|Latest Update 6th June 2018.|
This luxuriant display is wholly dependent on the activities of beneficial microbes and their predators in the soil and on their foliage. If this soil foodweb is nurtured skillfully, your crops will prosper.
Part of the process is the maintenance of beneficial microbe diversity especially in your Ecobeds. They feed on parent rock, plant exudates and rotted organic waste but in Ecobeds, where their soil is isolated from the surrounding soil, its more than usually important to provide an ongoing renewal of these creatures.
I achieve this be applying a monthly drench (vegetables) of rainwater containing humus, other nutrients and beneficial microorganisms extracted from high quality homemade compost. (Four times a year on lawns and once a year in autumn on my perennial beds).
The process is very simple. Using a paint strainer bag containing a large handful (about 150grams) of moist homemade compost, closed tight using twine, the bag is massaged vigorously for at least 30 seconds in 18 litres of clean rainwater. This extracts microbes and humic acid from the compost turning the water dark brown. You can massage it longer if the extract continues to darken.
The compost bag is removed and the compost extract diluted in more clean rainwater to make two 9 litre batches. This is used immediately by watering it onto the plants' foliage and the soil around the plants' roots.
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 optimum concentration of microbes are present), you can use much higher concentrations to ensure good results. You cant use too high a concentration, but there is no extra benefits to be had from very high concentrations.