Soil Microbial Analysis Changes with Nutrition Farming for Hawaii Project

Not all microbes are bad.  Human bodies contain about as many microbial cells as actual human cells.  This is called the human microbiome.  We live symbiotically with the microbes.  We actually could not live without them!

Our microbiome shifts as we change our diet and environment.  We receive healthy microbes from good, aerobic (oxygenated) soil.  This is another great reason to get out in your garden!

Beneficial microbiology in the soil is important to hold nutrients in the soil and make them available to the plants.  Measuring the microbial life in the soil is an important part of soil management.  You can’t manage what you don’t measure!

With the Nutrition Farming for Hawaii project, I measured the soil microbiology using my microscope when we were getting started with the garden in the spring.  Bacterial counts were only about 100 per slide field.

We amended the soil with the needed minerals and fertilizers.  These are very important to feed the microbes, as well as the plants.  Some minerals, like cobalt (which is rarely tested, but is on a Nutrition Grown™ soil analysis), are critical for microbes.  The microbes will not be there without the nutrients they need!   We also added a microbial inoculant to help get things going.

Retesting of soil is done every 6 months, including microbiology.  Our latest analysis showed 1500 bacteria per slide field.  A 1500% increase!

If you like this post, please leave a comment and share on your favorite social media by clicking an icon below.  Thanks,  Dr. Jana

Vog or other Air Pollution got you Down? Maybe you need Molybdenum

Respiratory distress and irritated eyes can be caused by sulfur compounds called sulfites which are present in smog and vog (a combination of volcano smoke and fog).  These are real concerns for some Hawai’i residents, especially children living in voggy areas.

Molybdenum (Mo) is an ultra-trace element (mineral) which is needed as a cofactor to enable certain enzymes in the body to work.  Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, a biochemist and physician who helped run the Princeton Brain Bio Center, felt that sulfite sensitivity may be due to molybdenum deficiency since he had seen consistently low blood levels of Mo in his patients.  Molybdenum is needed to activate the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which changes toxic sulfite to harmless sulfate.  The oxidation of sulfites is necessary to prevent neurological damage and allergic/asthmatic symptoms.  Other Mo-activated enzymes are responsible for some aspects of amino acid metabolism.

Also, be aware that sulfites are added as preservatives to many foods, such as wine and dried fruits to preserve the colors.  Ever heard of someone having a sulfite allergy?  Probably just a lack of molybdenum.

We should be getting adequate molybdenum in our well-grown foods.  However, molybdenum levels in soils or foods are rarely tested.  Because of its importance, this element is included in the Beyond Organic comprehensive soil analysis.  I often see very low (deficient) levels.

In the crop growing world, molybdenum is an enzyme catalyst for changing nitrate (NO3) to ammonium (NH4+), a plant-useable form of nitrogen.  This trace element also enhances protein formation.  Molybdenum is needed for atmospheric nitrogen fixation by bacteria growing symbiotically with legumes as well as non-symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria.  Molybdenum is used in the conversion of inorganic phosphorus to an organic form and is necessary for ascorbic acid (vitamin C) metabolism.  Gross deficiency symptoms include chlorosis of leaf margins, distortions in leaves and flowering bodies, and decreased fruit set due to less viable pollen.

Ultra-trace elements such as molybdenum and others can be supplied to soil with applications of naturally-occurring rich sources of trace elements such as Azomite, greensand, seaweed (i.e. kelp), and ocean fish.  When soil levels are very low, it is good to supplement the soil with small amounts of a concentrated version of molybdenum, such as sodium molybdate.   Seaweed and fish hydrolysates can also be used as ingredients in fast-acting foliar sprays.

Rejoice!  Help with vog and smog is on the way!  You might just need Mo’ molybdenum!

(Sorry, comments are closed due to spammers.)

