|Latest Update 6th January 2018.|
This luxuriant display is wholly dependent on the activities of beneficial microbes and their predators in the soil. If this soil foodweb is nurtured skillfully, your crops will prosper.
Part of this process is the maintenance of beneficial microbe diversity especially in your Ecobeds. They feed on parent rock, plant exudates and organic waste but in Ecobeds, where the soil is isolated in mini ecosystems, its more than usually important to provide an ongoing renewal of these creatures.
I achieve this be applying a weekly drench of rainwater containing nutrients and beneficial microorganisms extracted from high quality homemade compost (once a month on my perennial beds).
The process is very simple. Using a paint strainer bag containing a large handful (about 150grams of moist compost) and with the bag closed (I simply use twine to close the opening). The bag containing the compost is massaged vigorously for 30 seconds in 15 litres of clean rainwater which turns brown as microbes and humic acid are extracted.
The compost bag is removed and the compost extract diluted in more clean rainwater to make four 9 litre batches. This is used immediately by watering it onto bare soil around the roots of your plants.
Farmers only use about 20 litres of extract per acre. They dilute it considerably before applying it, of course, but unless you are up for the cost of a microscope and the training that goes with it (to ensure the optimal concentration of microbes are present), a little overkill won't do your plants any harm.