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Microbes...you gotta see this one !!!

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Post  sanderson on 3/14/2019, 2:55 am

Totally jealous. Thanks

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Post  has55 on 3/15/2019, 7:44 am

@has55 wrote:that's good healthy fungi. I have to find the ratio per view chart to tell what a good ratio for each organism. If I find it, I will post it.
Using a microscope, assess the compost: using a 1:5 dilution of compost, 400x total magnification, there should be a minimum of thousands of bacteria in each field of view, 1 strand of fungal hyphae in each 5 fields, 1 flagellate or amoebae in each 5 to 10 fields of view and 1 beneficial nematode per drop.
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/15/2019, 10:13 am

Yesterday I found Teaming with Fungi at the discount book store at 40% off, so now I have all 3 books in the series.  Can't wait to read it!  Teaming with Microbes really changed my views on the living soil web, and now I'm in pursuit of fungi....  Smile
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/15/2019, 11:34 am

@has55 wrote:Using a microscope, assess the compost: using a 1:5 dilution of compost, 400x total magnification, there should be a minimum of thousands of bacteria in each field of view, 1 strand of fungal hyphae in each 5 fields, 1 flagellate or amoebae in each 5 to 10 fields of view and 1 beneficial nematode per drop.

It will be interesting to see the microbe count/activity in the firest batch of compost from the compost tumbler this spring. I don't expect to see much fungal hyphae or nematodes due to the closed environment of the compost tumbler - it is pretty much a closed environment - but, it should be very heavy with microbes.

In a couple weeks I will be making the first batch of Actively Activated Compost Tea to use in charging some Biochar, and plan on testing that at various times, i.e., 12-hour, 24-hour, 36-hour, to compare the microbe activity. That should be a good learning process.
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Post  has55 on 3/15/2019, 2:49 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:
@has55 wrote:Using a microscope, assess the compost: using a 1:5 dilution of compost, 400x total magnification, there should be a minimum of thousands of bacteria in each field of view, 1 strand of fungal hyphae in each 5 fields, 1 flagellate or amoebae in each 5 to 10 fields of view and 1 beneficial nematode per drop.

It will be interesting to see the microbe count/activity in the firest batch of compost from the compost tumbler this spring. I don't expect to see much fungal hyphae or nematodes due to the closed environment of the compost tumbler - it is pretty much a closed environment - but, it should be very heavy with microbes.

In a couple weeks I will be making the first batch of Actively Activated Compost Tea to use in charging some Biochar, and plan on testing that at various times, i.e., 12-hour, 24-hour, 36-hour, to compare the microbe activity. That should be a good learning process.
look forward to the results.
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/16/2019, 2:49 pm

The Trilogy of Organic Gardening books.....I now have the full set.

Microbes...you gotta see this one !!! - Page 10 Lownen10
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Post  Kelejan on 3/17/2019, 8:25 pm

Good for you, Ohio Gardener. Very Happy
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Post  jimmy cee on 3/17/2019, 10:17 pm

@has55 wrote:
@OhioGardener wrote:
@has55 wrote:Using a microscope, assess the compost: using a 1:5 dilution of compost, 400x total magnification, there should be a minimum of thousands of bacteria in each field of view, 1 strand of fungal hyphae in each 5 fields, 1 flagellate or amoebae in each 5 to 10 fields of view and 1 beneficial nematode per drop.

It will be interesting to see the microbe count/activity in the firest batch of compost from the compost tumbler this spring. I don't expect to see much fungal hyphae or nematodes due to the closed environment of the compost tumbler - it is pretty much a closed environment - but, it should be very heavy with microbes.

In a couple weeks I will be making the first batch of Actively Activated Compost Tea to use in charging some Biochar, and plan on testing that at various times, i.e., 12-hour, 24-hour, 36-hour, to compare the microbe activity. That should be a good learning process.
look forward to the results.
You can make up a batch of fungi to add to the tea at the very end. I believe the section on tea in the Microbes book explains how. I added a bit of compost, to a closed container, then a bit of oatmeal, a couple pieces of fruits. etc. closed the container, then placed in a couple brown bags, stored in a dark section,you want no light getting into container... closet would be good. relatively warm temps and in a few days you will see the mycelia developing. quite interesting.
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Post  has55 on 3/18/2019, 2:25 am

Jimmy Cee, so good to hear from you. How long do you brew the fungi after you add it to the compost tea? How much did you make to add to the tea?
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Post  jimmy cee on 3/18/2019, 10:27 pm

