use a manure you know it needs to be aged You don't want to use a rash. You know just. Yeah it would be go to fit if it was dried or you know if it's more you'd want to make sure it'd been turned several times and and all I think I'd I'd want to wait at least a half a year. See. On on any of these things come from any kind of thing that compost in and breaking down the more the more it looks like soil the better it is you know the from the more that you can recognise what the original product was. You know it hasn't aged very much and it hasn't broken down very much so it's going to do more breaking down in your soil and 1 thing about if it's the more breaking down it does in your soil it's tied up your microbes because you know they're there they're needing to work to break it down if it's already broken down it's not going to tie up your microbes as much and you'll have more microbes free for that for your plant on. In the in the earlier session I was sharing with them that it's the microbes in your soil the bacteria in the fun guy that do the actual transfer of nutrients from from the soil to the roots and so you want to do whatever you can to foster a good microbial population in your soil and so you know that the classic example of this is wood chips if if you dig wood chips into your soil. They you know they they will be a good source of organic matter. But it's going to take some time for them to break down and they will tie up your soil big time and you you won't be able to produce anything good on them for for I don't know you know maybe up to a year and you know you just don't want to dig. Heavy things like that large things into your soil that aren't broken down ready. OK. I think I'm just going to finish going through this because I wasn't getting use that for this list that we're going to exile in moments in the. Sources a you know the. When you buy fertilizer if you if you buy a fertilizer just a regular number Gannett fertilizer it has 3 numbers on it you know what those numbers are. In P.K. so that's nitrogen and. Potassium and phosphorus. Sorry the other really interesting phosphorus and Potassium the case. Cell of. Fertilizer are rated on those numbers just those 3 things and so the OEM. Even in America again even organic fertilizers are often rated with those those 3 numbers and so you can have an idea of what you're you're getting now generally with an organic fertilizer those numbers aren't going to be very high but that's those numbers are are not really an indicator of the value of what you're putting on when you when you're dealing with organic things like for example compost is going to. Probably have a 1 for nitrogen bed. It is still really beneficial for your soil and. You know it's it's it's providing again like I said earlier it's providing food and housing for your microbes so. So yeah home there the organic sources of nitrogen that we have. Used are are things like alfalfa meal. That's just ground up alfalfa. And. Cotton seed meal. You know any any kind of seed meal is going to be high in nitrogen because all seeds are high in in in nitrogen in protein. We used peanut meal. If you if you've got a place that's. Making peanut oil that the cake that that comes out afterwards could be a good thing tease you with behind nitrogen. Flaxseed Yeah. Yeah that might be a little more expensive than some other things so. Oh OK sure you know if you're any any seed if you have a good source and you can get it you know for a reasonable cost that's great oh yeah you do want it ground up you don't want it spreading to growing. Wheat we are we have a farmer not far from us who grows organic soybeans and we get cracked soybeans from him so they're actually just broken in 2 or 3 pieces they're fairly large and we found that that works really nicely. If you've got a cross that's overwintering in the ground like we plant structure is in the fall and they. They go through the winter and we harvest them in the spring and. The soil we get we usually put something else for nitrogen you know right when they're when they're 1st transplanted to give them an immediate nitrogen source of that but this crap soybean gives a long term nitrogen source that lasts through the spring. And so that's. You know we sprinkle it on top and just you know put it in just a little bit in the top so. You know that that's a that's a real nice thing for nitrogen. Blood meal is something that you. Blood blood meal is a is a very good source of nitrogen that we have used quite a bit and we we've stopped using that in the last few years. Not because it's not good but again because we're recognizing that it probably comes from the council you know. Feedlot. It's just blood and and. For us probably close to 90 percent of that is just picked blood. Yeah. But you know if you don't have anything else it does work really well it's a very good nitrogen source. Like. Blood and Bone pellets. I'm sure they would work there would be good it's you know just kind of you have to decide. You know how where you want to draw your lines and. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah right yeah you know that and the other the other thing is you know you can read them diseases they did be transmitted by you know. I have you know that I've read about. You know there's a there's a. In and out about it oh. It's been called trickle of sound. Which has been put in a lot of soaps and things like that to to make an ad about it so and I was reading not long ago that apparently you know when it when it goes into the the sewage system which is where it's going to go the the treatment plants there all their processes to deal with it don't work on it so it you know whatever it is the a fluid that comes out in the end that's supposed to be clean still has it in it. And and they said that. They they tested vegetables I think it was a lot of us were carrots and up you know that was irrigated with this treated. Waste and I think it might have even been treated water you know that was so it wasn't it wasn't sludge or something it was water it had been treated like yeah but that they found trickles sand in the vegetables so. Yeah well I think people people who recognise that and they're moving away from it. Right. So anyway as plants do uptake things I've also read about. I think it was Let us again that. Took up