More details on the use of compost/vermicompost teas will be described in next week’s blog. This week a vermicompost tea (containing bacteria, fungi, protozoa but dominated by bacteria) was brewed and applied to trees (pears and apples) that are prone to Fire Blight infections. The Fire Blight bacterium preferentially multiplies in the flowering blossoms. We are operating with the hypothesis that the compost tea ecology will stimulate the growth of beneficial microbes that will compete successfully with the Fire Blight bacterium for growth-limiting resources.
Three thermophilic compost windrows cooled down to temperatures of 110 F or less (43 C) and are ready for spreading in the orchard. We analyzed and quantified their microbe content. All the windrows were fungal dominated with ratios of fungi to bacteria ranging from 2 to 3. Beneficial protozoa and beneficial nematodes were also present in the right amounts
A fourth windrow which should have been ready for spreading weeks ago, is still too hot (average temperature: 130 F). This suggests that there is still too much nitrogen present in the pile and the microbes are actively multiplying
Two interesting factoids about microbes. Humans are a conglomerate of mammalian and microbial cells. The microbes outnumber the human cells by 10 to 1. Get to know your inner microbe! Also, recent studies show that children born in households with indoor pets, especially dogs, have a more diverse microbial genetic repertoire (microbiome) and this decreases the risk of allergies and asthma later in adult life (Susan V Lynch, UCSF).
Author: Christophe Kreis MLF Soil Consulting PhD, Molecular Biology/Developmental Biology, University of British Columbia, Canada. Christophe is co-founder of MLF Soil Consulting with his wife Monique. He started his career in basic medical research and after various positions in academia and industry Christophe slowly returned to his first passion Soil Ecology and Microbiology. It is his belief that human health is tied intimately to soil health through the production of healthy food. For this reason MLF Soil Consulting is committed to help farmers improve the management of their soil through composting, vermicomposting and biological analysis of microbial soil life.
Back to Christophe's Compost Corner