Jump to content
BANGKOK 19 April 2019 05:27
loong

Soil fertility and microbiology

Recommended Posts

Good link, thanks Teletiger, [got my laptop to open links without closing viewing page] so now im getting good info without staying up all night!!

Loong, thanks for your informative reply, it appears that BiL who gives us free cow & pig crap also does charcoal, and he has loads of small pieces and dust he wants to get rid of,

So adding to the list in my Mulching topic is free cow/pig crap, coconut husks, and charcoal, it seems everbody here just wants to get rid of good organic mulch!!

I done my usual 2/3 hours on the farm today and made yet another new compost heap, it comprised of 6 banana culms, 2 big bags of tamarind [under tree] fruit and leaves, 2 big bags Kanoon and mango leaves [brown] 2 bags of bamboo leaves, 2 bags of chicken poo, and some of what we call in UK spear grass, this is the green addittive and last year, i would think because of the soil on the roots, it gave my heaps a sort of structure,

In fact, i used all weeds, flowering,seeding whatever, the heaps were fed with poo, kitchen waste ect, the heat in the pile was so great, it killed all seeds ect,

Turning over an old compost heap today, ther are 100s of Rhino beetle larvae/grubs in residence, and 1000s of crap pellets that seem a little hard, until soaked with water, i think these will make good fert but ive yet to find a web site to endorse this, the actual beetle is not really good for fruit, so perhaps when theyeve done the buisness in the heaps, get rid?

Picking your brains Loong, when i was collecting all different leaves ect today, i thought to myself, could i make a salad bed from all the different under-tree soils , the soil from under all the different trees is really dark and with the rotting leaves and a bit of animal./bird crap, and put in the right place in the orchard, with a few hours of sunlight a day, and watering of course, it could be ideal?

Your thoughts and of course anybody else much appreciated.

Thanks, Lickey..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Loong, thanks for your informative reply, it appears that BiL who gives us free cow & pig crap also does charcoal, and he has loads of small pieces and dust he wants to get rid of,

So adding to the list in my Mulching topic is free cow/pig crap, coconut husks, and charcoal, it seems everbody here just wants to get rid of good organic mulch!!

It is not a good idea to use pig manure as mulch. Pigs carry many diseases that can be passed to humans, so their manures should be hot composted before using. I'm sure that somebody with more knowledge than I will offer advice on composting pig manure.

That's good news about the charcoal.

My non scientific experiments with charcoal are still in the early days, so I'm not able to offer concrete advice. If using dust, it does seem that you only need to use very little, as too high a % can be detrimental. By dust, I mean it is so fine that it will kick up when you shovel it and you should wear a mask. It is also not easy to damp down. Small pieces of charcoal can be added at a higher %.

As little as 4 handfuls of dust per sq m seems to have immediate positive effects, even if not dug in. Small pieces, I think 10 to 25% by volume dug in is beneficial.

Picking your brains Loong, when i was collecting all different leaves etc today, i thought to myself, could i make a salad bed from all the different under-tree soils , the soil from under all the different trees is really dark and with the rotting leaves and a bit of animal./bird crap, and put in the right place in the orchard, with a few hours of sunlight a day, and watering of course, it could be ideal?

Hey, it's no good picking my brains, I'm an enthusiastic amateur.

I would think that soil from under trees would be good, especially if there are free roaming chickens as there are here.

I pinched some soil from under some trees near my garden last year and dug it in, good results, even though it contained a fair amount of uncomposted leaves. I took it from an area that the chickens seemed to prefer, so they had constantly scratched over the surface and of course, mixed in their own manure.

It didn't make any real difference to the lack of organic content in my clay soil, but every little helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Loong, same as me, experiment, try this, try that, to me, its a great new world of farming/gardening in a tropical climate, im very happy to let the natural fruit trees on our farm to look after themselves, and there is so many years of acumalated waste under these trees, i really think it can make a good salad bed on its own, no harm in trying, Today in the bamboo, i found some hollows where water rotted the leaves, it smells strong, so it means its e-composing,

And a footnote, i asked mrs anybody on farm today? Yes, Mr Poo, he hoe weeds in Makua, clean and look good, !!!

