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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 07-30-2009, 02:11 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Originally Posted by momoese View Post
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.

My use of the term "commercially feasible" was indeed incorrect in that sense. There are plenty of independent growers of "organic" fruits and vegetables. What I meant was.. IF we were to try and begin producing ALL(the U.S.) of our food by "organic" means.. it would not work because we would need more land than we have available. That was stated earlier in this thread.

The reason I put "organic" in quotes is because I have read that the term can be applied to lots of products that are not 100% organic. From my understanding, a company has to meet a small set of requirements to be labeled as "organic". To achieve "certified organic" staus is a more costly procedure.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:30 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

This was a hot topic of conversation in one of my master's classes on food policies. And while producing things locally is a great idea, it actually can be very inefficient. Iowa is a great place to grow corn, South Florida is a great place to grow sugarcane, and Costa Rica is a great place to grow bananas. Also, small farms typically mean more farmers and thinking more about what you are going to eat and frankly the CPA from Miami is best as a CPA, not a farmer. Furthermore, manure/compost/legumes is not the be all end all of soil fertility. In its native state, the soil that I grow on is incredibly rich in nitrogen and calcium but deficient in micronutrients, phosphorus, and potasium. Since the ultimate goal of fertilization is to meet plant needs with the fertilizer applied you would be overapplying nitrogen if you dared to put it on my soil, with the addition of copper, boron, manganese, phosphorus and potash the soil magically becomes some of the most fertile soil in the entire world.

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Originally Posted by permaculturekidd View Post
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 08-01-2009, 04:00 AM   #43 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Could this be used as an alternative ?
Permaculture discussion forum • View topic - Mollison's third world endless nitrogen fertilizer supply

Seems pretty interesting but my extremely limited knowledge of chemistry still has me having trouble putting 2 and 2 together seeing as I thought an over abundance of macronutrients followed by the negligence or absence of micronutrients create low-quality food. Still it seems like its in the right direction.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:21 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Originally Posted by permaculturekidd View Post
To summarize the issue at hand:
  1. The world food supply is dependent upon high concentration mineral fertilizers, with one of the main ingredients being potassium nitrate. The current yields obtained per acre in commercial agriculture depend upon applying significant amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and depending upon the location, other mineral nutrients including calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, etc.
  2. At the present rate of consumption, the current sources of these minerals will run out in 4 to 6 decades.
  3. Switching to plant and biological sources for these minerals is very costly because (a) the concentrations are low and (b) the costs of refinement are very high
  4. Using plant sources alone is not viable because we would strip the planet of vegetation in short order
  5. Recapturing the nutrients from sewage is viable because (a) the refinement costs are acceptable and (b) it is a steady supply.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:49 PM   #45 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

I vote for the sewer supply because I'm already in that business.
I have seen first hand how fast plants can grow in sewer sludge alone, although the health departments frown anytime a little residual waste hits the ground, the truth is, it is great fertilizer. A friend of mine saved tens of thousands of dollars every year using "cake" from the local sewer plants on his cattle ranch until they stopped him from spreading. But the truth be known; Follow the Dollar, every one wants a hand in it. Hahaha! The DEP wants to regulate it, the fertilizer companies see it as a renewable resource, I see it as a job opportunity.
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Old 08-01-2009, 02:34 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Look at what's in the news today!

http://home.aol.com/gardening/lawns/lead-found-in-white-house-veggie-garden?icid=main|htmlws-main|dl3|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fhome.aol.com%2Fgardening%2Flawns%2Fl ead-found-in-white-house-veggie-garden
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Old 08-01-2009, 02:58 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

What the article (Lead in White House Veggie Garden) states is very true. It is also true that chemically refined sewage can have negligible heavy metal content -- excepting what's playing on the engineer's iPod. It all depends on the manufacturer.
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Old 08-01-2009, 03:25 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

I'm a little late joining this discussion, but if I remember correctly, when you do a worldwide balance of known sources of fixed N, fixation by plants (i.e. legumes) accounts for a very significant percentage--40% seems to be the ballpark I am remembering. I think that is about the same as the percentage that is man-made. There is also a significant amount of fixed N created in thunderstorms by heat and electricity-- similar to the process used to make man-made fertilizer.
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Old 08-01-2009, 03:38 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

I did some searching on the web and found this slide show of the Global N budget and all the problems associated with it--It is pretty good.

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/s...em_presntn.pdf
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:54 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Was having lunch at a Ghengis Grill the other day and had a talk about blood letting. Seems in times of little or no food, for energy the warriors of Ghengis Khan would cut into a vein on their animal for some blood to provide nourishment. Sounds painful, but this does not negatively affect the animal, much like blood banks do not harm humans in collecting blood. The subject was, on a large farm with a quite large population of animals (we will use cattle as our example), by rotating the blood letting thru the whole population, a rather large amount of blood could be collected. This blood could then be dried and used a blood meal, a VERY strong nitrogen source. The beauty is, the supply of nitrogen will not be depleted. You are collecting small amounts(well, relatively small), but doing this TONS of times. By the time the first animal is ready for the second "letting", enough time will have passed that the blood is completely replaced and the animal is ready again.
Basically by using the population on the farm, you are creating a nitrogen source that is free and replenishable.
Has anyone ever heard of this type of technique being used? Seems feasible.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:05 PM   #51 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Since this thread is about commercial agricultural fertilizer supply, it is worth looking at commercial supply sources for blood meal. At present, it is collected from slaughter houses. It does meet all the requirements for certified organic farming, however some organic farming organizations reject it because of the synthetic animal hormone and antibiotic content in the farm animals' blood.

