[permaculture] Humus

Dieter Brand diebrand at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 16 04:44:45 EST 2011


The reason I ask is that I’m interested in the question of whether there is any qualitative difference in soil or in the plants growing in that soil depending on whether the soil is fed with organic matter from an animal or from a plant source.  But the issue is probably more or less academic because, even if we don’t use animal manure, most plant materials are broken down by soil organisms including earthworms, microbes and many others.  Therefore, it is probably impossible in real-life soil to find any plant material that has not gone through an animal organism.

Cheers,
Dieter


--- On Tue, 11/15/11, John D'hondt <dhondt at eircom.net> wrote:

> From: John D'hondt <dhondt at eircom.net>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Humus
> To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 7:44 PM
> 
> Sorry Dieter,
> 
> The only reference I have at hand would be from Odums,
> "Fundamentals of 
> ecology" a book that is never far from my hand. As Lawrence
> knows, I am very 
> bad in keeping track of everything I read otherwise. I
> spend an hour or two 
> on the PC every day during which time I read hundreds of
> pages. I simply 
> can't keep track of sources for that would mean keeping
> many megabytes every 
> day.
> I tend to remember ideas but forget about autor's names or
> where they wrote 
> it.
> As I said I did some little bit of work on humus in another
> life and found 
> that Odum was correct in stating that it does not matter
> much which 
> vegetable feedstock is used in humus production. Of course
> the mineral 
> content will differ but the general shape and form of the
> humic acid 
> molecules is the same.
> As to animal manures, I definitely remember articles by
> archeologists who 
> excavated medieval middens and found proof of which animals
> were being kept 
> from the chemical analysis of the black stuff in the pits.
> In one case pigs 
> and in another site sheep. To find out more archeological
> articles are where 
> to look. Can't say more for my memory is not that good.
> John
> 
> > -- On Mon, 11/14/11, John D'hondt <dhondt at eircom.net>
> wrote:
> >> It is almost impossible to find out afterwards
> whether broccoli
> >> heads or rice bran was used in humus production.
> >> In contrast, when animal manures are included it
> is still
> >> possible even after a hundred years (and often
> much more) to
> >> determine exactly which animal contributed to the
> fertility.
> >
> > Do you have any reference for this?
> >
> > Dieter
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