Notes for the Foundation Course. Ch. 2 Lecture 10 – Structure (Part 2)


Notes for Ch. 2 L10 – Structure (Part 2)

Quiz results

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Elaine talks about her Biocomplete compost in today's lecture that I took notes from. I will also include the future cannabis project's video about soil structure from the last Post, Soil structure part 1, here as well.

Soil Structure

Building structure in Heavy clay soils

Much of how the chemical basis of soil structure rests in how the clays bind to each other in the soil. Clays need to be flocculated (flocculation The process in which particles in a colloid aggregate into larger clumps.) in order to move water and air into the soil and then become held into soil structure.

  • To flocculate the clays the exchangeable Ca:Mg ratio must be correct for the type of clay. Depending on the amount of cation exchange rates on the type clay.
    • specific for clays

Collapsed vs Well structured clays

  • When Collapsed we need to increase Ca+ (exchangeable concentration) to get 5:1 - 7:1 Ca:Mg ratios to acheive a Flocculated result

The maximum amount of salt we can add to soil before we start killing the organisms in the soil is 100 lbs per acre. (i.e. lime)

  • Typical agronomists recommendation is 3 tons of lime. All bad. Now you must lots of chemicals (salts) to grow plants

An experiment by Elaine using Ca (oyster shell)

Where Sandy loam soil with no organic matter was repacked to the same density and Calcium (Oyster Shell) was the nutrient chosen to see where the nutrients were retained. 300 micrograms of Ca leached into soil by passing 1 litter of water through it. Four different containers had different variables added to them.

Just Parent Material

  • More calcium than water was lost through leeching. 100% Ca lost

Parent Material + 5% Organic matter

*98% of the Ca lost

Parent Material + 5% Organic matter + Bacteria

  • 95% of Calcium was lost

Parent Material + 5% Organic matter + Bacteria + Fungi

  • 0% of Ca lost

The Fungi will produce oxcyillate crystals and they will bind and hold the Ca onto the surfaces of the clay which will help flocculate the clays. Adding organic matter needs to still happen to at least 3% or greater.

When Biocomplete compost, using Elaine Ingram's techniques (example, is added to a clay by even 1 ton per acre then the Ca will be moved into the Exchangeable pool from the total nutrient pool.

Biology and chemistry working together properly to build soil structure.

The clays must first be flocculated. Micro-aggregates then must be built then macro-aggregates. Air ways will then be built from lower to higher prey and predators from the soil food web organisms.

If the airways and pores are present and stable then Water infiltrates into the soil and moves evenly in soil. Air will also move freely into the soil. Nutrient cycling occurs normally as a result (Lower to higher level organisms from soil food web will work more efficiently/effectively); Roots also grow deeper.

Large scale erosion happens with compaction happening from burning of materials and tractors.

  • Check dams can help to prevent the soil from moving as well as adding back biology/organisms.

    • Manures that have not been properly composted can have excess salts and heavy metals. This will kill off beneficial organisms.

Steps to fix food web.

  • Measure Soil biology and soil chemistry

  • Determine soil nutrients

  • Biology. Add Bio complete compost and/or Bio complete liquids to add an inoculum of the desired nutrients

  • Chemistry - adding macro and micro nutrients

  • Foliar Bio complete tea through the summer

  • Pesticide residues? They will hamper progress.

Biocomplete soil amendments added in fall to balance required nutrients

When we get the right biology back into the soils we:

  • Tie up nutrients that might have leeched, ran off or eroded away

  • We make nutrients available at rates plants need when plants need them

  • Beneficial organisms compete with successfully, consume and inhibit diseases, pests

  • Build soil structure so air and water can go deep into soil so roots can follow

  • Move not-plant available nutrients into plant available forms

Be Part of the Soil-ution!


How to develop knowledge and a career in regenerative agriculture with the Soil Food Web School!

From Dr. Elaine Ingham B.A. M.S. Ph.D

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Consultant Kickstarter Bundle

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I am doing the Consultant Kickstarter Bundle for The Soil Food Web School

The First step is to Study the Science by taking the Foundation Courses:

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