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Ray

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Yeah, the manufacturer is VERY keen to keep that clear!
 

naoki

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Maybe, you can talk them into developing orchid specific mix, Ray! Actually, I was reading a bit more, and I learned that you can propagate them in the molasses + water. In one of Japanese site, they also use vinegar + Shochuu (my favorite drink, similar to vodka) as the propagation media. So a small bottle can go for a while.

Ray, did you happen to know the shelf-life of these products? Some of the bacteria like Bacillus can probably produce spores, so they may be long lived, but others might die and the composition could be changed over time.
 

Ray

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Naoki, at one time, we discussed making "Orchid Solution", but decided that wasn't really necessary, and might limit the sales.

Shelf life is actually one of the unique features of the brand. In the concentrate, it is extremely stable at room temperature - to the best of my knowledge, a couple of years is not out of the question. Once it is diluted (1:100 is typical), it needs to be used, or refrigerated if you aren't using it within a few days.

I had a gallon of 1:50 let-down that sat mostly unused for 2 months in a cool basement, and it was still effective to digest accumulated crap on the bottom of an outdoor, artificial pond next to my greenhouse.


Ray Barkalow
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gonewild

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I had a gallon of 1:50 let-down that sat mostly unused for 2 months in a cool basement, and it was still effective to digest accumulated crap on the bottom of an outdoor, artificial pond next to my greenhouse.
Ray Barkalow
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Used in the pond is it harmful to fish?
 

Ray

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Not at all, Lance. The fish and frogs in my pond seem unfazed.

All of the microbes used in the products are categorized as "not likely to cause adverse health effects in otherwise healthy humans", so it's pretty innocuous to most living creatures.

Read the stuff at inocucor.com - there isn't all that much marketing hype to be filtered out to learn more about the technology.
 

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Sorry, I have made no good experience with the EM-a (aktivated). Some mottled leaf Paphs. get leaf patch.

In Japan a orchid nursery make test with EM-a and EM-5. After three year they stopped the test: no positiv results

In a small pond the EM-a acts.... - in my 75000 liter koi-kond the EM-a it is to expensive - so I use special microorganisms for fishpond.
 
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Ray, thanks for posting the link to the Inocucor site. I'll probably get the 250 ml sample from them.

One concern, though - will these critters accelerate the breakdown of organic media?
 

paphioboy

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The use of effective microorganisms (EM) to help orchid growth is interesting. As mentioned in the above comments, what you add is more important than how much. Mainly because most of the epiphytic species do not have a symbiotic relationship with many of the soil-dwelling fungi. Most epiphyte species, in fact, are symbiotic with certain isolates of potentially pathogenic fungi, including Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and Pythium. There are many papers on this, you can Google 'Orchid mycorrhiza'. In contrast, the more common mycorrhizas or beneficial fungi for non-orchid temperate terrestrial plants belong to the Glomerales and Gigasporaceae. Many EM products tend to contain these fungi or other supposedly biocontrol agent species that help protect the plant, like Trichoderma (a known parasite on other fungi).

For the slipper alliance, it is known that most of the naturally-associated fungi belong to the Tulasnella/Epulorhiza and Ceratobasidium group, some of which are unculturable. Epulorhiza is strongly-associated with Paphs. If you add in a different fungus, the additive could in fact be competing with the naturally occurring fungi, and could be detrimental to plant health. A paper I read states that some widely-occurring Cypripedium species (calceolus) have a more specific relationship with the symbiotic fungi, whereas other cyp species which have a more narrow habitat are more generalist in their preference of fungal partners.
 

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Ray

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Ray, thanks for posting the link to the Inocucor site. I'll probably get the 250 ml sample from them.

One concern, though - will these critters accelerate the breakdown of organic media?
Alla, in Canada, it is only sold as an aquatic treatment; apparently the government does not allow it to be sold as a plant & soil amendment, as it is in the US.

I am not aware that any of the bugs in the formulation break down lignin to a major degree, so I doubt that's a concern. Even if they do, it's probably not going to be faster than a reasonable repotting frequency would dictate anyway.

The guy who's their VP of sales is an avid paph species grower. He actually tried the stuff before working for-, and investing in the company. As much as he travels on business, I suspect that if there was a medium-degradation issue, he'd be well aware of it.
 

Ray

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Sorry, I have made no good experience with the EM-a (aktivated). Some mottled leaf Paphs. get leaf patch.

