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Banana Plant Soil, Additives, and Fertilizer This forum is an area where you may discuss the soil to grow banana plants in, as well as soil additives such as teas, composts, manures, fertilizers and related topics.


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Old 07-10-2009, 09:46 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Chemical fertilizers may be based off of natural occuring mineral deposits, but it is the treating of these mineral deposits with harsh acids for extraction, that takes them out of the category of "organic". Natural gardening relies on bacteria, fungus and the whole soil food web as means of supplement. Plants do not take in guano, bonemeal,kelp, etc. etc.. It is the exudes produced by the microbial action that provides the actual food for the plants. I think that is a better distinction on organic vs. inorganic. The harsh extracted minerals are not friendly to our microbial warriors. Which is why we feed the soil, not the plant.
Many of the fertilizers we use are applied directly from minerals. For example, sylvite is the mineral from of Potassium Chloride. Plant available phosphorus is phosphoric acid (occurs naturally in all soils). Phosphoric acid can be simply made from mined phosphate rock and the phosphoric acid can be reacted with phosphate rock to form superphosphate. There is nothing bad about these materials.

Chemical nitrogen fertilizer relies on soil organisms. Urea is an organic compound that is broken down by soil organisms to form ammonium and later nitrate.

Any high concentration of fertilizers regardless of source will change the soil. In the end, plants take the nutrients in the same form.
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:23 PM   #22 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

I think with enough ingenuity we'll be able to get by subsistence gardening and local farms though I think the biggest thing we will have to do to make it work is a regionalization the average diet.

That means someone in Iowa not eating Salmon and Bananas ; but eating a diet rich in free-range bison, dairy, short season crops and grains (hopefully fermented and whole). Someone in Hawaii should really more on tree crops and the sea with meat (other then say goat) and dairy (also from goat) not being a major segment of your food intake.

When we become more realistic with our diets. Take influences from other societies, like using three sisters, permaculture, do-nothing farming; since row cropping is wasteful and only fuels the petroleum consuming machine.
Better localized varieties and less water intensive culitvars where they are suited.

Biochar and mulching are our best bets to a more fruitful system. Terra preta ofcourse never gets exhausted and has lusher plants; mulching the way Mansanobu Fukouka teaches in one-straw revolution and in natural farming can be used in grain production.

We just cannot keep the same methods of farming and slap on some compost as if it will do some great change. We have to do better, or else we go through famines or worse food wars.*



(*Or atleast thats what the survivalist in me thinks)
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:33 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Biochar and mulching are our best bets to a more fruitful system.
To sustain current yields on current acreage, the biochar and mulch would have to be piled 1 meter high -- because the percentage of nutrients is so low. This is not tractable.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:12 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Richard,
Trust this one when i say i realize the proportion of land needed vs. land available to sustain a family, trust me. It is a sad, sad fact in America, of what we have done to this land (which WAS stolen from the NATIVE Americans). Who were respectful stewards, not materialism oriented, before the "settlers" came along. You also have proven my point of the solution to the problems we continue to create. We need overgrowth of PLANTS, the plants are the only things cleaning the air that we continue to pollute excessively, along with water and soil. The solution is easy, its here, but we are too arrogant and stubborn to allow nature to take its course and fix the problems. Because nature is...slow, and would take patience. (But nature WILL kill us if we dont stop, so...)

Anything GREEN, growing, sequestering carbon from the air, giving crisp, pure oxygen back IS THE SOLUTION, along with education.

More development, more concrete, more malls,more gas guzzlers, the throw away society, EMPTY neighborhoods of cookie cutters,etc,etc,etc.... is NOT THE SOLUTION.

But back to the sad state of the nation, I can not afford anything over my pathetic 1/4acre because I am near a concrete jungle. The price of land, once again, is just because we have the greedy individuals. More for them (useless money at that, HA!), at the cost of an arm and leg for me and you... I see much solution to this in the form of vertical gardening... ill go up as far as i want i guess. Or until code enforcement comes..

"Note that even if we were as efficient as the Mennonites, have a longer growing season, and included our mechanization: we don't have the land, water, or economy to use low-percentage nutrients; i.e., "natural" methods."

