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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 08-11-2009, 07:05 AM   #61 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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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.
Wow! you have found the solution! Add organic matter and then add chemical fertilizer to kill all the bacteria and the organic matter will last forever and prevent soil compaction! (not really!)

If you add both chemical fertilizer and organic matter (like I do) then why does the organic matter disappear if all the bacteria is killed. I add wheelbarrow loads of organic matter to my garden every year, if the chemical fertilizer killed all the bacteria, my garden should be over a foot deep in pure compost, but for some reason it is not.

I gather all of the organic matter from my home as well as that of my neighbor (pine straw, oak leaves, grass clippings) and apply it to a very small portion of my yard (the garden and a few bananas and shrubs). My small garden grows great in soil that would otherwise be almost pure sand (if you compare it to surrounding natural areas and my other neighbor that does nothing to his yard.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:48 AM   #62 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

The blood meal fertilizer idea would not work. It wouldn't work because you would need more water, more cows, more land, and more workers to go and prick the cows throughout their lives..You would need to purchase medical supplies and sanitation equipment..Apply for new permits..You would need to run a schedule and catalog each cow and when the blood was taken.. and much much more. Oh, and good luck with the PETA nuts when you explain you want to extract blood from cows throughout their lives and THEN send them to the slaughterhouse.

In summary, I don't think the future of fertilizer is blood meal, bone meal, and worm poop because it is not possible on a countrywide, much less worldwide scale. Orgainic farming is not cost friendly and this is reflected in the price you pay for organic goods. Organic produce is only an option for those who can afford it. There are starving people out there and BELIEVE ME, they won't be choosy about where the food comes from.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:49 AM   #63 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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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.
Matt, you have over-generalized. What you say is true about a select group of mineral fertilizers, but not the majority of water-solubles. The casual reader should also note that the composition of table salt is very different from buffered, acidic salts with chelated micronutrients and active biology used in several brands of agricultural water solubles.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:09 AM   #64 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

I don't understand the dicotomy here; its like some are completely against "organic" of any kind and some are anti-fertilizer without any real middle ground (which for me makes me want to shift my position to fill that space)

I do believe that a compost/mulch/manure/covercrop system of doing things is healthiest for the soil; if the crop starts to seem to lag and I needed to feed large amounts of people I would devulge and feed the plants instead of feeding soil for a bigger harvest.


I am not about 50/50, 75/25, or even 90/10 when it comes to using "organic" fertilizers to "artificial" fertilizers; I'm just about giving one or two time boost doing the season if for whatever reason a crop could be in jepardy of failing. (Again this is a scenerio of feeding dozens or hundreds of people in a non-tree crop situation)
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:19 AM   #65 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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I don't understand the dicotomy here; its like some are completely against "organic" of any kind ...
The rejection is with the term, not the approach. "Organic" is so ambiguous it is vacuous.

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... I'm just about giving one or two time boost doing the season if for whatever reason a crop could be in jeopardy of failing.
Commercially, row crops are fertilized through the irrigation system with a quantity equivalent to a one time application, or simply a one-time application via foliar spray:

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Old 08-11-2009, 11:05 AM   #66 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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I don't understand the dicotomy here; its like some are completely against "organic" of any kind and some are anti-fertilizer without any real middle ground (which for me makes me want to shift my position to fill that space)

I do believe that a compost/mulch/manure/covercrop system of doing things is healthiest for the soil; if the crop starts to seem to lag and I needed to feed large amounts of people I would devulge and feed the plants instead of feeding soil for a bigger harvest.


I am not about 50/50, 75/25, or even 90/10 when it comes to using "organic" fertilizers to "artificial" fertilizers; I'm just about giving one or two time boost doing the season if for whatever reason a crop could be in jepardy of failing. (Again this is a scenerio of feeding dozens or hundreds of people in a non-tree crop situation)
I think there are several here that have advocated both (use of organic materials and commercial fertilizers)--that is the best system--there are a few here that seem to think that anything other than "organic" is unhealthy or bad for the environment--that is just not so.

The use of commercial fertilizers alone in a crop field with no attention to soil building (winter or cover crops plowed in for tonnage) will result in a diminished capicity of the land to support crops because it will deplete the organic matter by enhancing microbial degredation of the crop residue and organic matter in the soil.

There are many types of bacteria and fungi in soil, some will dominate when nutrients are low, others will dominate and grow faster when nutrients are higher--the same goes for many other factors--pH, ionic strength, and presence or lack of various minerals.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:04 PM   #67 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

You chemical advocates seem to forget that your soils have little holding capacity, because your nutrients, or minerals or whatever you wish to label them as, are soluble in water... THEY WASH AWAY. Which is also why they (chems) are horrible for the ecosystem, that water ALWAYS goes somewhere. The reason organic matter "seems" to be disappearing is because after a lot of rain, the majority of the "nutes" are washed down yonder... a long with a LOT of organic matter. Now when all the soluble fertilizer is washed away, it is now a steril environment with the abscense of salts, so it CAN allow microbial action to live and establish itself again. This consumes organic matter..... till another dose of those nutes(salts,concentrated minerals,ferts,miracle grow, etc. etc..) are thrown down, because, the prior nutrients were leached away. (See how this is a wasteful cycle...)

