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10-week Online Soil Food Web Course with Dr. Elaine Ingham!

Cj Sloane
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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I've watched this 6 part video lecture. It's really good.

Here's what I'm wondering, since I'm not spending thousands of dollars on fertilizer this course is too expensive. I'm not spending anything on fertilizer, actually and my land is mostly forested anyway.

If the goal is to get more life, particularly fungal life, into the soil, is the short answer on how to do this just "chop and drop?"
Kerry Rodgers
Posts: 230
Location: North Texas, Dallas area suburbs, US zone 8
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Hi Cj,
From memory, I think Elaine likes chop-n-drop, classifying it as a slow-but-low-labor type of composting. Elaine is not deep into permaculture techniques, so you have to make the connections between her work an d permaculture techniques yourself.

Here's my attempt at a summary: Your soil needs to be an environment where "more life, particularly fungal life" can succeed, then it needs to be inoculated with diverse life. Making good, fungal-rich compost can accomplish both of these. Elaine will be quick to recommend getting a "$300 shadowing microscope" and learning to use it so that you can monitor what you are doing. Making compost "good" means primarily using diverse ingredients in good ratios, and making sure it never goes anaerobic, mainly by monitoring the temperature and turning. You won't get it right the first time, so use consistent ingredients so you know how to adjust ingredients for the next batch. Making compost fungal-rich mainly involves including enough fungal foods, inoculating with wild fungi if they are missing from your site, and turning the compost the minimal amount. Sorry, but I'm a beginner at this, and that's about the limit of my expertise here. Many more details are available online, or in the book Teaming with Microbes (and obviously in Elaine's online courses).

If you are looking for free internet resources with Elaine answering questions, you could try searching the archives of the Yahoo "compost_tea" group. For example, here is Elaine's answer to a vaguely related question about fungus in Maine forestland that just happened to be in today's Digest email.
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