Now, i do understand your point here, but the problem does not originate with lack of land,water,or economy... it is the fact that so many are cowards not up to facing the fact that unless they are part of the solution, you ARE the problem. If you run around in your SUV,demanding you have a right to feed your 7 person family fruit from Costa Rica while you irrigate your acre of st augustine and azaleas... then im sorry to bust the bubble you must live in, but thats an example of THE PROBLEMS. Do these attitudes display any means of solution?
"Ohhhh yeah we recycle."
Well what about those two trash cans of brush you had the trashman come pick up? tsk tsk... its time we EDUCATE.
If every person would learn how to "almost" sustain their family on what they have, using the waste generated naturally by the cycle of life, there would be no need for "high percentage nutrients". The cycle of life,nature.. leaves us with the waste, which is up to us to use, or it goes to being non-productive for us humans.
Richard, its very obvious that you and I, are worlds apart. I see your points on many of these subject matters, and all I can say to you is that I understand your logic and where you come from. But where we are, and have been is not where we need to "go". Do you feel me?
Because I 110% agree with your concern of sustaining a food supply for the population. (being a diabetic since 6yrs old, i am concerned when there is not a jug of juice in the fridge in case my blood sugar were to become low) Now making sure the population understands we do not even have enough for all who are here, downright scary!

On to the nitty gritty...
High percentage nutrients are very very very detrimental to a "true living organic" system.
A good example in point is phosphorus uptake and fungi. Mycorrhizal is the shizzle... fo rizzle. But if you go and throw a load of phosphorus (natural or not) at a true living organic system w/ the mycor's, you will mess with these guys like no tomorrow. Your P uptake will basically drop off the radar, until the plant starts uptaking the raw P the soil is now laden with. The soil food web is now disturbed and until you balance it back out, one must rely on the use of these processed nutrients (which is NOT a true living organic system). I only speak of this, because it has been studied and I have seen experience firsthand. I am not messing with inorganic vs. organic either, i have made this mistake a long time ago with OMRI bottled nutrients (vegetable based even, at that!). It just goes to prove how delicate of a balance nature hangs on by. (that goes for the phosphoric acid and all the superphosphate too, Turtile.) One of the main things to completely free your mind of in True organic growing is concern of NPK values. These things honestly distract the mind from other more important aspects of your "system". Like i was saying, it is worlds apart... but at least it is still growing of any kind. So cheers.

PermaCKidd- big ups on the biochar and mulching.. most everone has a fireplace and i know i get all the mulch i ever need giving my trees a light yearly haircut. What waste!??

This is also why I insist on no arguing when we talk about these subjects and wish everyone would take the approach of "learning from one another". One small thing I have come to understand may be the answer to a problem you have, and vice versa. So education on all realms is vital.
Hope everyone had a great weekend... it was HOT here.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:30 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Matt,

I agree that high-phosphate fertilizers are irresponsible in most situations. The fact is that they are primarily sold to consumers by a few large companies as a way of disposing of something they would otherwise have to pay to get rid of.

Commercial agriculture for food production largely does not use high concentration phosphate formulas.

In this thread I am not arguing for or against any particular concentration of fertilizer. Instead I have pointed out that the quantity of fertilizer we use on an annual basis for food production will exhaust known supplies about 1/2 way through this century. One way to continue the annual rate of use is to recycle minerals from sewage. Another way would be to use organic plant material, but to sustain the current food production rate this would also mean using at least 4 times the area of land and 4 times the current agricultural water because the organic plant material is lower in concentration of nutrients.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:56 AM   #26 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

A method from Fukouka on a orchard and vegetable garden he had was fertilized mainly by 6y/o trees of the black wattle that are chopped down and buried in ditchs.

They are legumious; fast growing (but peaks at 6 years), drought resistant, frost tolerant, and easily grown. Through a controlled culling a "invasive" species can become the common man's fertilizers.

He also is about growing on 1/4 acres; I'm not advertising but he is the answer that has been applied from Somalia to Japan to Italy. Sadly it hasn't caught on as much as permaculture or it gets swallowed up as a subset.