the life of a seat you know which is from round up that had been sprayed on on a previous crop it wasn't even sprayed on that crop but the previous crop it been sprayed and then they grew lettuce on the field and took it out. Just you know. It's. Absorbed it yes. Right that is. Great. Yeah. Yeah yeah and there are. Things like that out there also there are places that just have naturally high levels in the soil and so but but yeah I heard that story also about the rice you know. We have a product called corn gluten meal. That is is very nice because it it is both a source of nitrogen and it also is. How it hinders germination. So if if you have a bed that you're going to transplanted to you you can you can put your transplants in the bed and then spread corn gluten meal over your bed and you're providing nitrogen and you're also hindering weeds from germinating in your bed. So corn gluten meal you know I don't know if that's available here but I. I wouldn't be surprised if it is and. Chances are good you would have. 0. For phosphorus in mentioning animal manures tend to be high and tend to have phosphorus in them so that's 1 way you can add phosphorous to your soil but if you need more phosphorus. You can buy rock fan tutte that will help also bone meal can. Can be a source of phosphorus. For potassium I'm not sure what what you have available here but. I mention green potash here and sulphate of potash these are both organic. Sources of Patel C M. For calcium you can use lime or gypsum. And and then we already mentioned at lunch time right before lunch different sources of micronutrients like cult meal sea water and what was it see saw is that the product that you have here. And. Diatomaceous Earth diatomaceous earth is a really large. I'm almost ready to use it so thanks. DI to make this earth is. This very interesting product it's it's made of no. Fossilized diatoms which is as a very small kind of single celled algae. That grows in water. And there are 2 parts of. Diet Emacs's earth. In different places around the world own it is. It's good as a as a source of silica it is also good as a past. Control of the engine and later when we're talking about us but it tends to dry out any pest that has an exoskeleton. You know. And. All people people say it's good for do you want me. You know you can you can I mean people like to put it in their in their feed for their animals in their chickens and. They said it helps to clean them out people use it themselves and they say that even though it helps to to make your hair in your nails stronger you know I don't know if they settle also maybe clean you out so I mean they say it has good detoxing properties but it's. If you look at it microscopically it you know it's it's got a structure that's like glass shards and so that's probably 1 reason it helps to dry out the exoskeleton things so you can people will leave in America we can we can buy it as a as a you know something to use in your house it's a white powder that you can just put on it like your baseboard around windows to keep you know for cockroaches it's things like that it's a it's a very safe you you want to look for food grade. Diatomaceous Earth it's very very safe but it's very effective 1 and 6 that have access skeletons. OK so. That's that's the good progression because OK great. Just. As you say. That's a. Great. Yeah I had some these are just power points and I had some rational. These are the movies Oh OK great good time press. OK. Actually I want to get 1 in the store just. The other. OK. So my son has put together a record for an online garden training program a new These are some things from now it's called going to grow. This is. I think you. Scared. If you have you can easily take a little soil sample from your garden to send it in and have tested to find out what kind of meat treats you have in your soil can start mending it and proving it for your garden and the fact is that the symbol that you take and come to take the sample is 1 of the critical factors for how reliable that soil test is going to turn out and how much you can make in the results that come back from that soil tests and figuring out how they need to start working on 1 and then in your garden and building up your soil and so this is a this is a real cute kid little factor in this little testing is taking the sample the goodness of this really not that far but it's very easy to do and so I go ahead and show you how you can do that only for taking the soil sample it is a good state you know it's pepper ball pounds of flat blade regular stuff will work as well as possible in the seawall and here and a nice clean bucket for taking your sample so if you want to do is take your spade and thrust it down into the ground as deep as he can go and then pull it back and forth what we're wanting to do is get what's called soil profile and ice profile of the soil all the way down at least $8.00 to $12.00 inches or so down into the soil to be hopeful very close a little boy it's where they do this so make a little beat that goes down into your soil and then take care of spade and to shave off. A little sheeting the deer on your whole floor the profile all the way down the Stevens even though it's beautiful and that this will have to be disloyal seeable you can then put it into a bucket Now if you believe it will live all the salt on your soil test you'll want to get soil samples from all over your garden you might want to go is exactly however over the growing area that you're going to be growing in and if these 8 to 10. These soil profile samples. Are those that will get. The best really the more the more you get the better and that will give you the best idea on average that ratio your forward in the area what kind of the chance that you have the final step here is to make sure that he makes the soil samples as best as he can get the really that stuff and then you get your soil test kit in from whatever company that's what we do leadership of testing this is how to do a little bag. For you instruction is for any of the said therefore the sample you need is this mixture taking all these little samples or else you're guard it said it for the actual soil test. OK. So the idea is he you take your plot that you're wanting to grow him and you take random samples and like you said the more the better