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 Post subject: Vinegar in Garrett Juice
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 11:16 pm 
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I'm curious. I have amazing success using vinegar as a foliar spray to kill plants. What is the reason to have it in Garrett Juice?


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 6:38 am 
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We use a bit of kitchen-strength vinegar (~ 1-2 tablespoon in a gallon of spray material) mostly to offset the alkaline tendency in tap water and partly because it is an energy source for microbes and plants. The difference between foliar feeding and herbicidal effect is merely the concentration. People appear to tolerate the mild phosphoric acid content in Coke, but I don't believe I'd care to see someone drink concentrated phosphoric acid. Shoot, if an ounce of 5% acetic acid in a gallon of water killed plants, our lakes wouldn't be awash in atrazine and we probably couldn't even grow plants outside in our fairly harsh acid rain :wink:


Last edited by Enzyme11 on Sun Apr 18, 2004 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2003 8:00 am 
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Now since I live in Alabama, where our native soil is acidic clay, I don't use any apple cider vinegar in my fertilizing or biostimulating teas. I only use vinegar for special acidic fertilizer teas for azaleas, or as a herbicide.

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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 1:29 pm 
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The 10% or 20% acidity vinegar is used as an organic herbicide. The 10% used full strength, the 20% should be diluted with water, because it will sure burn you! To this one can add orange oil and a surfactant.
The 5% acidity is the kind you get at the grocery store. Only a couple tablespoons per gallon is used for fertilizing.

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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 3:22 pm 
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Like Dave Hall said early, I still don't fully understand why acetic acid (vinegar) is so useful in an aerated compost tea recipe as a regular fertilizer or biostimulant for most of my plants. It makes a lot of sense as a universal herbicide or as an acidic fertilizer.

According to what I have read in studies by Dr. Elaine Ingham from SoilFoodWeb.com, and other compost tea folks from Acres, USA magazine, beneficial aerobic bacteria and fungi can survive and grow in any watery tea solution pH from 5.0 to 8.0. That is basically fine for any range of water or teas I make naturally without using a natural acid like apple cider vinegar or citrus acid.

Also the valuable trace elements in apple cider vinegar or citrus acid, I can easily get these from using rotten fruit, or grain feeds like alfalfa meal or corn meal anyway.

Animal manures have a natural alkaline pH.
Undistilled faucet water has a pH above 7.0.
Compost has a near neutral pH.

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 2:34 pm 
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[quote="CaptainCompostAL"]Like Dave Hall said early, I still don't fully understand why acetic acid (vinegar) is so useful in an aerated compost tea recipe as a regular fertilizer or biostimulant for most of my plants. It makes a lot of sense as a universal herbicide or as an acidic fertilizer.

Well, I suppose the specific answer depends a little on when you add the vinegar. The simplest answer is the scenario where you add the vinegar to the foliar spray just before applying it so that it goes into/onto the plant mostly intact. Whether it's applied that way or is allowed to stew in the compost tea for awhile before applying it, the answer is pretty simple. The theory behind it isn't quite as easy, but the value of applying acetic acid will become obvious when you review the general metabolic cycles that are important in plants and microbes, particularly the citric acid cycle and the glyoxylate cycle, and especially the light-independent processes in plants. This is an overly-general explanation, but the general oxidative metabolic conversion in the glyoxylate cycle of acetate (CH3COO-) --> --> acetyl-CoA --> --> oxaloacetate --> +GTP --> phosphoenolpyruvate + GDP + CO2
probably tells enough of the story for the casual observer. In the metabolism context (not in a conventional acid dissociation in water sense -- see below), acetic acid (CH3COOH) can deprotonate fairly easily to form its conjugate base, acetate, although that probably isn't a formal part of that pathway. There isn't room here to show the entire pathways, even if I could remember all of them, but the acetate ion is a fairly important basic component in oxidative metabolism.

I doubt if the mere topical application of vinegar/acetic acid sets off something like a signal cascade in plants like maybe a hormone or a messenger protein might, but I can't say that is impossible. Maybe LFH can shed some light on that question.

If you delve into the oxidative pathways, you also might be interested in how citric acid/citrate may fit into the mix. I suppose we use more vinegar and less citric acid in foliar spray programs because vinegar is so readily available and inexpensive compared with citric acid/citrate. I doubt if citric acid would work any better than acetic acid, but I could be wrong; it apparently would fit metabolically.

Contrary to the way I emphasized it in my earlier message, the pH "probably" isn't the more important part of using acetic acid unless the foliar spray otherwise is quite alkaline, but one should not entirely dismiss the role that pH might play in plant uptake of foliar spray ingredients. The acetic acid in vinegar is a very weak acid (it has a very low disssociation constant in water) when compared with the common mineral acids, so it doesn't affect the pH of the foliar solution as much as, say, hydrochloric acid would. There's a lot more to the biochemistry than I've writren, but vinegar fits very well into a foliar spray formula for a variety of reasons. We didn't pick it at random. :wink:


Last edited by Enzyme11 on Sun Apr 18, 2004 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 2:13 pm 
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Good response Enzyme!

