Broad Micronutrients


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Dateline May 2018.

What is your thinking on how best to organically supply broad spectrum micronutrients? Seaweed? Which products are you using these days?
 
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"Dateline May 2018": Are you referring to an episode/segment of the show Dateline?

How to best supply broad spectrum micronutrients I guess depends on your gardening style/goals. My goal is to provide the best habitat for as many organisms as possible and to have some produce in the process...

I count myself as lucky, because I've found the best way to provide all nutrients, including the micros is already satisfied by my number one goal, which is to provide habitat, i.e. heavy mulching for various animal/insect species, which not only use the mulch as shelter, but also as a food source and that processes all the nutrients I (my plants) require. And by mulching I mean using everything, not just leaves or woodchips, but all that and more; this creates a healthy biome, as opposed to a monoculture-type environment, like in the case of using just one type of woodchip for example.

However, there's another way I've been reading about lately and that's a type of gardening where you plant what's referred to as Nutrient Accumulators. And as it happens to be, a lot of good nutrient accumulators are "weeds" and one of my favorite "weed"/nutrient accumulator is poke weed. https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/2014/08/5-weeds-you-want-in-your-garden/
 
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"Dateline May 2018": Are you referring to an episode/segment of the show Dateline?

How to best supply broad spectrum micronutrients I guess depends on your gardening style/goals. My goal is to provide the best habitat for as many organisms as possible and to have some produce in the process...

I count myself as lucky, because I've found the best way to provide all nutrients, including the micros is already satisfied by my number one goal, which is to provide habitat, i.e. heavy mulching for various animal/insect species, which not only use the mulch as shelter, but also as a food source and that processes all the nutrients I (my plants) require. And by mulching I mean using everything, not just leaves or woodchips, but all that and more; this creates a healthy biome, as opposed to a monoculture-type environment, like in the case of using just one type of woodchip for example.

However, there's another way I've been reading about lately and that's a type of gardening where you plant what's referred to as Nutrient Accumulators. And as it happens to be, a lot of good nutrient accumulators are "weeds" and one of my favorite "weed"/nutrient accumulator is poke weed. https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/2014/08/5-weeds-you-want-in-your-garden/

Haha -no I just did that for a date stamp on my content list.

I seem to be stepping off the bio train in the sense that with all that wonderous activity also comes pathogen pressure which in my hot and humid environment can really run a person ragged. I am not using pure chemicals, but note that in hydro that whole issue is a big fat moot point. I believe @Chuck uses kelp pretty religiously and seems to think it makes a big difference. I spent some time rototilling in some products like thymol (promax thyme oil) and have actinovate and mycostop and seranade on standby for the fight to come. But in the mix of purifying that old used soil of mine, I noticed i have less earthworms this year, which means they have less to eat, which means less bacteria and bio, so I want to be prepared as possible for rebalancing the bio if need be.
 
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Haha -no I just did that for a date stamp on my content list.

I seem to be stepping off the bio train in the sense that with all that wonderous activity also comes pathogen pressure which in my hot and humid environment can really run a person ragged. I am not using pure chemicals, but note that in hydro that whole issue is a big fat moot point. I believe @Chuck uses kelp pretty religiously and seems to think it makes a big difference. I spent some time rototilling in some products like thymol (promax thyme oil) and have actinovate and mycostop and seranade on standby for the fight to come. But in the mix of purifying that old used soil of mine, I noticed i have less earthworms this year, which means they have less to eat, which means less bacteria and bio, so I want to be prepared as possible for rebalancing the bio if need be.
I use what is readily available and cheap. liquid kelp, liquid seaweed, and liquid humate is what I use but there may be other things out there that I can't get. I haven't tried it yet but there is a product called Magic Sand. It is supposed to be the equivalent of green sand. About 20 years ago I incorporated a LOT of green sand into my garden. It's supposed to last forever but I don't have proof one way or the other. As far as pathogens are concerned I haven't had a virus or unmanageable bacteria in a lot of years. I do get early blight every year but have learned how to control it until harvest. But, having said that, my part of Texas has a Looong growing season but a Very short tomato setting season. Most everything else no problems at all. Except for 4 legged varmints that is. They have just topped my first planting of sweet corn. Time to get out the rifle I guess.
 