but you know I would say 5 go to minimum. You know to me would be nice. If you take those Room samples mix them up in some of them now if you have if you're growing in different places you want to do a separate simple for each place so that you can. You know because the soil might be different in that place. Than the other place so. Any questions on. Come. OK well. It will be. Just. Making a difference than usual so let's. Just turn on lights. Does anyone know how I can shut this all. Or not. Nor do. I care. What. I think. Well it will. Go on. So. Compost. Oh we talked about it before lunch it's it's just decomposing organic matter right. And what it what it what is the benefit of compost You know it was as I said earlier. Things break down slowly over time and so the. The more you think that you can recognize the material the less that the original material the less it's decomposed and so it's going to continue to break down over time and eventually it's going to give you. A dark. Brown or a black project that. You can't tell what it what it came from you know it's broken down so much and that's that's the ideal kind of post. You can. Draw I think I'll start talking about how to do it and then you hear so the the 1 of the main benefits of compost is this really dark material that we call humans it's it's a almost a complete breakdown. For Danica matter and and and then and even further breakdown is it's humanities and. And an even further. Product that comes from the breakdown of countless is called the gases. You know all of these are very rich not only. In nutrients but in. The form. Well like I said before. The food in the housing for fruit microbes more broken down it is the better. For them it's more readily available for them. So it's human has has amazing. Properties. Compost when when you when you add. Compost or actually any organic matter to your soil 1 thing that it that it tends to do is buffer your soil so if you are if you are high in. If your PH is high or low how do you know organic matter compost will tend to bring it closer to the center and also if you're higher or lower in certain nutrients by adding organic matter you tend to bring it closer to the center so if it has a has this buffer property that's really helpful. How to make compost. There are. There are 2 main. Ingredients that there were 2 main things we're looking for in compost and just for simplicity we call them greens and browns. Sell your greens are our fresh items. It's your. Kitchen scraps. And if you put a dead animal in and that's going to be agree. Then your grass clippings. Anything that's that's fresh is a green you know you can put in. Some things you got to crop residues after you've harvested your crops. Those could be greens or ground it depends what the condition is there are fresh greens. So you have greens and then you have your Browns. Kind of that typical Brown or the ideal Brown is strong. That it has a program. Dead leaves are brown. And there are a number of sources of browns. You don't want or usually use something like wood chips as a program because as I mentioned before they take on to decompose if you don't you know if you have access to satirise or wood chips and you don't mind having it in the heat for a while. I would take it that it'll probably be 5 years before before here before it's ready for you to actually use it. So if it's wood that's for sawdust if it's widgets it's going to be laundered now. Bet. You what chips are really good as a moment on the surface just don't dig in and. You can. We like to use wood chips on perennials you know for our garden I'm too worried about digging and you know when I'm harvesting like if I'm harvesting roots it's going to make a hole and wood chips are going to want to fall down in there you know if I'm transplanting I'm digging a hole in the wood chips are going to want to fall down in there and are worried about using wood chips. Where. Animals in production but they are good on perennials and they then mimic the natural order that perennials growing and you know the criminals grown in a woodland work where sticks and leaves are falling on them anyway so that's the kind of. That works well but so to make compost you have greens and browns and you. If you there are 2 ways you can you can make compost you can you can make a quick pile that you want to you can make it go all the process go fast or you can do it slowly so if you want it to go quickly it's going to be high management you know you've got it. You've got to watch it closely and turn it regularly if on. It that's well and generally if you're going to do it quickly you have to have all the materials for a pile of baleful for you to put in that pile all at once now for for us on the farm and for a lot of us at home that's not really practical you know we get the scraps little by little you know out of the kitchen and so in that case you know you're making a small pile and. You know it quick pile can be ready to use in. I'd say 3 months you know it depends on how quickly you do it I have when I was in college I actually followed a recipe for 414 days compost and. It wasn't you know you could still tell that the parent Tiriel was it wasn't broken down that much but it was to the point that you could put it down on the garden sell it you can do it you know at that speed but like I said you have to have all the material available and you have to manage it Sterling intensively. You have to be watching the temperature internally regularly. So. The way that we. All tell you how to do it quick pile you just we call that lasagna method of build an appliance they use you add your grounds and then and then you add some green and generally you're going to want. 2 to 4 times as much for Brown is green. OK so you you out a thick layer around and a thin layer on top and then it will generally sprinkle some dirt on. You know like why would the. Well. Yeah that's the reason for building a quick pile or not so worried about the flies that. Yeah we're knocking lady that you know. I wouldn't I wouldn't want to use it in the compost pile I can tell you a different. It works really well as a mulch and I can tell you there is something called That lasagna that's making. Using using cardboard that's a that's a different thing. Well it's a it's a pretty heavy brown. And it see the think