Soil and Compost forum: Interesting Videos about soil biology

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Dec 11, 2015 4:11 PM CST
I found these three videos very interesting.
I suppose the most interesting statement in them to me was the statement that all soils throughout the world have enough nutrients to grow healthy plants without adding any fertilizers. That includes sandy soils, rocky soils, even desert soils.
I also found it interesting that almost any plant could be grown without the need to be "manually" (that word is used due to a lack of a better word by me) watered. Even melons in Australia where it has not rained for five years, just by using the dew moisture.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBIxFAxtlQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s73_elaNP8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBEEgliZFLE

Well there were more than I thought at first. Here are parts 4-7.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_qHX6PPTlY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XuAeMbwQiI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO3pluq9hjM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g252sO4EZ0s
I am still trying to absorb a lot of this information, the difference in the type of nitrogen needed for annuals and perennials makes me wonder if it is actually a good idea to mix the two?
[Last edited by Seedfork - Dec 11, 2015 6:02 PM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Dec 11, 2015 4:53 PM CST
Thanks for posting those. Will have to come back to view them though.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Seedfork
Dec 11, 2015 7:35 PM CST
Must be out of practice I keep losing my posts.
I watched one more video that was related to those above.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jErga1eP718
I was shocked to hear at around 30min and 20 seconds into the video the ratio of compost to the acre, to me an extremely small amount. I would have thought it would have been many times that amount. The video further breaks the ratio down from 1 ton per acre to 1/2 cup per four square feet. Man I have really been doing overkill. Of course my compost might not be as loaded with the biological organisms as the scientific brewed kind, but still I never realized such a small amount could even make a difference. I now feel there is hope to feed the world! Without Monsanto!
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Dec 12, 2015 8:39 AM CST
Second that!
Without watching the videos, I was also wondering about what's in the compost they're using. Strictly yard waste compost or "premium" stuff with manures and other goodies that some of us don't use.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Dec 12, 2015 10:12 AM CST
Seedfork said:
I am still trying to absorb a lot of this information, the difference in the type of nitrogen needed for annuals and perennials makes me wonder if it is actually a good idea to mix the two?


I haven't looked at the videos but I assume they mean the difference between ammonium and nitrate plant preferences? I don't know that one can necessarily generalize that much although there are species differences. This article explains the difficulty in determining such preferences:
http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/07/24/aob.m...

Both ammonium and nitrate occur naturally in the soil, ammonium eventually being converted to nitrate by microorganisms anyway.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Seedfork
Dec 12, 2015 11:17 AM CST
sooby,
The conversion of the ammonium to nitrate by the microorganisms is one key point in one of the video, but it goes on to break down the plants that benefit the most from each stage of the conversion(a very general wide ranging type of break down). Things like weeds, shallow rooted grasses, at the early part then field crops etc. and I do remember mature forests were at the end of the conversion process as the main beneficiary . I may be reading more into the video that is actually there, but they did seem to me to draw a pretty distinct line between annuals and perennials.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Dec 12, 2015 11:33 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Dec 12, 2015 11:45 AM CST
That's what I figured but the article in my link points out how determining that for specific plants is not that easy and that the methods used to date have been insufficiently sophisticated. Quoting: "N source preference is much more complex a biological phenomenon than is often assumed." An example in the article is rice, which is considered to prefer NH4 but shows variations in its apparent preference depending on soil depth and nutrition, and can actually use NO3 well.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Seedfork
Dec 12, 2015 11:50 AM CST
As a matter of fact, I do remember rice being mentioned in one of the videos and there was a distinct difference in wet grown rice and land grown rice. I had thought all rice was wet grown...guess not..
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Dec 12, 2015 11:59 AM CST
I found a section in a book, Plants and Nitrogen by Lewis, where it is pointed out that of four species of conifer two grew best on nitrate, one preferred ammonium and the other liked either ammonium or ammonium plus nitrate in a combo, so apparently one can't generalize for conifers at least. It goes on to say that the majority of plants show a better growth response "when fed a mixed ammonium and nitrate nitrogen source than when fed one of these sources alone".

Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Seedfork
Dec 12, 2015 12:24 PM CST
Double posted, sorry.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Dec 12, 2015 12:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Dec 12, 2015 12:33 PM CST
I think I might have confused the fungal and bacteria ratios chart with the ammonium and nitrate cycle. But they were both explained in the videos, I just need more study on them to absorb all the info.
But in video 6 she (Dr. Elaine Ingham) does state that perennial plants require ammonium and annuals require nitrates, she states a study in France and Utah State University discovered this just recently concurrently with a study she was doing.
I am no scientist, so I am just trying to figure all this stuff out, but it sounds very interesting to me.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Dec 12, 2015 12:57 PM CST
I've seen it said before that annuals prefer nitrate and perennial plants prefer ammonium (I assumed that's the way around they had it). Seemingly doesn't hold true for conifers at least....

I also found this in a paper about rice nutrition:

"When rice plants in solution culture were fed with a mixture of NH4 and NO3 compared with either of the nitrogen sources applied alone at the same concentration, yield increase of 40-70% were observed (Heberer and Below, 1989; Qian et al., 2004). The growth and the nitrogen acquisition of rice were significantly improved by the addition of NO3 to nutrition solution with NH+4 alone (Cox and Reisenauer, 1972; Duan et al., 2005)."

From: http://www.cibtech.org/J-Plant-Sciences/PUBLICATIONS/2015/Vo...

[Last edited by sooby - Dec 12, 2015 12:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Dec 12, 2015 2:12 PM CST
Trying this again because my browser crashed Grumbling I looked at video 6 and couldn't catch the name of the place in France, so far haven't found anything on Google either. But did I hear/interpret correctly a statement that there's no conversion of ammonium to nitrate below pH7 (neutral)? That's actually not correct, there is nitrification in acidic soils. Quoting from one research article where they apparently identified a new microorganism (hoping I can quote it without crashing this time!)

"Nitrification rates in acidic soils (pH < 5.5), which comprise 30% of the world's soils, equal or exceed those of neutral soils. Paradoxically, autotrophic ammonia oxidizing bacteria and archaea, which perform the first stage in nitrification, demonstrate little or no growth in suspended liquid culture below pH 6.5, at which ammonia availability is reduced by ionization....."

http://www.pnas.org/content/108/38/15892.short

There's a book called Research on Nitrification and Related Processes by Klotz which has pages viewable on Google that says "...Contrary to previous conceptions that nitrification did not occur at extreme pH values, autotrophic nitrification has now been confirmed on soils with pH values from 3 up to 10....."

I looked this up because if I heard right in the video that there's no nitrification below pH7 then that would mean most of our soils (in the east anyway) are not converting NH4 to NO3. Didn't seem right to me.
[Last edited by sooby - Dec 12, 2015 2:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Dec 12, 2015 2:53 PM CST
Now that you've got me started down this path, here's an interesting twist:

".......in the drier environments, plants preferred nitrate and in the wetter environments they preferred ammonium. Nitrogen uptake preferences were different across different ecosystems (e.g. from drier to wetter environments) even for the same species. More significantly, our experiments showed that the plant progeny continued to exhibit the same nitrogen preference as the parent plants in the field, even when removed from their native environment and the nitrogen source was changed dramatically. The climatic constraint of nitrogen uptake preference is likely influenced by ammonium/nitrate ratios in the native habitats of the plants."

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-3040.2010....

So, does that mean that, say in daylilies, that the N balance of the parent plants carries over as a preference in their seedlings that may be grown elsewhere??
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Seedfork
Dec 12, 2015 5:28 PM CST
So like climate change there seems to be different opinions about the science, I stay so confused!

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