[NAFEX] Organic Silica Source(Tips for greenhouse)

K Q kumquat at operamail.com
Thu May 3 11:34:53 EDT 2007


Can you speculate a little for me? If I wanted to hand water my 'maters say once every week or two with trace amounts of boron derived from Twenty Mule team washing borax, How would I go about it? Dissolve a cup of Borax in 5 gallons of water, then only use a cup of that stock solution per 2 gallon watering can?

Perhaps I should do a titration study with something fast growing like radish. Find out just what levels are toxic in my conditions.

I realize this mineral is potent and would like some idea of how weak to make it. We get 40 inches of rain per year, and I am sure significant amounts have been washed beyond the rootzone of most vegetables in the millenia that have gone before.


> Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 12:37:54 -0400
> From: "Dylan Ford" <dford at suffolk.lib.ny.us>
> Subject: [NAFEX] Organic Silica Source(Tips for greenhouse)
> To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <004101c78cd8$b8d61190$826ec344 at dylanwmvi3setm>
> Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="iso-8859-1"

> > I. Silica - The Forgotten Nutrient
> (SNIP)
> >           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
> fluidity.
> > Boron easily rinses from soils where there is insufficient "sequestered
> > carbon" to grip it.
> (SNIP)
> >           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
> industrial
> > product manufactured (with trace boron) for use in terra-cotta glazes, if
> > mixed with soluble humate could be a valuable form of amorphous fluid
> silica
> > 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.
> Strain
> > this, and while still simmering add a kilo of diatomaceous earth that is
> as
> > finely ground as possible. This will be rich in amorphous fluid silica.
> Also
> > 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
> getting
> > 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
> sap
> > pressures that are beneficial in their later growth. Get plants up and
> > running before being too generous with boron.)
> (SNIP)
> >           Hugh Lovel has a great many more informed insights and
> considered
> > 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
> that
> > added an important new preventive concept to my plant-health and
> protection
> > toolbox.

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