He had grown this way through trial and error for over 50 years to perfect; but why has no one mentioned green manures, peanuts with banana circles being a classic?
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:14 AM   #27 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Also localizing the sources of fertilizers; maintaining kelp fields for seaweed, using dung beetles for pastures (Who spread manure to the root sources underground saving millions in fertilizers), acacia in the deserts, etc....

I'd think that self-sufficiency would be key when searching for alternatives also local employment or a community run business would be great too.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:18 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

The yields obtained in commercial food crop production are proportional to the quantity of nutrients feed to the crops. If the high-concentration mineral fertilizers are replaced by low concentration "green" fertilizers then (1) either the "green" fertilizers are refined to increase the concentration, or (2) the amount of land and water used is increased by at least 4-fold, and (3) the planet is quickly deforested by harvesting all non-food plants as a nutrient source.

Note that using peanuts as a nutrient source does not come for free: the peanuts themselves also need nutrients to grow.
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:33 AM   #29 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

That is not the case though for the do-nothing; a fully functioning orchard/vegetable garden/forest surviving if not thriving with clover and acacia.

His yields increased every year to a commerical level; on less then 10 acres he was able to sale crates of organic oranges dirt cheap. He was able to get over 22 bushels of rice per 1/4 acre submerging the rice for only a certain season; intermixed with clovers and native plants, weeds and flowers creating a dense network of life and nitrogen. Swapped out with winter rye to add even more nitrogen; a slow process but a successful one. Ducks were le

The belief that there is but one way is false; its a poor mouse who only has one hole to go to.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:20 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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That is not the case though for the do-nothing; a fully functioning orchard/vegetable garden/forest surviving if not thriving with clover and acacia.

His yields increased every year to a commerical level; on less then 10 acres he was able to sale crates of organic oranges dirt cheap. He was able to get over 22 bushels of rice per 1/4 acre submerging the rice for only a certain season; intermixed with clovers and native plants, weeds and flowers creating a dense network of life and nitrogen. Swapped out with winter rye to add even more nitrogen; a slow process but a successful one. Ducks were le

The belief that there is but one way is false; its a poor mouse who only has one hole to go to.
Lee, there are plenty of farms which function as you describe on a commercial level. However, their output per acre is 1/4th to 1/10th that of those which utilize mineral-based fertilizers. Further, their total output is insignificant compared to the millions of acres using mineral fertilizers.

Again, the subject of this thread is how to cope when the stream of mineral fertilizers run out. If you propose to use the methods described above, please indicate where the additional 4- to 10-fold acreage and water will come from.

Calling me a mouse might be more appropriate than you think! The pecking order in my house is (1) my wife's dog (2) my wife (3) my daughters (4) the cat, and finally (5) me.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:00 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Using plants that have symbiotic relationships with nitrogen fixing bacteria is very common. The price of the seed is right with the price of buying nitrogen fertilizer.

With our population, we can not put the earth back into a period where nutrients remain mostly stable. Once agriculture began, it allowed us to exceed the carrying capacity of the land. We are so far passed that limit that there is no going back.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:49 PM   #32 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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He was able to get over 22 bushels of rice per 1/4 acre submerging the rice for only a certain season.
Doing the math, that is 88 bushels per acre. A commercial plot using those spawn of Satan chemical fertilizers should produce twice that. Sometimes over 200 bushels an acre. Are we going to mow down some more rain forest to double or triple our cropland? I wonder if I should invest in chainsaws or kerosene and matches?
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:30 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Doing the math, that is 88 bushels per acre. A commercial plot using those spawn of Satan chemical fertilizers should produce twice that. Sometimes over 200 bushels an acre. Are we going to mow down some more rain forest to double or triple our cropland? I wonder if I should invest in chainsaws or kerosene and matches?
LOL ..or maybe we should gather up the people who drive SUV's and force them to sell their land and cars in order to produce more crops!

Sorry, I couldn't resist. This thread has gone off topic wayyyy too many times, but to comment on the SUV issue...The people who drive the SUV's should never hold the blame because they DO have the right to drive whatever they like. The blame should fall on the automaking industry for not producing more efficient vehicles. The secret that oil will not last forever has been out the bag for quite a while.

Hopefully all cars will run on an alternative fuel source within my lifetime. Once we do convert to a society that does not depend on oil to commute, one could drive around a cement truck if they like. Agreed?