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I have tons and tons of worms this year, both earthworms and red wigglers. Still waiting for a pathogen to wipe out my garden, given that with all the mulch and compost I do in place, but nothing yet...maybe one day:geek::)
 
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3 ways. Amend the soil and sidedress plants with things that add micronutrients like gypsum, shrimp meal & kelp meal. I liquid feed some plants every week or 2 with a full spectrum of nutrients. Lastly, I foliar spray micronutrients weekly with a blend of like 12 ingredients. If I had to choose the most economic and effective method it would probably be foliar.
 
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3 ways. Amend the soil and sidedress plants with things that add micronutrients like gypsum, shrimp meal & kelp meal. I liquid feed some plants every week or 2 with a full spectrum of nutrients. Lastly, I foliar spray micronutrients weekly with a blend of like 12 ingredients. If I had to choose the most economic and effective method it would probably be foliar.
Any particular products that you favor that I might find down my way?
 
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Any particular products that you favor that I might find down my way?
I buy a product called Extreme Blend from Kelp4less as it’s economical and it makes up my base nutrients. It’s kelp, fulvic, humic, and amino acids rated at 12-0-6. I add 1/4 tsp dry powder per foliar gallon with a little yucca, aspirin, and sometimes a Foxfarm NPK fertilizer too. You could also buy these ingredients individually from anywhere and make your own foliar solution for probably a similar price.

For root drenching and foliar I use a product called cal/mag from Bloomcity. It’s like $33 a gallon on Amazon and it’s got cal, mag, boron, zinc, iron, and a few other micros mixed in fulvic acid for chelation. It’s bang for the buck is high and it’s rated 2-0-0. For foliar I use 1 tsp per gallon and for root drenching about the same.

My favorite fertilizer with micros though is FoxFarm Grow Big. It’s hybrid and rated 6-4-4 with kelp, worm castings, and some good micros. It’s a little more spendy than the others and obviously not organic, but the results are explosive. I use this at 1/2 tsp foliar gallon and 1 tsp gallon root drench.

Forgot to mention earlier I amend with azomite as well to the soil for broad micronutrients.
 
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And if we’re getting technical what’s silicone considered? Because I amend with that too using a flowable 65% silicone dioxide. I get it from Kelp4less but there are many other good sources online.

I can also vouch for Dr. Earth liquid fertilizers, all kinds. Some of those are organic and I try to get them on sale a few times a year for maybe $5 for a 32 oz bottle. I use it at 1/2 or 1/4 strength. Many of them have blackstrap molasses, humic acid, yucca, aloe, fish emulsion, kelp, and other beneficial additives.

For dry organic/natural I usually use Dr Earth or Down to Earth. Down to Earth makes blends like Acid Mix and Biolive which have things in them like calcium, magnesium, beneficial fungi/bacteria, and sulfur, among other things.

You can find some amazing quality ingredients with micros from a variety of good sellers on EBay and Amazon. I buy when I see deals on EBay, Walmart, Costo, my local co-op, or Amazon. I personally overdo it and amend the soil and the plant from a variety of sources.
 
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And if we’re getting technical what’s silicone considered? Because I amend with that too using a flowable 65% silicone dioxide. I get it from Kelp4less but there are many other good sources online.

I can also vouch for Dr. Earth liquid fertilizers, all kinds. Some of those are organic and I try to get them on sale a few times a year for maybe $5 for a 32 oz bottle. I use it at 1/2 or 1/4 strength. Many of them have blackstrap molasses, humic acid, yucca, aloe, fish emulsion, kelp, and other beneficial additives.

For dry organic/natural I usually use Dr Earth or Down to Earth. Down to Earth makes blends like Acid Mix and Biolive which have things in them like calcium, magnesium, beneficial fungi/bacteria, and sulfur, among other things.

You can find some amazing quality ingredients with micros from a variety of good sellers on EBay and Amazon. I buy when I see deals on EBay, Walmart, Costo, my local co-op, or Amazon. I personally overdo it and amend the soil and the plant from a variety of sources.

What is your thinking on silicone dioxide? Is it a soil texture helper?
 
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What is your thinking on silicone dioxide? Is it a soil texture helper?
It helps plants put on thicker, more dense growth, and aids with heat, drought, and cold tolerance. There is a decent amount of online research backing it up. Supposedly over time silicone becomes depleted like anything else but you’ll see the most benefit in raised beds or soilless mediums. You can get it in dry amendments too with things like perlite and zeolite.
 
