> On Wed, 24 Nov 1999 11:13:23 -0500 (EST), Lawrence F. London, Jr.
> >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.
The black rock phosphate from coastal North Carolina is the best and
releases plant-available phosphate quicker than the Florida RP, Idaho
black RP, or some other source located, I think, in Tennessee.
PCS Mining, Saskatchewan, Ca. owns the plant in NC and a few plants in
Florida and one in Virginia (this one makes specially treated RP for
livestock feed, which I hear isn't especially good for crops as it
releases slowly, like the Florida RP). Commonly referred to as "Carolina
Black Rock Phosphate" this mined product is rated at the top of the list.
It is black in color and is shipped out, with minimal processing, in
exactly the condition it is in when excavated, as a fine sand. PCS used to
grind it to a powder but found that that did not speed release of
phosphate but did add significantly to handling problems at the mine
(spilling out of the trucks hauling it at the plant). This is a very fine
product. I hope to buy a dump trailer load of it next year to put on my
market gardens. It does not leach into rainwater or into the soil so can
be stored without cover (other than a tarp to keep if from blowing
away in the wind) outside for convenient loading. It does not cake up
when moistened as powdered or pebble phosphate rock products do.
> 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.
Thanks for this information.
> 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.
Fascinating. Thanks for the update, Bart.
Lawrence F. London, Jr. Venaura Farm
/permaculture /intergarden/orgfarm /ecolandtech
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