As for the "terra negra" argument.. keep in mind that they had to sustain a population much smaller than our current one. There are more people living in New York city alone.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:58 PM   #34 (permalink)
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... or maybe we should gather up the people who drive SUV's and force them ...
Mario, you and I came to the same conclusion: unbridled laughter!
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:01 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Mario, you and I came to the same conclusion: unbridled laughter!


I think it's really simple. Stick to your personal beliefs without imposing them on others. If you feel organic gardening is the way to go...practice it in your home. If you feel driving an SUV hurts the planet, don't drive one.

Now...back to the subject:

If everyone in the U.S. would take the time to get their hands dirty(organic or not), we wouldn't need to rely so much on commercially produced goods. Granted, we will always need to go to the grocer, but our personal consumption of commercial produce will be reduced. If there is less demand, there will eventually be less supply produced, thereby reducing the need for more farm land and reducing the amount of fertilizer needed. Unfortunately, this would also mean a loss of jobs.

Either way, this is not very realistic.. what about the people who don't own property?.. what about those that live in condos? When discussing positive/negative effects on large populations, nothing is ever black and white.

No matter what the future holds, I think it's obvious that we cannot sustain current population levels doing everything the green way. Organic gardening produces less fruit and veggies per sq. ft. The fruit and veggies also seem to be a smaller size when compared to some of the mammoths produced by other means. Im all for processing sewage for fertilizer if that is what we need to do... but, aren't some companies doing that already?
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:28 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Im all for processing sewage for fertilizer if that is what we need to do... but, aren't some companies doing that already?
Yes. Presently the cost of mineral sources for most nutrients is far cheaper than sewage sources.

By the way, the vast majority of soap products on the market have base compounds that are recycled from sewage. Capthof can verify about Jean Na'poo ...
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:55 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Chemical nitrogen fertilizer relies on soil organisms.
Turtile did you catch my incorrectness? Because i would love you to explain your statement and i will clarify my tongue-in-cheek as well. Thanks.

So why I am busy this week, lets all give the soil food web some study and Dr. Elaine Ingham some overdue credit.

The answers I have given the hint to, are the solution to "the future of fertilizer". Better would be "the future of the soil microbiology and soil food web".

Fertilizer is now just the F-word. We need to do away with a conventional mindset, because a closed mind has no room to expand and learn.

And these questions about yeild and quality or quantity are sadly being destroyed by studies on compost tea.
It is the things we do not have the privilege of being able to see that have some of the largest impact on our lives. Gotta love them microbes.

Got a nice book this past weekend, now need some reading time. One Straw Revolution, thanks Permakid!
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:52 PM   #38 (permalink)
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And these questions about yeild and quality or quantity are sadly being destroyed by studies on compost tea.
Nope. Compost tea enables uptake if the minerals are present in the soil. After 7 years (or less) non-native plants will exhaust the mineral supply.

Further, the yield per acre is proportional to the quantity of mineral input. Compost tea hardly registers on that scale.

I find your remarks about a closed mind highly insulting. They are without merit.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:29 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Fertilizer is now just the F-word. We need to do away with a conventional mindset, because a closed mind has no room to expand and learn.
I agree with Richard. OrganicBananac, it seems as though the only closed minded person in this discussion...is you.

We don't agree with you 100%, so therefore, we must be closed minded. Mind you, we've both stated that growing things as green as possible in ones own home is great, it's just not commercially feasible. The latter part of that last sentence is a FACT, not an opinion. We cannot feed the world by growing things without chemicals for insect control, nutrition, and disease maintenance.

I don't mind disagreements, but people who feel the need to impose their correctness on others get under my skin. (i.e. Religious fanatics, and many other groups that I won't mention). There is no correct or incorrect when we are discussing ones opinion. Period.
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:00 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Quote:
Originally Posted by supermario View Post
we've both stated that growing things as green as possible in ones own home is great, it's just not commercially feasible. The latter part of that last sentence is a FACT, not an opinion. We cannot feed the world by growing things without chemicals for insect control, nutrition, and disease maintenance.
Not a fact at all. Comercially feasable and being able to feed the worlds population are two different things. I can go to Vons, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and just about any other place bananas are sold and find Organic Bananas.
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