On the subject of tea pH and nutrient uptake in leaves and roots: Is it true that the amounts of beneficial aerobic bacteria and fungi that we can grow in any form of organic gardening tea recipe, can overpower other limitations like pH?

Isn't pH not only a factor of acids and bases reaction with other materials in water in a tea or in the soil, but also the reaction of the soil/composting biology?

The reason I ask this is, that all composting chemistry, physics, and microbiology amazes me. Regular compost can buffer soil pH, buffer pathogens or mild toxins, and buffer available soluble nutrients to plant roots. It believe it because of the billions of microherd living in the compost and the soil.

Does this sound logical at all?

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 12:29 pm 
On the subject of tea pH and nutrient uptake in leaves and roots: Is it true that the amounts of beneficial aerobic bacteria and fungi that we can grow in any form of organic gardening tea recipe, can overpower other limitations like pH?
------

If you mean whether the composting process can change pH from the beginning material, yes, I believe so. As to whether adding compost/compost tea to soil can change the soil pH permanently, I think that is a complicated question. The entire question of "soil pH" is a complicated question. Except in a bioremediation setting, I'm not too concerned with soil pH except for knowing not to intentionally add amendments to acidify acid soils or to increase the alkalinity of basic soils. I would be more concerned with why a soil is acidic/alkaline, but the Natural Way directs us to use native and adapted plants to fit the soil type rather than the other way around. As for soil pH and compost, I'm more interested in increasing the buffering capacity of the existing soil system than in changing the existing system. Soil acidity can be changed, which is one reason why acid rain is having such a negative effect on eastern forests and why overuse of anhydrous ammonia is changing the pH of top soil in some plains states, but that's an uphill, thermodynamically unfavorable battle I'd rather not wage in a garden or landscape setting.

The acid/base action in foliar sprays is something of a different matter because the plant and its accompanying microbial population have a much more limited ability to buffer applied materials than does the soil (and soil low in organic matter typically has a lower buffering ability than soil high in organic matter). The plant sort of has to take what we spray on it. I doubt if the pH has to be perfect in foliar sprays, but I wouldn't want it to be too far out of whack unless there's a reason to do so other than basic foliar feeding. In addition to how an "unbuffered" plant might receive a spray with a drastic pH deviation, the pH theoretically could affect the material in the spray. That spins us out to general acid-base chemistry, but that isn't something that I think most users need to worry about.
------

Isn't pH not only a factor of acids and bases reaction with other materials in water in a tea or in the soil, but also the reaction of the soil/composting biology?
-------
Yes, if I understand your question. The microbial activity and the composting conditions can interact with pH and keep pH, and maybe the microbe mix, in a state of constant change, depending on how/where/when one tries to measure pH. It seems that pH should have a selective effect on the microbial makeup of the system at any given time. If I'm not understanding your question, ask again.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 12:34 pm 
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I guess user error has downgraded me to a guest. :)


Last edited by Enzyme11 on Sun Apr 18, 2004 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 12:35 pm 
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Thanks, that was very helpful and informative.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 6:30 am 
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Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is good to help counter the alkalinity of the water most of us use but even better is the fact that it has lots of good microbes and things especially if allowed to sit out and "mellow" for a day or two before use as an additive. Many of the commerical formulas you see must contain vinegar or some other stabilizer to extend its useful shelf life

Bruce Lee Deuley

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 8:04 am 
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What Bruce said reminded me of something Malcolm Beck and Bob Webster said in a meeting last Tuesday night. At Garden-Ville they use apple cider vinegar in a couple of their liquid products to keep the microbial activity down ON THE SHELF. If you were making your own Garrett Juice, I would think you could leave out the vinegar.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 7:33 pm 
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OK so I am having a problem finding either the 10% or 20% vinegar where do I look for it and where say shall someone in another state look for it?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 7:23 am 
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If you can't find it at local farm or garden supply stores, don't sweat it.
Any natural grocery store grade vinegar is find for any herbicidal or Garrett juice recipes. Grocery store grade is usually around 5%, but that just means you use more in your herbicidal applications.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 9:11 am 
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CaptainCompostAL wrote:
...Any natural grocery store grade vinegar is find for any herbicidal or Garrett juice recipes...


Key word here: Natural!

Some other vinegars are made using ethyl alcohol from petroleum distillates or something to that effect.

I would hope this type would not be found in the grocery stores, but just so that you are aware...

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