You may be asking yourself how steril ground was able to become populated again with microbial growth? This is easy, its due to the direct activity of nature, the simplest thing such as a bird landing in rich old growth forest soil who flies to your field will have just brought a whole load of bacteria and fungi on its feet. Activities like this contribute, but a major player in this "web" is actually produced by the plants themselves.
Key Point------>
The roots of plants actually produce a substance known as exudates, these exudates act as an attractant to bacteria and fungi, which come to feed on the exudates and dead roots that are sloughed off as the roots grow. (like skin cells shedding) Plants can specifically attract the type of microbial growth that is the most beneficial to that plant. Did you realize that many types of plants prefer soil that is more fungal, or more bacterial? It is determined by the plant and the plant has the ability to cater to its own desire. Amazing huh?

Sbl,
Do some research into what "nutrient cycling" is, you are on target with your last paragraph. This type of rollercoaster of change is what allows what is needed, to be provided to the plant, when the plant needs it.

Richard,
Based on scientific research, I am correct. Did you know that chloramine in tap water can have a GIANT negative effect on the microbial population? BTW, a salt is a salt (we are not talking chemical compounds making "salt"). It is the osmotic action of salt that pulls water out, like the slug example, that is detrimental to the microbial population.
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:08 PM   #68 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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You chemical advocates seem to forget that your soils have little holding capacity, because your nutrients, or minerals or whatever you wish to label them as, are soluble in water...
Matt, please introduce yourself to the group by creating a thread here: Member Introductions, Social Announcements & Good Wishes - Bananas.org
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:04 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Thanks, but no thanks. I am just fine as is... carry on.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:32 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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I don't understand the dicotomy here; its like some are completely against "organic" of any kind and some are anti-fertilizer without any real middle ground (which for me makes me want to shift my position to fill that space)
I do believe that a compost/mulch/manure/covercrop system of doing things is healthiest for the soil; if the crop starts to seem to lag and I needed to feed large amounts of people I would devulge and feed the plants instead of feeding soil for a bigger harvest.
I am not about 50/50, 75/25, or even 90/10 when it comes to using "organic" fertilizers to "artificial" fertilizers; I'm just about giving one or two time boost doing the season if for whatever reason a crop could be in jepardy of failing. (Again this is a scenerio of feeding dozens or hundreds of people in a non-tree crop situation)
I've stated before that I do a combination of both, so I can't help but feel as though part of this comment is directed at me.

If you say you are right in the middle, then I am there with you. I like the fertilizer I buy because it is cheap and it does not have an "artificial" smell to it. As I stated earlier, the fertilizer company I purchase my fertilizer from claims it's product is 50/50, I simply trust they are telling the truth. It could be made from motor oil and corn syrup for all I know, but my plants have produced and grown VERY well, so I won't fix what isn't broken.
If my 20+ fruit trees were showing signs of decline, I'd look to other sources. As with everything I purchase, I look for the most I can get for the money. Example: I'd rather have a fully loaded chevy camaro than a bottom of the line mercedes benz. Of course, that is my personal opinon.

Now, I do grow veggies using nothing but home-made compost and water. Again, this is only because it is cost friendly for me since I am only producing on a tiny scale(enough for 2). The excess fruits are given away to family members or dried/canned for future use.

So, if I were to "label" myself in terms of how I garden..I'd say 50/50 simply because I purchase fertilizer (w/ chems?) for my trees, and homemade stuff for my veggies.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:30 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:21 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

If salt kills soil microbes, then we don't have any--mother nature supplies enough sea salt here to kill foilage on trees and corrode metal. But wait, maybe it is not the presence of salt but the concentration and the fact that salt get washed away by the more than 5 ft of rain we get each yr. Nothing last long in the soil in this environment.

In addition to bananas, and veggy gardens, I have citrus trees--use of mulch on my citrus trees killed several before I found out that the mulch was promoting fungus that killed the trees. Now I have a bumper crop on my citrus tree--since they have been fed only commercial fertilizer--once a month from Feb to Sept.

There are soil microbes that fix nitrogen (inside nodules of plants), but there are also microbes in soil that remove nitrogen (convert it back to N2)--these denitrifying bacteria use nitrate as a source of oxygen (electron acceptors) when soil oxygen is low--typically in organic muck soils.

There are also nitrogen fixing algae--the use of these algae were one of the techniques used centuries ago by European farmers as a source of fertilizer. However, the Haber-Bosch method generates fixed N much more easily and in a more portable form. Plants do not care whether the N came from soil microbes, algae or the Haber-Bosch process--they just need it in the form that they can use (like ammonia or nitrate).
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:28 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

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Did you know that chloramine in tap water can have a GIANT negative effect on the microbial population?
Isn't that the reason we add it to the water in the first place? Ain't cause the stuff smells or tastes good.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:47 PM   #74 (permalink)
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... But wait, maybe it is not the presence of salt but the concentration ...
Perzactly.

