Sugar, moleasses, simple sugars to improve soil life.


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I see you guys post about using these to improve soil life. I have also seen something about adding newspapers.

I have some places that are compacted red clay with seemingly no life. I mean worms and bugs as I can't see microbes. Hasn't been dug up in decades. Even with all of the rains, water didn't even seem to penetrate but it is on a slight hill. This is an area I plan on planting some more blackberry bushes.

How much sugar per gallon of water is ideal?
How much, how long?
Should the soil be tilled first as I'm pretty sure air is at its minimum in this area?
 
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10 mL per liter every week until it softens and 2-3 weeks after it starts. Add other goodness too as you see fit. What you are addressing in part is the nutrients needed prior to NPK. COH also describes sugar and sugar water for that matter. By feeding just enough and not more you can establish a bacterial population that in turn bring in fungal hyphae that will in time search the deep soil for moisture and return it to the oxidation layer of the top couple inches where you are laying on the compost and other goodies like sugar. Proteins help as well, as the amino acids left from their breakdown are big components from which the biodome builds itself, all the little membranes and shells or bodies. Soil is not a vegetarian. Animals get composted in a forest. That is the big secret about manures, high protein levels relative to leaves and grass. Frequency is more important than quantity for the sugar though. Too much and the over fertilized condition will attract a lot of bacteria and fungi, more than you want to deal with anyway. It will take some months. Don't bother tilling, that only goes 6 or 8 inches. The hyphae reach can be deeper than you are tall. In dry years when I spray the garden I can run a 5 foot rebar into the ground with one hand by the time the summer garden has gone away.
 
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I see you guys post about using these to improve soil life. I have also seen something about adding newspapers.

I have some places that are compacted red clay with seemingly no life. I mean worms and bugs as I can't see microbes. Hasn't been dug up in decades. Even with all of the rains, water didn't even seem to penetrate but it is on a slight hill. This is an area I plan on planting some more blackberry bushes.

How much sugar per gallon of water is ideal?
How much, how long?
Should the soil be tilled first as I'm pretty sure air is at its minimum in this area?
In an area like this the first thing I would do is put down a good layer of compost. Then I would use 2 oz of molasses per gallon of water and pour this over the compost. Do this numerous times. You might have to disturb the soil first to keep the mixture from running downhill.
 
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We used to use newspaper for lining runner bean trenches (US lima beans?) but I don't touch it anymore. Back in the day it was made from straight wood pulp, but nowadays they add all sorts of recycled stuff which means they also put in plastic to hold it together. Any sort of organic material from lawn mowings to hedge clippings I can put through the mower spread as a mulch will help water stay and penetrate and will gradually become incorporated.
 
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I make charcoal from the twigs and dropped limbs and dead trees and spread it out across my clay. @Oliver Buckle cooks his clay sometimes and those materials act like commercial products such as Turface. Bonsai and turf fields both benefit from the same air spaces in baked clay crumbles.
 
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. @Oliver Buckle cooks his clay sometimes
Yep, when you hoe there are balls of clay collect that won't break up. I collect them one end of the bed, then drop them in the incinerator and they sinter making a porous terracotta, then I hit the big bits with a hammer, it makes a great additive as it is mixed with the wood ash.
 
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... In dry years when I spray the garden I can run a 5 foot rebar into the ground with one hand by the time the summer garden has gone away.

Well, this is a dry year...5 ft into the ground with one hand...that I've got to see. Please post video, that would be most interesting.
 
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Well, this is a dry year...5 ft into the ground with one hand...that I've got to see. Please post video, that would be most interesting.
Don't temp me. I can overfertilize with the best of them! That happened the first year I ever had a garden. Well was responsible for the plants inside the gate anyway. Becky had been doing it but she had planted everything and then went and tore her miniscus and had the knee surgery. That left yours truly in charge and I followed ALL the internet advice, molasses amongst it. At the end of the season I had a fungal garden, super soft garden soil and I could not get that same rebar 6 inches into the lawn soil. I spent the winter reading and learning about what I saw and what I did wrong and somewhere through there got the gardening bug.
 

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I'll provide the rebar...and even mark it off in 1-foot increments up to five feet.

Its dry and its end of season so should be easy for you. Only thing I want is video of it happening with one hand in existing garden plot.
 
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I'll provide the rebar...and even mark it off in 1-foot increments up to five feet.

Its dry and its end of season so should be easy for you. Only thing I want is video of it happening with one hand in existing garden plot.
Oh no not this year. This year was a garden with only site produced leaf mold and kitchen compost and charcoal from the pickup sticks. Its the 3rd year since the Black Kow Pyrolid killed it and I planted everything randomly like toast on a grill checking for any lingering herbicide. Next year no problem. In fact I can start with the fall garden if you wish. In honor of the more expensive fertilizers I have been noodling alternative sources and increased efficiency in feeding anyway. I miss the amped up output of a highly fertile garden but do not want to spend so much. I may have to go back and reread some of Dr Inghams work.


And careful with your harumphing, our clay is so pure it can be super soft when moist. There is no rock or anything in it. My problem is actually getting soil to drain and dry out. Moisturizing efforts and 60 inches of rain cause fungus problems so I will just use granulated sugar. I will be using it instead of sand for small seed through the spreader anyway.
 
