Spring is here for many and just around the corner of others (for our Northern Hemisphere clients that is…). Shaking off the heavy coats and sweaters, thinking about lush green lawns, sweet tasty vegetable gardens and the newness of life that comes with Spring is just one of many benefits we get to enjoy this time of year.
What Products Do I Use?
It is also the time we get most of the questions on what should I use for my lawn, my flower beds, my vegetable garden, my pastures, our fairways, what about the putting greens, you get the idea.
So we decided to put a short guideline here for general applications. Of course each situation may have special needs so feel free to ask or post questions here and our team will do their best to answer as fast as possible; they still have their day jobs.
Hard Clays & Sandy Soils
Many of us face the same problems hard clay or very sandy soils and time issues, i.e. not enough time to really spend on getting our soils into the shape they deserve. Well that is where the benefits of professional grade soil and microbial inoculants come into play. Use what the professionals use.
Majority of soils have poor levels of beneficial biology or high levels of bad biology. Compacted soils for example: Does anyone have this problem? Bad biology loves compacted soils because hard soils do not contain much oxygen so this breeds a nice environment for anaerobic bacteria. The only problem here is that healthy soils and the biology in the root zone (or rhizosphere) need oxygen so we put our little workers – the good biology – into the soil and let them go to work along with our humic, fulvic, kelp extracts and other goodies. They do not like bad bugs and low oxygen so they begin to multiply around the roots and clean house so to speak.
Ok we digress so let’s get back to application rates. What do we use PTM or PTM-Myco? What about SRT should we use that instead since we really want the triple punch of beneficial microbes / mycorrhizae / and all the goodies in SRT?
What about sandy soils? They do not have the same compaction problem clay brings about. Right? Well yes and no but we will not get into soil science now except to say this: Sandy soils have a hard time holding on to nutrients and water.
OK, So What Do I Use?
In come AgVerra’s helpful bugs – soil microbes, beneficial soil biology, mycorrhizae, bacteria and fungi – whatever terminology you prefer. Whether it is PTM, or its cousin PTM with mycorrhizae (PTM-Myco), or our compost tea alternative CT or the mycorrhizal powerhouse SRT, each has it’s place in your toolbox for healthier soil and plants.
What Do They Do For My Plants?
These products develop a relationship with the roots and in exchange for excess sugars and other stuff (yes stuff is a technical term for root exudates for all you people scoffing out there). This warm and fuzzy relationship exchanges food and nutrients between the roots and the bugs. Additionally the mycorrhizae fungi in SRT, PTM-Myco, and CT-Myco start growing way out past the roots in search of additional nutrients and water.
While they do not need these nutrients they store them up along with water and trade them back to the plant for excess sugars and “stuff” – yes the technical stuff defined above.
Interestingly mycorrhizae extends out it’s fine hair like structures not only to search for far away food and water but these hairs excrete a “sticky stuff” (Sticky Stuff is the technical term for Glomalin, a sticky, gooey protein excreted by mycorrhizae that binds soil particles together giving soil that nice tilth or feel. It also protects and binds the soil particles to keep nutrients, and water close by plus reduces erosion; in deep scientific circles it is also know as “The Good Gooey Stuff”).
What does this do for sandy soil, well it starts to bind it together to reduce topsoil erosion, reduce nutrient runoff or leaching and keeps the roots happy by keeping a well stocked pantry close by so they can barter for food. Interesting to note those mycorrhizae, and some of AgVerra’s proprietary biology, does not wake up unless live viable roots are available.
Not just for sandy soils. A nice twist to the benefits of professional grade soil biology is they apply equally to clay soils as well. Still skeptical?
Try this. Take an area of hard clay, say an old pasture used and abused. Remove your weeds or grass or whatever is growing and till up a section. Make it nice and fluffy. Next take half that section and plant rows of potatoes that have been inoculated with the proper amount of AgVerra’s SoilNoc™ SRT. Leave the other half alone or plant whatever you desire. Water and fertilize both the same just reduce or eliminate high phosphate fertilizer. When your potatoes are ready to harvest put your hand into the soil and dig up the potatoes. Feel the soil and see how deep you can dig with your hands alone. Then do the same with the other half that was not inoculated with SoilNoc™ SRT. Just make sure your medical insurance is paid up before you start to dig up the other half with your bare hands.
Aside: Did you ever wonder why weeds grow anywhere? For one, few if any make a symbiotic relationship with beneficial soil biology or mycorrhizae. How many weeds have we made extinct by use and overuse of herbicides? Zero. How much of our beneficial biology was killed in the process … well that is the subject of another topic. Interesting thought though.
Ok, we digress again. What was this topic about anyway? Oh yes application guidelines. Right let’s cover that in Part 2, where we talk about lawns and pastures.