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Silicone is one of those amendments where you can see a fairly big difference. Plants are more rubbery and withstand storms better, they can hold bigger fruit with less support, and they tolerate most extremes without wilt. I use it at 1/4 strength about every 2 weeks but plan on stepping it up with bigger plants this month.
 
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I am using humic acid always bought from humic harvest because thier quality is amazing. Thier Organic Water Extracted Humic Acid is one of the best fertilizers I have ever used. They are also registered under Organic Materials Review Institute, so no worries about authenticity
 

Meadowlark

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Amazing to read the total lack of the use of cover crops here to "supply broad spectrum micronutrients"

Virtually free, unsurpassed quality, anyone can do it. Maybe its just too simple.
 
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Well, I have to disagree. It is a fact that cover crops are one of the best if not the best thing for building fertile soils. But, not many home gardeners have a tractor with a turning plow and disc harrow. On this forum, I know of two. Even though a lot of folks here have roto-tillers they are about useless when working with cover crops as a tiller does not cut the plant into pieces, it rolls up in the tines of the tiller and one would spend the vast majority of his time trying to clear the tines. Myself, I had a garden of about 1/4 acre. I had no tractor and no tiller. I had a rake and a shovel. I gave up my very successful 1/4 acre garden two seasons ago because I am no longer able to manually take care of a large garden. I will admit that I have never tried to turn over even a small garden with a shovel but I have tried to till soil with a ground cover and it is impossible for anyone except Hercules. I have tried both rear tine and front tine tillers. Using a shovel, IMO, would be a futile effort at best, stopping many gardeners even before they got started. So, in effect @Meadowlark, please try to use nothing but what 95+% of what a home gardener have to use and leave your tractor in the barn.
 

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... So, in effect @Meadowlark, please try to use nothing but what 95+% of what a home gardener have to use and leave your tractor in the barn.

The above is hilarious...LOL, absolutely hilarious...and I have to disagree.

So, would you say 95% of home gardeners have or have access to a lawn mower?? I would say "so" yes.

I use a lawn mower to shred my cover crops...in fact, I used one just today to shred an alfalfa cover crop for the second cutting this season. Finely chopped alfalfa just may be the world's most efficient soil builder and an incredible mulch...I'm tying to prove that in a related experiment...but that is a tangent to this discussion. A lawn mower is perfect for this application.

If one isn't able to operate a lawn mower, there are plenty of youngsters who are willing to do so very cheap. Believe me, the benefits from cover cropping are orders of magnitude greater than the cost of paying a kid to mow on rare occasions.

I don't use a "turning plow" and only use the disc harrow to accelerate the soil building process when appropriate...after using the lawn mower. No, absolutely no, failure to use cover crops is not due to limited equipment....lack of creativity or understanding of the value of cover crops would be more likely.

Now, when I get to the point where I can only garden in small raised bed{s} without equipment, I will absolutely use cover crops. If I garden, I will use cover crops period! Those days are probably not far away as I'm currently 75 years young. I use a tractor to cultivate and make rows mainly because my garden is about 5,000 sq. ft...and it produces well over 90% of most vegetables we use and many that extended family and friends use. It just isn't required for cover cropping. Not at all.

Elbon rye can be hand seeded with great success. Same for many clovers, vetch, small grains I use in winter...easily hand seeded. My alfalfa likewise was hand seeded. Equipment?? No, not using cover crops is a failure to be creative in soil building...not equipment limitations. Those can easily be overcome.
 

Meadowlark

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There are 7 essential plant nutrient elements defined as micronutrients [boron (B), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl)].

Soil test results after one season of alfalfa cover crop:

Boron +183%
Zinc +136%
Copper +250%
Manganese unchanged
iron unchanged

Nitrogen (not micro) +278%
Phosphorus (not micro) +157%

Did not test for chlorine or molybdenum.

So I ask, should cover crops be a part of the discussion to supply broad spectrum micronutrients?
 
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A lawn mower? I guess that takes care of the above ground foliage but what about the roots? How will a lawn mower do anything about being able to plant vegetables? Cut off the tops but you still have roots which are still alive and act as a detriment for nitrogen uptake. And as the growing season progresses one still has to be able to plant either seeds or transplant. I have been there and done that. For many years. I do agree that ground covers are probably the best means of soil building but I also believe that ground covers are NOT the best way to enable home gardeners to have a successful garden. What you espouse is a great idea but IMO not achievable. You are not a gardener. You are a farmer. Between you and the average home gardener there is a world of difference.
 

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