what I'll tell you I said the straw is the is the ideal material for compost. You know I would use your. Right. But the thing that the reason straw is is the ideal is that it's it's a it's a straw you know it's a hall. Piece of material and so it allows more circulation of air and water and that and then also. When you when you get straw it's going to be kind of a tangled mess right now and again that God allows more more opening for air and water good to concerned about carbon where it is that it's 1 and they're going to want to pack up with another and that's going to just buy it and be tight together like that is going to hinder the breakdown it won't break down this quicker. Yeah got cardboard be fine if you shredded it if you could shred it then that would be great. Right if you had a chip or should or something like that and you know. Yeah I think that would yeah and it got a you know the egg with a paper 1 concern would be that it might match you know it's loose but when it gets wet and get other things on top of it so I think I would put a little bit add some other. Things on top and and then a little more better. Yeah so so you just keep building your pile like that you put a layer of Brown a thick layer around a thinner layer a little dirt a layer around later a little dirt and you build it up as you know to used up your material Oh you don't usually want to make here. High hill more than. 6 feet. Diameter. 16 square because it's 6 feet tall. Because it doesn't need to breed. And and if it gets bigger than that it'll tend to compact in the center and it won't be concluded as well and. You know there are 2 kinds of decomposition there's aerobic and anaerobic composition. And. They take different kinds of bacteria usually that there's nothing wrong with anaerobic bacteria but but for compost you want aerobic bacteria built to the do a better job. So. A 6 foot diameter usually if you're inside out you're not going to. Be able to have plenty of irritants this if you're concerned the talk if you if you are using some fine material and you're concerned about the air and water Taurasi of your pile you can take a big bar and punch holes in them or something like that to to help that if you if you have a lot of material you know farmers who are who are making and people who make compost commercially they'll they'll do a better oh well. Grow that might be for 460 why not just make him long. You know for the 6 feet tall just. So that's the way to do. A lot of compost you don't want to do you know wider than. Ever. And that's a good point. It is it is helpful to cover your compost pile. First for a couple reasons 1 is. Well your compost pile needs more. You know those microbes need waste your in order to live and work and so they. If you are if you're making a pile in a very dry place. With a lot of dry material. You'll usually want to add water to it you know sprinkle it let it down and you could do that layer by layer that would be better than waiting until it's all built in the water so you don't want to over water because. You know too much water kind of cools it they own. Makes it makes it difficult to work that. Good morning Mr So you know if it were we like to talk about it cake. You know for the soil or through your compost pile you know it needs to have it needs to be more used but not so nice that we squeeze it water comes out. So when you. If you're in a dry area. Covering your pile it is very useful because it it keeps the Morris chair in your pile so. Yeah I live. I think you can you can cover it completely because you're not not you're. You're not covering it so tight that you're sealing out any air access it'll have enough air. You know so you know we'll use a tarp just like a tarp over it. You know. They are but for most home gardeners the the big issue is that you've got a lot of greens and not enough grounds and if you if you have a compost pile that smells if you have you know it has that ever happened to you you know it just starts to steak and attract flies and things like that hot. Pardon cockroaches. So if that's happening. Most likely the problem is you've got too much green. You you need to be more grounds to your compost pile that's the most common problem that home gardeners have is too much grief you know that and the stinky pile. OK. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Right. Right. They they are bit. The wood you know when you're when you're doing a home compost pile. Little by little you know you're just out in your kitchen scraps of a once in a while you know probably every day but it's just little by little. You're. Your pile that's going to you're going to need. Problem in the way the way we tend to do it is that well well we'll be out in our scraps book both our kitchen scraps and our garden scraps you know the the residue after harvest the plant residue. Current tox tomato plants you know once they're finished and you pull them out all your broccoli plants you know the. Cabbage leaves pardon. Yes all of that we put it on the pile we put it all on the pile and. Just. So we're rebuilding that little by little so what will generally do is well over the course of the year everything goes into that pile and we're going to go to the pile and and then we'll will start a new pile and leaped up and sit and actually will try to turn it at least once. And let it sit and and after another year it will be really nice. That you can you know yeah right right. Yes Now it's that's a really good point what we do is we get a we get some hay bales or straw bales and sup the mechs to our conduits pile so that we can help up around to easily add to that because we were always that we've got greens you know lower garden scraps or kitchen scraps but the Browns are handy when we want them so we. We put the Greens on and then we take some fruit put it on top of. The back yes. Yes you can I do have feet yeah. Yeah. Yeah I don't know if you want to consistently always put it on but because it is it's high in potassium and but you know if you're if your soil needs potassium you can just spread it directly to the beds and you know so I mean my my concern is that if you put it all in the compost pile it might be too concentrated. In a Depends on how much and she was. Right. She got that. OK. 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