In Japan a orchid nursery make test with EM-a and EM-5. After three year they stopped the test: no positiv results

In a small pond the EM-a acts.... - in my 75000 liter koi-kond the EM-a it is to expensive - so I use special microorganisms for fishpond.
Uwe, my own testing of the Garden Solution product has shown no negatives, but I cannot say I've seen a lot of positives either. Then again, I don't normally have a lot of issues with plant pathogens or insects, so maybe the treatments are more of a "belt and suspenders" thing for me.

I think that the best application for orchids is on newly-deflasked seedlings and species that can be really finicky in their demands. I suspect that, when used in conjunction with a very low rate of application of fertilizers, as many of us are doing these days, it may play a bigger role.

University studies and practical field testing has shown it to be a boon to the organic growing world, reducing the needs for pesticides and fertilizers, but I think we just need to find the right fit for orchids. My "gut" says there is a logical fit, but I'm not certain what it is yet.

Marijuana growers have found that it increases the rate of seed germination, reduces losses due to damping-off of the seedlings, and apparently produces a stockier plant with sturdier stems and less internodal elongation, resulting in a bushier plant. Damping-off is certainly a concern for orchid seedlings, but I can't vouch for the other benefits...

Assuming the lawyers don't mess with the agreement too much and foul the arrangements, I'll have some material sometime next month, including some sample materials to share.
 

gonewild

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have found that it increases the rate of seed germination,
I'm curious how it could increase the rate of germination. Seems like the seed is either alive and will germinate or it won't.

It's easy to see how it might increase the surrvival rate of germinated seeds but how does it cause more seed to germinate?

Any comments about this claim?
 

naoki

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Lance, it could be related to gibberellins. Biology of seed germination is pretty complex, and it is evolutionarily beneficial to have seed dormancy in many cases. Gibberelins is a hormone which can break dormancy in many plants (but it doesn't work well with orchids because most of them don't have endosperms), and it was originally discovered from rice disease caused by fungi. So some of the fungi in the community-based microbe additive may have something similar. Indeed, one of the paper which Mike initially pointed out shows that vermicompost tea contains some plant hormones (I don't think it mentioned gibberellins, though). Drs. Baskin & Baskin studied the process of seed germination as their life work, and wrote a great reference book: Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and, Evolution of Dormancy and Germination.

I read a bit more about EM type approach (whole microbe community approach), and it seems to be still somewhat controversial. It is interesting to try, though.

Ray, from what I read, cellulose/lignin degraders are one of the main components of EM, but the composition may be different from the Canadian product. But does degradation of cellulose/lignin really bad? People experimented with card-board addition to the potting media, which seems to work fairly well with terrestrials. Some of them thought that addition of high cellulose contents encourage growth of some fungi beneficial to orchids (not scientifically shown, and it is simple speculation).

My son and I went to Walmart and got worms for $3 yesterday. They happen to have a correct species for composting (Eisenia hortensis, which is newer species for vermin-composting in the US, but I heard that Eisenia fetida could be a bit better species). My toddler son is super-excited about the worm house (just rubbermaid box). There are only 30 or so worms now, so it will probably take quite a long time to get usable products.
 

Stone

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(Eisenia hortensis, which is newer species for vermin-composting in the US
Are they composting vermin there now?:rollhappy:

but I heard that Eisenia fetida could be a bit better species
Yes tiger worms. They used to be common here but now hard to locate. They can make short work of most organic materials.

There are only 30 or so worms now, so it will probably take quite a long time to get usable products.
They recommend starting with 1000! Also, some producers stop feeding for a while before harvesting so the the worms can work over the material until there is nothing left but pure castings.
 

naoki

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Are they composting vermin there now?:rollhappy:

Yes tiger worms. They used to be common here but now hard to locate. They can make short work of most organic materials.

They recommend starting with 1000! Also, some producers stop feeding for a while before harvesting so the the worms can work over the material until there is nothing left but pure castings.
Hah, it might end up as a hot bed for vermin since this is my first try!

You are right, it would be nicer to start with 1Lb or so of worms. Hopefully, they will grow quickly, and I need to be careful with the amount of food to give them at first.

I heard that there is an advantage to use both Eisenia hortensis and E. fetida since the former lives wetter, deeper area, and the later likes to be near the surface. So I'll probably get E. festida next summer.

I was re-reading Mike's first link, and it mentions that worm tea is enriched in gibberellins in addition to auxins, indeed. In addition to seed germination of non-orchid plants, gibberellins are shown to induce flowering in some Paphs.
 

likespaphs

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if you can find it, there's a great book called Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Applehof
 

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