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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2003 10:18 am 
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As most of you know, I'm a big time active composter of horse manures, on my 3 acre no-till farm home. My compost usually contains about 75% horse/sawdust from the local equine clinic, and 25% leaves, grass clippings, food scraps, and a weekly 20-30 lbs per ton of compost of fresh fish scraps from a local seafood market.

I also use a lot of grain meal cattle/horse feeds in my aerated tea recipes, and as a soil amendment, and occasionally nitrogen activator for my compost piles.

I just read the latest December 2003 issue of "Acres USA" magazine. There was a big new article on compost teas from the great soil scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham. She states that animal manures are not good to use in aerobic foliar teas, either fresh or even fully hot composted! Too much NaCl salt content for aerobic foliar microbes.

Also I'm aware that there is up to 0.7% NaCl salt in all my cattle/horse feeds that I use.

I also use fresh or dried seaweed from the oriental markets in many of my tea recipes. Many coastal sustainable farmers used unwashed seaweed as a mulch around their crops. Isn't this also adding too much salt to the soil? If so, why hasn't it effected my garden beds yet?


Is this really a big problem for us who are maintaining healthy organic soils, using composting, mulches, and cover crops?

Also I have read that using occasional Epsom salt solutions in your teas, is a great way to balance and buffer the Na, Cl, Ca, Mg, and S, in your soil and your organic matter. Isn't this true?

Don't get me wrong. I love Dr. Ingham's work and research. I'm a big fan. However, I know Dr. Ingham is a perfectionist, and she has to be precise and careful what she says or suggests to the public world as what is "healthy" or "safe" levels in tea brewing and composting. I also know that in most cases, she is talking about the average soil conditions of farmers who are not really maintaining good sustainable methods on their soils.


What is the truth for wise sustainable gardeners like us on this site?
Any thoughts?

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The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2003 1:43 pm 
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Never mind, everybody, I think I got my answer today.

I just had a live phone call conversation with the great master composter and author Malcolm Beck. He is such a nice, polite, friendly, and wise man. He's awesome! He told me that using at least 2-3 times more browns than greens in your compost mixture, will normally neutralize all potentially high NaCl salts and pathogens, and other mild toxins from questionable animal manures, via the growing aerobic microbes. He also said the correct C:N ratio will also neutralize high NaCl levels from unwashed fresh seaweed, or cattle/horse feeds that I'm using in my composting methods.

He also told me that using aerobic tea recipes is a great way to get a wide variety of aerobic microbes into a pile for faster and better decomposition. However, nothing so far is better than using molasses or any sugary products for faster microbial growth, and hotter piles.

So the bottom line is: Use common sense, keep a well managed and balanced sustainable soil building program going at all times, and you will never go wrong. The microherd will take care of the rest! (LOL)

I love to talk to people that know what they are talking about, and have the experience, background, and knowledge to back it up.

Any other thoughts from anyone else on this subject?

Happy Gardening everybody!

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The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2003 1:53 pm 
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Over time salts can become a problem if they are not addressed with natural decomposition processes that disassemble or lock them and make them non-damaging. For those of us who maintain healthy levels of microbes and organic material in our soils, I think the answer to your questions is that this is not an issue.

Using animal manures in compost is a healthy recycling of all the natural products we have on hand. Composting and reusing manures is a mandatory part of sustainable soil, crop and livestock management. Addressing the issue of use in foliar teas, well, Dr. Ingham is being a to the point perfectionist, yes I agree, and yes she has a point. But not when they are used by those of us who understand and use this holistic concept.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2003 1:56 pm 
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Thanks!

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The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:32 pm 
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Location: The frozen tundra of Aiken, SC - 7B
CaptainCompostAL wrote:
I love to talk to people that know what they are talking about .....


And that's exactly what I've been saying about you all this time! :wink:

Dirt


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 8:16 am 
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Thanks, man!

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The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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