Keep Calm, Stay Well, And Garden On

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Mycorrhizal Fungi And Nitrogen

This is the time of year when I notice a lot of people buying their mycorrhizal fungi for planting and seeding, so I thought I'd just do a quick summary of some recent research that has shown that endomycorrhizal fungi (often referred to as arbuscular mycorrhizal, or AM fungi) take up more organic nitrogen from the soil environment than was previously thought.

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How To Make Grape EM

I have been drinking about 1 tablespoon of EM everyday for over a year now, to keep my digestive system stocked up with all of these beneficial microbes. It's a lot like eating yogurt and sauerkraut, but with a mixture of microbes that is absolutely optimal.

I consider this habit to be part of the reason - along with other health choices - that I never get sick and always seem to have plenty of energy. More than just my own use, I have the advantage - from selling EM - of getting feedback from customers that is consistently positive and often unbelievable.

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An Alternative Use For EM - Rust And Razors

EM (Effective Microorganisms) was originally formulated for agriculture, but it didn't take long to figure out that it has an incredibly diverse array of uses. This is the first in a series of newsletters I will write on some of these alternative uses. And this first trial was not entirely successful...

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Compost Tea At Harvard University

Aerated compost tea is becoming more and more mainstream, as people catch on to the immense benefits of using tea that is brewed properly. Today I want to summarize an interesting trial that was done recently, using compost tea, kelp, humic acids, mycorrhizal fungi, and organic fertilizers.

The main goals of the Harvard University project were to restore the soil health without chemical fertilizers and pesticides and determine the cost of implementing such a program campus-wide. There will also be many opportunities for education, research, and outreach.

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Use Of Molasses In The Garden

So, we already use blackstrap molasses as a food source when making compost teas and activating effective microorganisms.

We also like to add additional molasses to our EM and water when we are applying the EM, to make sure the microbes are awake and ready to rock when they hit the soil and plants. It's nice to give them a food source to start their new life. In addition to carbohydates (sugars), blackstrap molasses also has a decent vitamin and mineral content.

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Fish And Lawns

According to the book 'Food Power from the Sea', fish was used as a fertilizer in Europe as far back as the middle ages. The technology has changed - we now have liquid products that are easier to apply and more efficient - but the principles are the same.

I get a lot of questions about what to use for organic lawn care. Lawns are not all that different than the plants in your garden, but we do expect them to do more, and our ability to improve them is a bit more difficult.

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Ocean water in the garden?

This is a strange one to most people, the idea of watering our plants with ocean water, also referred to as sea minerals or sea solids.

The most common questions are:
1. Isn't it too salty?
2. Isn't the ocean polluted?
3. Why should I pay for ocean water (this one comes especially from those on the coast)?

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Solving the Puzzle of Application Rates and Dilution of Effective Microorganisms (EM)

The suggested application rates for EM to soil and plants in our gardens vary widely. The 2 main manufacturers in North America suggest a rate of 1 gallon per 1000 sq ft per year, split into regular applications such as monthly, at a dilution rate of 1:1000, or as low as 1:100 for certain uses such as lawns. This translates to perhaps 1/2 L per 1000 sq ft once a month for 8 months of the year, mixed with as much as 500 L of water. They say this is based on many years of experience and research.

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Fungi and Fertilizer

Research from the summer of 2008 revealed yet again the many benefits of using mycorrhizal fungi when planting. This particular study provided some interesting insights. One group of plants (of various species) was fertilized with traditional chemical fertigation and the other group was fertilized with a mix of slow-release chemical fertilizer and rock phosphate. Both sets of plants were also inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi.

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Yes, Molasses Is Good For Your Garden Too

Molasses Fertilizer

Molasses is one reason gingerbread cookies are so good. Another reason is ginger, and another reason is because they're often shaped like people.

Of course molasses does have sugar, but it has nutrients, too, including vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Some people have some every day as a health tonic.

It turns out both the carbs and nutrients in molasses are also food for the microbes on your plants and in your soil.

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