I would leave the weeding till after a few rains, the weeds would be pulled out and heaped up, bit of chicken crap,and then feed Makua, mr poo wants to leave weeds in sun for a day or so then put round base of makua, in my opinion, crackpot idea, because these are weeds with seeds on,

Again, create a hot heap of organic compost then apply..

I hope im not fighting a loosing battle with the thai system of loads of NPK ferts, cides ect, our farm is not the main provider but i certainly would like it to run a close second to mrs salon someday,,

Cheers, happy thai new year, Lickey..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the reasons that I was initially concerned with using the charcoal dust residue from the charcoal manufacture was that there may be toxins in the condensates. Especially when digging deeper as there seemed to be a slight diesel type smell.

Today I looked closer at an old pit further away and this looks so much better. It wasn't so obvious at first as is covered in leaves etc.. Most of the people here just remove the sods, stack the wood and cover with sods to keep the air out. This is a much deeper pit near some trees. It appears that when it was in use it was periodically dug out to maintain the depth and the spoil thrown around the edges. So I guess that over the years a layer of fallen leaves/charcoal and dust/leaves/charcoal and dust/etc built up. I believe that I may have found some black gold. The top 10 to 15 Cm of this is black, airy and springy and doesn't weigh half of that from inside the pit. The grass that has grown over it pulls out very easily. Most importantly, it smells right, that fresh earthy smell that is impossible to describe, but you know what I mean. Do you, or do you not, after digging in compost, manure etc, take a handful of soil and have a good sniff?.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, i watched a local farmer on his cleared rice paddy making a mud igloo over some logs, he poured a gallon of diesel down the chimney and put a gas flame in one of the bottom vent holes to get things going, the diesel of course knackers the soil and renders it usless for 15 or so years,

BiL uses 2 45 gallon drums with airtight lids and a small chimney hole, these rest on blocks and he feeds the fire underneath with anything that burns, including plastis bags which i dont agree with, so when he tips the charcoal out, there is a lot of uncontaminated dust,

The compost he supplys is from an old sty floor, its years old and lumpy, so im happy to dig this in straight away, if by any chance water will start seeds off, im sure the bamboo leaf mulch will keep them down, and hopefully it wont carry any of the dieseses you describe, anything fresh, i always hot-compost, its the only way to kill seeds and other problems.

I just love that earthy smell, its pre-dominate under the orchard trees, its dark and crumbles into granules in my fist, its got to be ideal as a base salad bed soil, just need to drag some out from under the trees, boost it with rotted compost, and a good mulch, maybe my black gold??

Cheers, Lickey..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, i watched a local farmer on his cleared rice paddy making a mud igloo over some logs, he poured a gallon of diesel down the chimney and put a gas flame in one of the bottom vent holes to get things going, the diesel of course knackers the soil and renders it usless for 15 or so years,

I've not seen anyone use diesel here. I think your farmer friend is just throwing away 200 Baht every time he makes charcoal.

I'm pretty sure that diesel will not ignite in such conditions as it needs to either be under high compression or have a wick and a good air supply. If you try to set a pool of diesel alight, you would find it very difficult, but add a scrunched up ball of paper and the paper will burn longer than usual.

I'm sure that the slight smell I've noticed comes from the condensates in the charcoal making process.

Anyway, I'm off to the garden before it gets too hot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BiL uses 2 45 gallon drums with airtight lids and a small chimney hole, these rest on blocks and he feeds the fire underneath with anything that burns, including plastis bags which i dont agree with, so when he tips the charcoal out, there is a lot of uncontaminated dust,

I don't know how well you can communicate with your BiL, but maybe you can suggest that he fit a non combustible pipe to the chimney and direct the gases released back into the fire underneath. That way he could use a smaller fire and cause less pollution as the combustible gases will be burnt off. It would be interesting if you caould post a picture of his set up.

You are lucky as I'm sure that the dust will be pure black gold.

It is bad about the plastic bags, all the bags in this village will end up being burnt or blowing away in the wind. The locals laugh at me because when I go to the shop I take a pre-used bag with me. The shopkeeper wishes that everybody would.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update.

Where I have grown Chinese radish without the benefit of added charcoal, they've all gone to seed without forming the edible tap root. This may be something to do with the heat, but seeds sown at the same time in charcoal treated soil have a good size radish and can eat now. after 10 weeks. Only 1 has run to seed.

