[permaculture] Fast growing nitro fixers, semi tropics

venaurafarm venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Thu Oct 18 18:57:33 EDT 2012

On 10/18/2012 4:41 PM, John D'hondt wrote:
> I find it a bit unusual that you talk only about nitrogen fixing plants
> Cory. I have alweays thought about nitrogen fixing bacteria for I have seen
> bacteria on their own without plants fix nitrogen. As long as they had a
> source of decomposing carbon and some supply of phosphate that is.
> Also on our grazing fields we see a competition between clovers (mostly
> white clover because this stays quite low to the ground where other clovers
> grow higher and are eaten by ruminants a lot faster) and grasses. Grasses
> need nitrogen to do well and compete out the clover eventually. When we put
> some rock phosphate out the clovers boom again.
> All that said, I know well that plant species provide nitrogen fixing
> bacteria with root exudates to make them thrive and do their business. But
> again, phosphate in the soil is essential for the nitrogen fixing process.
> (as are oxygenation of the soil and many trace elements)

To mine phosphate and trace minerals and make them available to plants, 
amongst other things, you need fungi in the soil and a source of raw 
minerals for them to feed on, i.e. quarry siltation pond fines or finely 
pulverized rock dusts, preferably a variety of them.

A cool scheme to improve soil fertility, seasonally:
(John D'hondt, could you evaluate this plan?)
At a time when this is appropriate apply rock dusts and manures and/or 
compost to raised beds; tilth these amendments into the soil lightly so 
as not to disturb vital soil dwelling microorganisms, especially fungi, 
earthworms, various insects, invertibrates, etc. Use a spade fork or 
even a digging fork. Follow this procedure with a planting of red 
clover. The clover will exude certain substances that the fungi will use
that will stimulate them to extract or mine, beyond normal levels, trace 
minerals and phosphate from the rock dusts. The manure you use does not 
have to be fully decomposed. Next season apply, as needed, extra 
amendments to boost soil fertility and balance nutrients and minerals. 
These amendments can include any or all of the following:
azomite, aragonite, high calcium limestone, dolomitic limestone, 
greensand, more quarry rock dusts, rock phosphate and colloidal 
phosphate. Somewhere in my online archives I have a few documents on 
research that demonstrated the beneficial connection between red clover, 
rock dusts (or native soil) and soil fungi. I guess the method I have 
suggested should be fine tuned to ensure the stability of soil bacteria 
and soil fungi populations and that the bacteria do not consume too many 
of the fungi, needed to interact with the clover. I thought that you 
could accomplish two things at once, add nitrogen
in the form of manure and/or compost, add minerals in the form of rock 
dusts and the clover cover crop would extract valuable phosphate from 
the rock particles. The rock dusts will feed the bacteria and fungi that 
will break the manure and compost down and the red clover will assist 
the fungi in further extraction of minerals and some phosphate from the 
rock dusts while the manure and compost will provide acids that will 
dissolve the rock dusts making it easier for bacteria to use and fungi 
to use with enhanced ability to extract minerals from the rock dusts 
with additional stimulus from the clover exudates enabling enhanced 
fungal mineral mining. This would be a grand experiment.
Other amendments could also be added such as fish meal, fish emulsion, 
crab meal, alfalfa meal or compost, all sorts of herbs and even compost 
teas of one sort or another.


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