@has55 wrote:Jimmy Cee, so good to hear from you. How long do you brew the fungi after you add it to the compost tea? How much did you make to add to the tea?
I used a 2 gallon container half full of material. I don't think it really matters as far as the size. proportion maybe yes. I always winged everything. The fungi (mycelium ) grows like a spiders web ( cobweb ) in that container. I found interesting instructions were a bit vague, mentioning to add it toward the end of the brew. I know the mycelium is very fragile and can be destroyed quickly in rough use. Before using  your blend on plants, try this...I did and it was unbelievable...Take a bit out of the finished tea. Strain it well, I used wifes old nylon stockings. Fill a spray can I used a hand held. Select a group of veggies....I selected bell peppers. ..Spray half of your selection and do not spray the other half. My sprayed peppers almost doubled in size in 4 days. I have so,e photos I'll try to dig them out
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Post  jimmy cee on 3/18/2019, 10:32 pm

Here is one I saved showing difference in size...back ground sprayed with compost tea.....foreground sprayed with nothing.....4 day period...amazing ...huh ?Microbes...you gotta see this one !!! - Page 10 Pepper10
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/19/2019, 8:21 am

@jimmy cee wrote:Here is one I saved showing difference in size...back ground sprayed with compost tea.....foreground sprayed with nothing.....4 day period...amazing ...huh ?

Yes, yes it is! But, it is very similar to what I have seen after starting to spray high quality compost tea on the plants. Another amazing thing to me was that the plants that were sprayed had virtually no insects - I don't know if it was because the spray prevented the insects, or if it was because the plants were so healthy that the insects weren't interested in them.  I am looking forward to monitoring the tea under the microscope this year to see how active it is at the time it is sprayed.

Thanks for posting this, Jimmy!
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Post  has55 on 3/19/2019, 12:29 pm

Thank you Professor Jimmy Cee. Question, going back over the time to add the fungi to the tea, when did you add it and how long did you allow it to brew, esp since the mycelium is fragile in rough water? Is the purpose to get the fungi to separate from the feed mix, then spray or to separate it and get it to grow in the tea, then spray?
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Post  jimmy cee on 3/19/2019, 10:15 pm

@has55 wrote:Thank you Professor Jimmy Cee. Question, going back over the time to add the fungi to the tea, when did you add it and how long did you allow it to brew, esp since the mycelium is fragile in rough water? Is the purpose to get the fungi to separate from the feed mix, then spray or to separate it and get it to grow in the tea, then spray?
I just do not know and never went far enough to find out..
Description was to add at the end of the cycle. I think I added it to the can a few minutes before it ended. Used an open spray can to just drench the soil. I made so much I used it all the time, one can never have or use to much.
Do not spray or distribute compost tea in the sun. Suns rays quickly destroy microbes....
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Post  has55 on 3/20/2019, 1:27 am

@jimmy cee wrote:
@has55 wrote:Thank you Professor Jimmy Cee. Question, going back over the time to add the fungi to the tea, when did you add it and how long did you allow it to brew, esp since the mycelium is fragile in rough water? Is the purpose to get the fungi to separate from the feed mix, then spray or to separate it and get it to grow in the tea, then spray?
I just do not know and never went far enough to find out..
Description was to add at the end of the cycle. I think I added it to the can a few minutes before it ended. Used an open spray can to just drench the soil. I made so much I used it all the time, one can never have or use to much.
Do not spray or distribute compost tea in the sun. Suns rays quickly destroy microbes....
THANK YOU.
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Post  has55 on 3/20/2019, 2:18 am

OG this may be helpful. KIS ORGANICS has 12 videos of old microscopy research done 1-2 yrs ago. It's a cannabis channel, but still, good info to glean some experience. Go to the bottom of the page to the 1st video.
Tad Hussey-compost tea research.
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Post  has55 on 3/20/2019, 2:31 am

This is KIS organics using the microbulator.
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/20/2019, 9:34 am

Last summer the Living Web Farms did a 5-part video series, titled "Assessing Soil Health Using a Microscope", that did a great job of teaching the types of microbes, the desired ratios of them, etc.  I have referred back to the videos several times to pick up things I missed or wanted to review again.

Assessing Soil Health Using a Microscope Videos:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


Part 4:


Part 5:
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Post  has55 on 3/20/2019, 5:18 pm

thank you.
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Post  OhioGardener on 4/7/2019, 4:25 pm

Made a 15-gallon batch of Actively Aerated Compost Tea (AACT) to use for inoculating 2Ft3 of Biochar to add to two different raised beds.

I did two different microscope analysis of the compost tea - once at 16 hours, and once at 24 hours - and, and was happy with the microbial activity I saw.  Many active bacterial, a lot of hyphae, some flagellates, and a couple amoeba. I was surprised that the microbial activity at 16 hours was nearly as great as it was at 24 hours (Note: I had planned to test at 12 hours, but since I started it at 4:00pm the 4am test was delayed for a few hours due to sleep desires). So, it may not be necessary to brew for 24 to 36 hours to get good compost tea. I will continue monitoring with the scope for future brewing to see if this is always the case.  This is the first time I made tea using a thermostatically controlled heater to ensure the microbes had ideal temperature to multiply, so that may have been part of the difference.