Osmotic pressure (inverse of Water potential) AKA slug killing power, is determined by the molarity of the solution. In plain English -- how *many* ions/atoms of stuff is dissolved in the water. Doesn't matter one iota *what* stuff is dissolved in the water. (Ak-ing that ionic compounds provide 2 or more ions per molecule as compared to a covalent compound.)

Don't they do those semi-permeable membranes in middle school science anymore? Lotta people around here act like they slept through science class.

OK. Enough of middle school chem. Get enough religious wars on TV, don't need to watch any more here. I'm gone.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:24 PM   #75 (permalink)
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Isn't that the reason we add it to the water in the first place? Ain't cause the stuff smells or tastes good.
You sir are correct. This is also the same reason it is not a good idea when dealing with microbes. Thank you.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:42 PM   #76 (permalink)
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OK. Enough of middle school chem. Get enough religious wars on TV, don't need to watch any more here. I'm gone.
You're right--some people will never get it--I'm with you--gone.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:43 PM   #77 (permalink)
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You chemical advocates seem to forget that your soils have little holding capacity, because your nutrients, or minerals or whatever you wish to label them as, are soluble in water... THEY WASH AWAY.
??? They are already dissolved in water. The plants absorb them directly. After 3 weeks there is no residual in the soil. Typical dosage is 100 parts per million.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:09 AM   #78 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

Lest it has been lost on newer readers ... this thread is about how the present food supply for the planet can be sustained if and when the present mineral sources are exhausted. Part of the problem is that the planet as a whole has become dependent upon high crop yields per acre made possible by the use of mineral-source fertilizers with chelated micronutrients and soil biotics. Since the amount of available farm land and irrigation water is also reaching its maximum, the needs cannot be met by using less nutrients and more land/water resources. The proposed solution by the fertilizer industry is to make municipal sewage systems their major source of minerals (currently it is a minor source). This is appealing because it captures the nutrients that were used to grow the plants in the first place.

Here is an example why "organic farming" is not viable for the scenario of the world food supply:
One of my colleagues (and client) is operates a small farming concern in the central valley of California. Among other things, he has a 2,000 acre plot of produce grown in a very healthy soil and supplemented with water-soluble fertilizers, plus an adjacent 5,000 acres of the same produce crop but grown according to California Certified Organic standards. On an annual basis, the 5,000 certified organic acreage produces almost half of what the mineral-fed 2,000 acres achieves. His certified organic results are considered exemplary -- especially since his "standard" acreage is some of the most efficient in the industry.
So as you can see, switching from mineral sources to methods and materials used in certified organic farming is not a solution for the current food demand, because 5 times the land and water is not available.

I would be interested to hear of alternatives to the proposed sewage retrieval method. However, please do some homework so that we can all see that it is a viable alternative.
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Old 08-12-2009, 05:46 AM   #79 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Future of Fertilizer

I've seen a post on another forum that states NPK values for kitchen scraps(coffee grinds, egg shells, citrus peels, banana peels, etc) According to that literature, There are huge amounts of potassium in the citrus and banana peels, calcium in egg shells, nitrogen in coffe grinds, etc etc.

This may be a silly question since I was one of the ones who slept through chemistry....but would it be possible to extract the necessary nutrients and process them into granular form? If so, I suppose the restaurant industry combined with responsible homeowners could provide the necessary amount of organic waste in a type of recycling program.

Sbl- Lucky you! Citrus are a headache to grow down here because of all the humidity. I had 7 citrus trees at one point, but am now down to 2 thanks to 'Citrus Greening'. FL is currently in danger of losing it's citrus industry!
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:27 AM   #80 (permalink)
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I've seen a post on another forum that states NPK values for kitchen scraps(coffee grinds, egg shells, citrus peels, banana peels, etc) According to that literature, There are huge amounts of potassium in the citrus and banana peels, calcium in egg shells, nitrogen in coffe grinds, etc etc.
For plant material, the highest percentage of nitrogen found is in Castor Bean Meal and Neem Seed Meal (5%), and the highest percentage of potassium is in Corn Cob and Banana Stalk (50%) -- provided these plants have been fed with significant amounts of these nutrients; i.e., minerals.

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This may be a silly question since I was one of the ones who slept through chemistry....but would it be possible to extract the necessary nutrients and process them into granular form?
You need to dry them -- a compost pile works great. However, the density (weight per volume) is very low so large quantities are needed per plant to supply a significant amount of nutrients. Note that the coffee grounds you mention are very acidic: the number two plant problem brought into retail nurseries are potted plants killed with coffee grounds.

Also, I would not grow these plants for the purpose of generating nutrients for other plants, because you need to would need to feed them mineral-based fertilizers to obtain the desired percentages! It is far more cost effective and environmentally friendly to feed the target plants with responsible mineral-based fertilizers in the first place.
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