You’re invited to the 9th Annual Kona Coffee Farmers Expo

Come to the Kona Coffee Farmers Expo this year to hear special guest speakers, see displays of various resources, and talk story about technical issues.  It is being held at the Old Airport Pavilion in Kailua-Kona on Friday, March 18, 2016, from 10am-4pm.  Beyond Organic Consulting will have a free prize drawing and show specials.  Hope to see you there!

Beautiful coffee flowers turn into...

Beautiful coffee flowers turn into…

...loads of coffee cherries!

…loads of coffee cherries!

Dr. Jana Bogs at the Kona Coffee Expo 2015

Dr. Jana Bogs at the Kona Coffee Expo 2015

What does it take to make it your Best Year Ever?

Go forth and Do Your Dreams!

Jana and Zeus enjoying a beautiful day.  Go forth and Do Your Dreams!

“The best year ever in terms of what?” you may ask.  Well, what’s important to you?  Feeling great–having excellent physical and mental health–is a big deal, and can help all areas of your life to be more successful and fun.  Financial success, great relationships, and achieving your dreams–like having an amazing farm or garden–all are influenced by your health.   And your farm or garden can be one of the most important factors in keeping you healthy, especially if you grow with Beyond Organic methods so your plants supply you with amazing nutrition.

Building great soil is an on-going process, taking more intensive work the first few years, but paying big dividends over time–in terms of your plants’ health and your own health.  Most soils need to have nutrients added every few months to achieve the best balance, especially items like sulfur and boron which wash out of the soil quickly.  These nutrients are critical for development of essential amino acids needed for our health.  When beginning the soil building process, it’s good to have your soil analyzed every 6 months, with a minimum of once a year.

Leaf tissue analysis can tell us what the plants are lacking.  Fortunately, custom foliar nutrition sprays can be used to help plants make great food quickly, while waiting on the soil to become well balanced.  Take care of your soil and plants, and they will take care of you so you can have the Best Year Ever!

 

Why Should I get my Pasture Tested?

By Dr. Jana Bogs, nutritional-horticulturist and horsewoman with a Master’s degree in animal science focused on equine nutrition

Your horse, or cow, or other grazing animal depends on its pasture to supply it with life-giving nutrients. There is a long list of nutrients in forage, including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes and various phytonutrients, such as antioxidants. Even the structured water in the plants is important for maximizing your animal’s health. Getting the right balance and forms of nutrients is key.

Animals and people are meant to get their nutrients from food sources, not from ground up rocks and synthetic vitamins in “feed supplements”and “food supplements”. Plants are meant to utilize soil nutrients and complex them into food for animals and humans. Plant-sourced nutrients are better utilized at the cellular level, whereas ground up rocks, such as calcium phosphate, can end up causing metabolic problems such as soft tissue calcification.

Your pasture soil needs to be balanced with the right amounts of the various minerals, organic matter and water needed to support a thriving, diverse community of beneficial microbial life which, in turn, make nutrients available to the plants. The plants can then grow into healthy food for your animals. If your soil contains too little or too much of certain nutrients you will have problems, resulting in poor quality food which does not support your animal’s health. For example, too much potassium can cause metabolic syndrome in horses, leading to laminitis and founder. Too little zinc can result in cracked hooves. Copper deficiency can result in loss of skin pigmentation, hoof thrush and “rain rot”.

Getting a good quality, comprehensive soil analysis including at least 12 mineral elements (preferably more), pH, cation exchange capacity, and organic matter is a great start. This will tell you what you need to put on the soil.

Having the actual pasture grass analyzed can be helpful as well. Nutrients can be sprayed on the grass to immediately improve the health of the grass.

Ideally, you should grow a variety of forages in your pasture so your animals can pick and choose what they need. In the wild, the animals would roam over a large area intuitively choosing what they need. Because we fence them in to a limited area, it’s up to us to help them achieve their needs. The love and effort we put into our pastures will return to us in the form of healthier, happier animals with fewer vet bills.

kissFor more information, check out my book, Beyond Organic…Growing for Maximum Nutrition and Flavor. It has a chapter dedicated to livestock, with an emphasis on horses. It’s available with free shipping on my website, www.BeyondOrganicConsulting.com . Aloha!