This has been a great learning experience, and hopefully will lead to continued improvement for the gardens. The microscope has been a great tool in this endeavor.

Here is a short video of the microbial activity in the compost tea at the 24-hour point, viewed at 400X on the microscope.

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Post  OhioGardener on 4/11/2019, 12:20 pm

This morning while checking out a new batch of Compost Tea, I found this most interesting critter among all of the bacteria. Not sure what it is, but it was fascinating to watch. Still trying to identify it, though.

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Post  OhioGardener on 4/13/2019, 10:15 am

@OhioGardener wrote:This morning while checking out a new batch of Compost Tea, I found this most interesting critter among all of the bacteria. Not sure what it is, but it was fascinating to watch. Still trying to identify it, though.

Thanks to Mr. Tim Wilson, author of Microbe Organics, for his note identifying this as a Testate Amoeba, which allowed me to then go to the Microworld - world of amoeboid organisms site to learn more about it. Continually learning more and more about the Soil Food Web! Very Happy
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Post  has55 on 5/19/2019, 8:26 am

OG, I thought the protozoan Tea/soup article would go great with your microscope pictures. Feed the soil, but you need the predators to eat the bacteria and fungi so the nutrients are released. Have you seen the protozoans?

Protozoan tea/soup

Excerpt from a letter sent to me by Dr. Elaine Ingham after completing my soil test in Sept 2016,

Actinobacteriaare beneficial for most of the plants you included in your list, but the actinobacteria were a bit low in this soil.  
Protozoan numbers were low, no active flagellate biomass was observed, although cysts of flagellates were plentiful. Amoebae were observed in the samples, with quite a few cysts of this group as well.  Perhaps the dry conditions of later summer caused these groups of organisms to become dormant, suggesting that mulching the bed to hold and maintain moisture in the bed would be an excellent idea, to maintain active biology.  You noted that the soil had been removed from the bed, allowed to be exposed to sun since June which is quite likely the cause of this situation.   
Two possible ways to improve life in these beds would be to 1) improve protozoa, which eat bacteria and then release nutrients to feed your plants.  Additionally, actinobacteria often do very well in protozoan infusions, and would increase the actinobacterial biomass at the same time, and 2) add fungal inocula and foods to the soil to increase fungal biomass.  
To improve protozoa, as protozoan infusion can be made.  Apply 1 to 10 gallons of the following per acre (irrigation systems are fine for doing this):
1)    On the bottom of a tank that can hold water and which has a mixing or aeration system (a compost tea brewer works great for this purpose), place a layer (about ¼ to ½ inch thick) of chopped hay, grass clippings, or other plant material, which preferably has not been treated with pesticide.
2)    Add water to the half to ¾ full mark. Treat the water with humic acid to deal with any chlorine, or chloramine or sulfur or salts BEFORE adding the water to the tank with the plant material.  No contaminants in the water that could kill the protozoa, please.
3)    Let aerate or mix gently for about 48 hours, at which time protozoan numbers should be teeming in the water.  
4)    Strain to remove the plant residue, and apply the water, containing billions of protozoa to the alfalfa.  If the water hits the alfalfa surfaces, that is good, as the alfalfa can probably use the increased nutrient cycling that can happen on the leaf surfaces.  
Beneficial nematodenumbers need to be improved as well, to increase nutrient availability for the plants.  Add fungal foods to improve fungal biomass, and this may attract the fungal-feeding nematodes.      

Fungal biomass can be improved by adding some additional fungal foods, which are materials such as humic acids, fish hydrolysate with chitin and chitosan (insect exoskeletons), insect frass (high in chitin), rice hulls, steel ground oats (mostly the seed coat of the oat), or other high-cellulose or lignin containing materials which beneficial fungi enjoy.   
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Post  OhioGardener on 5/19/2019, 8:55 am

@has55 wrote:OG, I thought the protozoan Tea/soup article would go great with your microscope pictures. Feed the soil, but you need the predators to eat the bacteria and fungi so the nutrients are released. Have you seen the protozoans?

Yes, I am seeing a good number of protozoa - amoeba, flagellates, and a couple ciliate. In a later batch of compost tea, I added fish hydrolysate to the brew, and the number  of protozoa was greater. It is a continuous learning process.


Recently I took soil samples from each raised bed, diluted them with distilled water at a 1:50 ratio, and looked at it under the microscope. There was a lot of bacteria and protozoa, but not as much fungi as I would have liked. So, I am working on creating fungi-based compost (my compost tumblers do not produce any fungi in the compost) this year.
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Post  has55 on 5/19/2019, 9:01 am

How many beds do you have in your garden?
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