>Dan Hemenway wrote:
>"Wood ash contains valuable trace minerals and I use it under inoculated
>legumes to feed the rhizobia that fix nitrogen in the roots of the legume
>crop. You will get a huge increase in N fixation if you do this."
>Is this true? Would you get the same effects with rock powders, compost
>and seaweed or is there something special about wood ashes that make
>rhizobia fix more nitrogen?
Partially true. The major mineral co-factor in rhizobial nitrogen
fixation is molybdenum. Vanadium is also tangentially involved. Most
wood does not contain a lot of moly --- eucalyptus being a notable
The best rock powder source (by far) is phosphate rock, particularly
some of the phosphates from the southeastern US.
You can also purchase (at a very reasonable price) sodium molybdate
inoculants (Urbana in St. Joseph, Missouri is one source) to mix with
the rhizobia at seed planting.
Properly used, molybdenum will release more energy, kilo for kilo, than
uranium (increased N-fixation, leading to increased yields, leading to
increased capture of solar energy). Best bargain in agriculture, and
almost nobody uses it.
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