[NAFEX] Organic Silica Source(Tips for greenhouse)

Dylan Ford dford at suffolk.lib.ny.us
Wed May 2 12:37:54 EDT 2007

mIEKAL - The following is snipped from a post I made a while back (Boron and
other things). It describes one farmer's solution to the Organic Silica
question. I would be very cautious in using it on potted plants.  dylan

> I. Silica - The Forgotten Nutrient
>           As I understand it from reading many of his (Hugh Lovel's)
postings, the farmer
> must perform a delicate balancing act to get sufficient silica up into his
> plants, and any recklessness in this pursuit can lead to tragedy.
>           Silica is ubiquitous in the environment, but is not sufficiently
> available to plants absent trace amounts of boron to increase its
> Boron easily rinses from soils where there is insufficient "sequestered
> carbon" to grip it.
>           The enlightened grower's conundrum is that naked boron, even in
> tiny amounts, can be toxic to the plants and also to ants and other
> indispensible insects that perform vital functions in the soil, so it must
> be used extremely sparingly and always be applied with generous buffers of
> protective humates such as humic or fulvic acid, or at very least
> wormcasting- or compost-tea (and even added sugar), to temporarily bind it
> up.
>           Mr. Lovel further asserts that potassium silicate -  an
> product manufactured (with trace boron) for use in terra-cotta glazes, if
> mixed with soluble humate could be a valuable form of amorphous fluid
> for the grower, but (though it could do no harm, he maintains) is not yet
> permitted for agricultural use under current Organic Standards.         He
> therefore offers an alternative home-brewed solution which I tried with
> first-rate results. Mr. Lovel writes,
>           "Here's a recipe. You can use rice hulls (not bran) or bamboo.
> Burn these to ash. The ashes will be rich in potassium silicate. Cook this
> ash at the rate of 2 or 3 kilos to a 20 litre pot [of water] to make a lye
> solution that will be rich in potassium silicate rather than sodium.
> this, and while still simmering add a kilo of diatomaceous earth that is
> finely ground as possible. This will be rich in amorphous fluid silica.
> add a half cup of soluble boron such as disodium octaborate tetrahydrate,
> otherwise known as Solubor. Simmer this at least twenty minutes with
> stirring, and strain.
>           You will have a solution that will be fairly rich in potassium
> silicate. Add this to your earthworm leachate [or better, soluble humates]
> at a rate of a full cup for every four litres. Water all squash, cukes,
> zukes, capsicums, okra and anything else that may be susceptible to
> too lush, weak, bug-bitten or diseased. For tomatoes double this rate and
> use two cups per four litres. These are all natural materials except
> possibly Solubor, which is permissible in most organic certification
> programs."
> (A Hugh Lovel cautionary note: boron creates sap pressure in plants, and
> young seedlings do not have a large enough vascular system to handle the
> pressures that are beneficial in their later growth. Get plants up and
> running before being too generous with boron.)


>           Hugh Lovel has a great many more informed insights and
> opinions to share with open-minded growers, some of which I "get" and some
> of which I don't (yet), but the silica - boron - humate trinity is one
> added an important new preventive concept to my plant-health and
> toolbox.

> Dylan Ford is the author of the proposal at www.ideaforpresident.com , a
> website devoted to an idea that could provide an avenue to address
> issues, food safety, social justice, prison reform and healthcare.

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