As to the question of: How much material is necessary to bring the pH and other factors of abused soils back to economic viability? And, the larger question of: How do we furnish sufficient nutrition, in the correct balance, for nutritious high quality crops naturally resistant to insect and dis-ease pressures?
“The plant’s struggle is one for its synthesis of proteins, its living tissues giving growth, self-protection and reproduction. Humans and all other warmblooded (Sic) bodies are struggling similarly for adequate proteins. Those are synthesized from the elements as the starting point of creation by only plants and microbes; hence the soil, its microbes (centered about soil organic matter) and its crops, are the quality control of man’s nutrition and all the animals supporting him. In our management of the soil we are not yet the equal of what nature was before man’s advent on the scene to take over that responsible part of creation.
“The degree of acidity like temperature is a condition and not a cause of many soil chemical reactions. What was once considered a malady is now considered a beneficial condition of the soil. Soil acidity is a blessing in that many plant nutrients applied to such soil are made more serviceable by its presence, and soil acidity is an index of how seriously our attention must go to the declining soil fertility.
“Acid soils are, then, merely the indication of nutrient depletion.
“We dare not be mere followers of traditions. We must face the problems and solve them.
Let us try and comprehend the fact then that soil fertility properly coupled with plant nutrition is a form of creation, a form of outdoor biology, and not a matter merely of scientific technology. In that combination wisely used there may be some solution for our food problem.
“We seem to have lost sight of the fact that the creative business of agriculture has always started in the soil.
“That movement of nutrients into the root is independent of the transpiration of water. We (Dr. William A. Albrecht and others) have demonstrated transpiration going forward regularly, or water moving from the soil through the plant to the atmosphere when the nutrientions were moving in the reverse direction, namely, going from the plant back to the soil. We have demonstrated the ions going into the plants regularly when there was no transpiration. We must get rid of this water-soluble fertilizer bugaboo in considering soil fertility and plant nutrition, because transpiration runs independently of our control and we need to concentrate our efforts on keeping the stream of fertility flowing more regularly into the plants.”
Extracts from The Albrecht Papers, Vol. 1, pgs. 50-54 (Emphasis added.) The compost program, addresses soil nutrition from the aspect of “farming the microbial herd”, which, within their metabolic processes, in turn produce the nutrition required for the plants growing in the soils. By farming the microbes, the plants are adequately supplied with their needs resulting in healthy, insect and disease resistant, plant production.
The answer to the question: “How much material is necessary to bring the pH and other factors of abused soils back to economic viability?” is Enough!
Enough ‘food’ in the form of Organic Matter which feeds the beneficial bacteria, which, in turn, are food for the higher microbial forms. The by-products released by this mechanism, in turn, feed the higher plants grown by the Bernells. The only way to know how much is ‘enough’, as every field, and every soil within a field is different, is to apply the compost and worm castings at a level dictated by soil testing and experience, then retest the soil at intervals to determine the microbial response levels. The final results can be measured in the levels of insect and dis-ease resistance achieved by the crops.
The goals the Compost Program are to achieve these characteristics of a Healthy Soil Foodweb per Gram (teaspoonful.) of Soil: 600,000,000 individual bacteria 15,000 to 20,000 bacterial species 500 to 1000 feet of fungal biomass (150-300 meters) 5,000 to 10,000 fungal species 10,000 protozoa (each consuming 8,000+ bacteria per day equals 480,000,000 parts Nitrogen available) 20-30 beneficial nematodes: bacterial-feeding, fungal-feeding, And predatory. (3 of 100 species considered harmful). 18,600 arthropods per square foot.
Example of nutrition supplied via microbes: The Carbon to Nitrogen ration of bacteria is approximately 5:1. The C:N ratio of Protozoa, which feed on bacteria, is 30:1. Thus, for every six bacteria consumed to satisfy the Carbon needs of the Protozoa, six parts of Nitrogen are in excess of the Protozoa needs and are passed into the soil environment- to be consumed by the plants growing in that soil. Other nutrients, such as Phosphorus and Potassium are processed in a similar manner. (Source: The Soil Food Web and Elaine Ingham, PhD, University of Oregon.) I hope this, at least, answers some of the questions that you need answered to bridge the gap between our program and the USDA grant program requirements.
I am naturally yours,
Mr. Sandy Asbill