Dr. Bogs’ Video Interview by John Kohler of Growing Your Greens

John Kohler has a popular blog where he encourages people to grow their own food.  Recently he visited the Big Island and came across my book.  Intrigued, John asked me for an interview.  Here it is!

Soil and Compost Microbiology Analyses Now Available in Hawaii

With all the talk about microbes in the soil, natural farming and composting, have you ever wondered what little critters you have in your soil?  Now you can find out!  Dr. Bogs is now offering soil and compost microbiology analyses with recommendations for improving the balance of microbes.  You can also have your inoculant materials analyzed.  Sometimes, expensive and highly-touted microbial products actually have very few active microbes.

Knowing the types and amounts of microbes are present in your soil and compost can help resolve some problems you may be experiencing.  Having the right types and amounts of microbes for the type of crop you are growing can boost production while decreasing weed pressure.   How?  Microbes makes nutrients available to plants.  Some microbes can even fix nitrogen from the air!  Weeds like a bacterially-dominated soil, so getting more beneficial fungi working can decrease weeds.  Besides bacteria and fungi, protozoa and nematodes play roles in the soil.  Getting your soil’s mineral balance right, along with getting your soil’s microbial balance right, gives your crops the nutrition they need to supply the finest, most delicious food for you!

How to take Soil Samples for Microbial Analyses

You can use similar tools and methods as described in the section on this website about how to sample for soil nutrient analyses, but you only need to sample to a depth of 3 inches (7.5 cm).  Most of the same guidelines apply.  Use gloves–don’t touch the soil.  Be sure to remove organic material from the soil surface before taking samples.  Because you need only 3-inch deep cores, you can use an apple corer, if that is easier for you.  These corers can be found in kitchen supply sections of department stores.

If sampling under plants, take core samples half-way between the stem/trunk and the drip line of the leaves.  Take enough care samples to make up a volume of about one-half cup of soil.  Be careful to not expose the samples to extreme temperatures.

Microbial analyses can also be performed on compost and compost tea.  For compost, take several small samples throughout your compost pile, about 2 feet in, and combine into a composite sample.  If all of your piles are uniform, you will need to send only one composite sample.  If your piles are different, they will need to be sampled and tested individually as results can vary widely.  Compost tea will need to be sealed well in a bottle and shipped quickly, or hand delivered.

You can order these analyses here on the website (just order a soil analysis and put in a note to specify that you want a microbial analysis) or schedule a farm visit by calling 938-9888.  For those outside of Hawaii, microbiological analyses are available from an alternative laboratory.  Please email info@BeyondOrganicResearch.com for additional information.  Aloha!

Here is where we get to see the invisible world!

Here is where we get to see the invisible world!

Zintro asked Dr. Bogs to Comment on The Future of Food Additives

The Future of Food Additives

October 28, 2013 by Leave a Comment

nutraceuticalsAccording to a new report from Packages Facts, a Rockville, MD-based market research publisher, consumers are driving a change in the reliance on synthetic and artificial ingredients in food products. “Food Additives: The U.S. Market” claims that more natural ingredients are going to replace the artificial ingredients that have been used consistently for over 50 years.

Research chemist John Mark Carter has concerns about the issues with stability and standardization when it comes to natural ingredients. “The trend toward more ‘natural’ ingredients is strong in the US and EU, where consumers can afford to choose more expensive products. But in addition to economics, there are two significant problems with these materials. One is their relatively low stability. Processed ingredients usually exhibit better shelf life, because impurities that accelerate spoilage are removed. The other problem is a lack of standardization. Naturally derived ingredients are usually variable mixtures of active ingredients with other materials. The active ingredients are rarely assayed and often poorly characterized.”

Dr. Jana Bogs, an independent researcher and consultant shares her perspective. “As consumers become more aware of nutrition in this information age, they want better quality products. Natural products are more ‘user friendly’ in the body than synthetics. Nature provides nutrients complexed in food form, the complexity of which is not able to be duplicated synthetically. One example is vitamin C from food sources which include a myriad of synergistic phytonutrients.”