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Meadowlark

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I need the condensed version of Dr. Ingram. Circumlocution.

For less than $10 of seed, in 8 weeks' time, in the middle of the worst drought here since 2011, I just renovated an 800 sq ft area that was very depleted from onion and potato harvesting this spring.

The soil test results said " NO N-P-K recommended"

Nitrogen increased 285%. I don't think sugar would do that, but I could be wrong.

So, I'll anxiously wait for that video...in your garden soil, one hand pushing rebar 5 ft deep. I look forward to it!
 
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That's a nail not rebar...but if that is what you want to use, ok. Before and after sugar.
 
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I was actually curious so I looked it up. Sugar has no nitrogen. It is basically carbon and hydrogen or carbohydrate. But if it provides energy to the soil microbes, good or bad, they should multiply and then convert organic sources of fertilizer down faster, but wouldn't you have to add the organics to the soil? It isn't just going to appear on its own. I'm not really understanding how sugar itself is a fertilizer.
 

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It's too late this year, but next year I'm thinking I will run a test similar (8 weeks) to what I did this year with Sunn Hemp on depleted onion/potato space. Soil tests are the only way to see how much nitrogen (and other nutrients) is added, testing before and after.

Anyone want to make a bet...one way or the other...on the outcome?

Using nothing but sugar product in the above amounts. 10ml per l every week for 8 weeks
 
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I was actually curious so I looked it up. Sugar has no nitrogen. It is basically carbon and hydrogen or carbohydrate. But if it provides energy to the soil microbes, good or bad, they should multiply and then convert organic sources of fertilizer down faster, but wouldn't you have to add the organics to the soil? It isn't just going to appear on its own. I'm not really understanding how sugar itself is a fertilizer.
Its not, but it could be. Sugar is like you say carbohydrate food for wind borne, water borne, soil borne bacteria that are inherent to our environment. Sugar is bad for your teeth because of ...drumroll... bacteria. The bacteria literally become the organics you talk about adding. You would have to add a lot though. Sugar is not that dense a food source. Empty calories is how it has been described.

Bacteria can digest minerals in rocks (azomite!) with enzymes, or the enamel of teeth. When they die or a fungi eats them then the nutrients are released in a digested and plant available form. Also the bacteria and fungi themselves are biomass such as is found in fertilizers like the sewage fed Milorganite product. This is the safely cooked mass of bacteria culled from Milwaukee sewage sludge. Milo has to be eaten again by the local biodome so its a slow release if the temps are 50f or higher. Everything kinda stops in the cold. Think about how much sewage gets fed to produce a mass of bacteria that will fill a bag of Morganite. Then think in terms of sugar replacing the sewage..thats a lot of sugar!

Anyway when we are adding a couple ounces to a gallon and spraying it weekly its not a complete fertilizer idea. Its the bacteria supplied micronutrients and moisture the fungal web wicks up that help the garden. Its setting the stage for rapid decomposition of organic fertilizer. It is an active soil. Without dense fertilizer from some additional source your yields would be 25-50% of what they could be.

You will not need as much organic fertilizer at one time with live soil however- relative to soil sprayed with roundup or other dead soil where activity is so low. You have to increase the percentage of immediately available nutrients you apply for dead soil planting as well as available micros and so on. And those chemical fertilizers are not going to restart the biodome in a soil. Sugar can be a good start however.

Youtube "hyphae highway" and see bacteria and fungi doing their things.
 
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It's too late this year, but next year I'm thinking I will run a test similar (8 weeks) to what I did this year with Sunn Hemp on depleted onion/potato space. Soil tests are the only way to see how much nitrogen (and other nutrients) is added, testing before and after.

Anyone want to make a bet...one way or the other...on the outcome?

Using nothing but sugar product in the above amounts. 10ml per l every week for 8 weeks
No gambling, I already work for myself and that is risky enough these days! I did want to pry some detail out of you about your testing methods. You seem to test for N yourself? How exactly?
 

Meadowlark

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Oh no, people wouldn't believe my own tests...especially after Marck suggested I cheat :p.

No, I use a professional service...strictly professional. They post my results online...and I willingly give the results to anyone.

They are also the only outfit I'm familiar with that tests for nutrient density which is very important to me. On the 8-week test with Sunn Hemp on depleted soil, the nutrient density went from 64% to 94%.

I've never had a higher nutrient density score on any soil test...not even close.
 
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Oh no, people wouldn't believe my own tests...especially after Marck suggested I cheat :p.

No, I use a professional service...strictly professional. They post my results online...and I willingly give the results to anyone.

They are also the only outfit I'm familiar with that tests for nutrient density which is very important to me. On the 8-week test with Sunn Hemp on depleted soil, the nutrient density went from 64% to 94%.

I've never had a higher nutrient density score on any soil test...not even close.
ok..are they a secret service? I was thinking of Logan Labs after this summer garden comes out.
 
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Meadowlark

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10 mL per liter every week until it softens and 2-3 weeks after it starts.

I can run a 5 foot rebar into the ground with one hand by the time the summer garden has gone away.
Over what area? How much area do you cover with 1 L?

Since you won't do it anytime soon, I'll test this myself in a clay location. Picking up the rebar today and have molasses on hand so will get started soon. I'll post pictures
 

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