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know, when a plant is under stress, it will divert all of its energy to flower and make seed for the next generation. This would suggest that the addition of charcoal somehow makes the conditions less stressful to the plant.

I would like to hear other peoples thoughts on this.

The tomatoes are still growing well and very little sign of the mealy bug. Tomatoes in the soil without charcoal have all been infested and died without producing an edible tomato. I am hoping to be able to report that I've enjoyed a cheese and tomato sandwich in the near future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

loong...Quote:"It is not a good idea to use pig manure as mulch. Pigs carry many diseases that can be passed to humans, so their manures should be hot composted before using."

In light of this weekends news from Mexico, a very sound piece of advice.

Regards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, not good news about swine flu, now cases in US, Canada and Spain. This has the potential to be worse than Bird flu as passes quite easily from human to human. I hope that it doesn't get to Thailand.

Pig manure definitely has its uses and some Thai people are very inventive.

http://www.reuters.com/article/environment...ews&sp=true

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Update.

Where I have grown Chinese radish without the benefit of added charcoal, they've all gone to seed without forming the edible tap root. This may be something to do with the heat, but seeds sown at the same time in charcoal treated soil have a good size radish and can eat now. after 10 weeks. Only 1 has run to seed.

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know, when a plant is under stress, it will divert all of its energy to flower and make seed for the next generation. This would suggest that the addition of charcoal somehow makes the conditions less stressful to the plant.

I would like to hear other peoples thoughts on this.

The tomatoes are still growing well and very little sign of the mealy bug. Tomatoes in the soil without charcoal have all been infested and died without producing an edible tomato. I am hoping to be able to report that I've enjoyed a cheese and tomato sandwich in the near future.

Great stuff Loong

Can't wait to start some trials myself, won't it be great if something as simple as charcoal really make such a difference !! I Think I remember you saying you had planted up some plastic containers with different amounts of charcoal in each, have you worked out what percentage of charcoal works best for your soil yet ?? Keep us updated on the progress of the cheese and homegrown tom sandwich :o !! 

Cheers for now J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's still a little early to assess results. It's also been extremely hot here and even under shade net, probably not ideal for germinating seeds and seedlings.

Sister in law has been getting the rendering done on her new house and cement dust is blowing everywhere. As you know, that is not good for young plants when it gets on the leaves.

My tests are not exactly scientific and bear in mind that I have used mainly charcoal dust with very little larger pieces, there is also soil and ash mixed in. This is much heavier than crushed charcoal.

Early signs are that 5 to 10% is the optimum proportion by volume. Tomatoes, kale, squashes, beans and chinese radish seem to do well at higher proportions, but more than 10% starts to have negative results on other green leafy veg.

I would say that if using crushed charcoal 15 to 30% by volume would be equivalent to 5- 10% as my dust is 3 or 4 times as heavy as crushed charcoal.

Where I've had a pile of dust/soil/ash and tried to germinate seeds in this no luck so too high a % is definitely no good. The black beans are the only seeds that have germinated and continued to grow. Pumpkin has trailed over to this pile and put down strong new roots, so that seems to like it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We planted about 20 pawpaw trees and one in particular is in the middle of where we burnt some old logs and vegetation.

This single tree is out performing all the others and is very strong and healthy.

Proof I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Proof of what Mr Wiggle? The benefits of adding ash and soot to planting material has been known for years. We're talking about charcoal here.

As per other posts......no emoticons, so smilies all round.

Regards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We planted about 20 pawpaw trees and one in particular is in the middle of where we burnt some old logs and vegetation.

This single tree is out performing all the others and is very strong and healthy.

Proof I guess.

Proof of what Mr Wiggle? The benefits of adding ash and soot to planting material has been known for years. We're talking about charcoal here.

As per other posts......no emoticons, so smilies all round.

Regards.

Burning the logs and the vegetation will give the soil a short term boost, there will be a very small amount of Potash (potassium carbonate) in the ash which is very important for plant development and fruiting. It also helps with the uptake of nitrogen. Potassium carbonate is highly soluble and can leech away quickly in heavy rain.

Burning logs will usually produce a small amount of charcoal, but most of the carbon will have been lost as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

So, Mr Wiggle, I expect your tree is benefiting both from the potash and the small amount of charcoal that was produced.

PawPaw is another name for Papaya - yes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...