She provides another example. “Consider the intake of calcium from food instead of from ground-up rocks. People were not meant to eat rocks. The calcium from rock sources, while ‘natural,’ is NOT natural as food for humans. This ‘rock source’ calcium ends up calcifying soft tissue–Aging!–instead of being utilized properly. Humans were meant to get calcium from foods. My work involves increasing calcium content (and other nutrients) in foods naturally through an enhanced growing process which starts with balancing soil nutrients.”

Aftan Romanczak, an expert in restaurant chain research and development, says, “The change to natural ingredients will always be dictated by supply and cost. Who will certify quality and supply? Not the FDA. Government regulatory budgets are stretched thin now and ineffective.”

Romanczak explains that changes depend largely on customer response. “How much are consumers willing to spend? The current products on the market are not cheap. The natural ingredient market will mimic the economy and increases or decreases in disposable dollars. Artificial ingredients will evolve into more effective synthetic compounds and the advances in nanotechnology will be the driver.”

Health foods and beverages marketing expert, Ninad Deshmukh, agrees, “The entire replacement of artificial ingredients in food products is not going to happen though I would be very glad to see such a day! The reasons include product cost, taste, and appearance- all continue to matter to the majority of the world’s population.”

What about the demands of health conscious customers in other countries? Deshmukh says, “Definitely people who are health conscious, care about earth and having money to afford will definitely drive the demand for natural ingredients. I have been involved with health food products manufacturing and marketing in India for the last 11 years and found that there is a niche market, though it’s growing. Price and taste still play a major role in choosing health food products for majority in India, where I am based.”

Color continues to be a critical factor in food appeal and marketability. The growth in color additives has been due to a transition from artificial colors to natural colors, with cost and formulation issues a critical area within the natural color additives market. However, consumer concern appears to be the fundamental factor in terms of the future of food additives.

New Book–Beyond Organic…Growing for Maximum Nutrition–Get your Free copy Now!

Jana Book Cover Revision 072713As a Thank You for your support (in many ways besides voting for me in the Transformation Contest), my gift to you is a copy of my new book–Beyond Organic…Growing for Maximum Nutrition. It’s on Amazon.com. Just click this link:
http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Growing-Maximum-Nutrition-ebook/dp/B00DYFHTN4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375296204&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+organic+gardening+for+maximum+nutrition

(You have the option of reading my book on a Kindle device or on your computer with download of a free app available at Amazon.)

This free book offer is only available Sunday, August 4 through Tuesday, August 6, after that it is $9.99. Feel free to share it with friends. The more people who download my book and write favorable reviews, the more my book will go up in the ratings and be easily found.

Mahalo (Thank You) for your interest and support!

Jana D. Bogs, MS, PhD

Beyond Organic Consulting

Food Production Consulting from Garden and Farm, to Food Product and Nutritional Supplement Production with a Focus on the Ultimate Nutritional Content, Superior Flavor, and Extended Shelf Life achieved with Environmentally-Sustainable methods. The aim is to “Create Health from the Soil Up” by producing Nutrient-Rich foods using “Beyond Organic” techniques.

I work with gardeners and farmers performing soil and plant tissue tests to determine what their plants need to express their full potentials, and create “Beyond Organic” quality foods.

I work with food product and nutritional supplement companies to acquire the best quality “Beyond Organic” ingredients, develop recipes/formulations for unique, tasty products, and assist with packaging and marketing.

Be a part of the Next Wave in the nutrition marketplace–Go “Beyond Organic”! More farmers using “Beyond Organic” methods are needed. More “Beyond Organic”
food product and nutritional supplement producers are needed. Consumers want the best quality. Buyers are ready, ARE YOU? Let’s work together to bring GREAT products to the marketplace!

Jana Bogs, PhD

(808) 938-9888

Helping you create the Best Food Ever!