Blood meal is usually 10% available nitrogen. Since mineral sources are typically double that concentration, if blood meal were used as a sole replacement for mineral sources we would need double the present annual tonnage of minerals. I do not know the present annual tonnage of blood meal production, but it is certainly interesting to pursue.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:13 PM   #52 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

This idea is strictly for "living soil" operating farms with large populations of animals. Hence, what is on the farm, would never leave the farm and contribute to one less item that requires outside sources. The majority of farms operating in this sense already are opposed to rBGH and antibiotics, LUCKILY!

Just a reminder, in a living soil system, the value of NPK is of very little value. Nutrient cycling is the endless rollercoaster of availability which provides what the plants need, when the plants need it. This is the work that we as humans can not do and must do our best to not "kill" the soil which holds all our wonderful workers, the soil food web.
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Last edited by OrganicBananac : 08-10-2009 at 03:27 PM. Reason: needed a reminder.
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:11 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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This idea is strictly for "living soil" operating farms with large populations of animals. Hence, what is on the farm, would never leave the farm and contribute to one less item that requires outside sources. The majority of farms operating in this sense already are opposed to rBGH and antibiotics, LUCKILY!
Just a reminder, this thread is about the future of fertilizer for sustaining the current worldwide commercial agricultural output. As noted in posts below, the scenario you mention cannot be scaled to that level of output.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:22 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Basically by using the population on the farm, you are creating a nitrogen source that is free and replenishable.
Has anyone ever heard of this type of technique being used? Seems feasible.
The nitrogen came from what the animal ate. It is not free.

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This idea is strictly for "living soil" operating farms with large populations of animals. Hence, what is on the farm, would never leave the farm and contribute to one less item that requires outside sources. The majority of farms operating in this sense already are opposed to rBGH and antibiotics, LUCKILY!

Just a reminder, in a living soil system, the value of NPK is of very little value. Nutrient cycling is the endless rollercoaster of availability which provides what the plants need, when the plants need it. This is the work that we as humans can not do and must do our best to not "kill" the soil which holds all our wonderful workers, the soil food web.
Are you saying that the animals will never leave the farm? If you remove an animal, you remove the nutrients. They will not be replenished.
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:24 PM   #55 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Some people seem to have the idea that "chemical" fertilizers kill soil bacteria--nothing could be farther from the truth--bacteria need N, P and K as well as trace mineral just like plants though in different ratios.

During the cleanup of the Valdeze oil spill, scientist harnessed the power of bacteria to eat crude oil simply by spraying fertilizer on the oily rocks. Bacteria normally do not eat oil because it has no nutrients (N,P &K)--bacteria get their energy from doing the exact opposite of plants--converting organic carbon back to carbon dioxide, but they have to have Nutrients to grow and divide--by adding fertilizer to the oily rocks bacteria had everything they needed--organic carbon for energy and Nutrients for growth--a few weeks later the rocks were white where the fertilizer was sprayed--black and oily where it was not sprayed.

Soil works the same way--bacteria in soil will consume left over organic matter for energy, but in many cases cannot do that because there is no nutrient for growth. The downside of adding fertilizer is that it does help bacteria grow and consume the organic matter--then they die because there is no more food for energy--that is what leads to soil compaction.

You can see this wherever you have a soil profile like a new cut bank on the side of the road--ever notice the layers in a bank where soil has been deposited by erosion--there should be tons of organic matter--leaves and tree roots burried over time--, but unless the bank was a wetland where oxygen was excluded, bacteria over time will consume all of the organic matter as small amounts of nutrients are carried down by water--nutrients needed to consume low nutrient organic matter and convert it back to CO2.

Adding organic matter to the soil help improve the condition of the soil, the aeration, drainage ect, unfortunately adding fertilizer will help bacteria remove that organic matter, but it will still help plant growth.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:45 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

As noted (now),
Even at current rate of production, well over a billion people in the world are hungry, and America is obese. Moving on...
Richard,
One small farm working in balance with nature can not solve the worlds hunger problem, but all farms working harmoniously with nature all over the world can .
Turtile,
I am saying when a cow's life ends, a new one should have already began.

Sbl,
Where do i begin...
Only a few bacteria, known as chemosynthesizers, derive their energy from sulfur,nitrogen,and iron. All other bacteria have to consume something containing carbon in order to get their energy for survival. Period.
Yes, as proven by science, chemical fertilizers(salts) DO kill bacteria, along with fungi,protozoa and nematodes. It sucks the water out of them, like salt on a slug.
The compaction in soil is caused by the destruction of the soil food web, it no longer has the network of life, the network "collapsed", if you will.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:53 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Richard,
One small farm working in balance with nature can not solve the worlds hunger problem, but all farms working harmoniously with nature all over the world can .
Sorry, that's not true for the method you are advocating. As noted below, it would require 4 to 5 times the current square miles in production, and that multiple of additional water, too.

Other than that, I have nothing against the approach. If you wish to discuss it for the scenario of self-sufficient farming, please start a new thread.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:14 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Mycorrhizal fungi can have a positive effect on yield and is just a piece of the puzzle in the soil food web. Evidence @ Mycorrhizal Applications - Nature's Good Fungi Increase Crop Yields
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:37 PM   #59 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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I am saying when a cow's life ends, a new one should have already began.
Which makes nutrients appear in what way?

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Mycorrhizal fungi can have a positive effect on yield and is just a piece of the puzzle in the soil food web. Evidence @ Mycorrhizal Applications - Nature's Good Fungi Increase Crop Yields
Of course mycorrhizae can help plants. Don't believe that it can increase yields like it says in that article. They are trying to sell mycorrhizae. Look elsewhere for facts.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:04 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Mycorrhizal fungi can have a positive effect on yield and is just a piece of the puzzle in the soil food web.
True. It has been used in commercial agriculture (especially row crops) for decades. In California, I doubt that any commercial farm is without it.
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