Another great guest. Another book. Another interesting ‘new’ topic.

Nicole is a Kiwi, so that is already endearing. Throw on top of this her outlook on things and her clear way of discussing it, and her knowledge (again largely from a mix of experience and knowing the science) and you’ve got another classic RegenAg Podcast. Two intertwined topics dominated this discussion: vermicast, and quorum sensing.

Regarding vermicast: Nicole seemed to have a lot of practical experience with this. A lot. From her observations, she had seen that applying vermicast was able to cause germination of species that otherwise were not growing in a particular area. This included indigenous species that had appeared to have been pushed out of an area. And, don’t worry, if it is not the native grasslands you are trying to restore, vermicast can be tailored to suit the needs of the crop you are trying to culture. It’s also really cheap. It’s been a few weeks now between when I listened to that podcast and when I type this, but I think that the vermicast was linked to the bio-priming of seeds, which would result in rapid establishment of plants. Thinking of sugar beet in Sweden / Europe – strong and even establishment is key for beating insect and diseases (eg virus yellows). This is exciting, but how does one find the right vermicast for a crop?

The quorum sensing thing is really interesting. The go here is that once enough plants or microbes are signalling that there is a problem of some sort, the community kicks into action to right it. The plants start acting as a super organism. The issue with this is that we don’t generally allow these community to form, or to express, and there is a good chance that this mechanism is breed out of a lot of the species with farm. To get an insight into what quorums might be forming, have a look at what is growing. The example given was to do with radiation and milk thistle.

There was a bit of chat about indicator plants in general, trachiderma and pseduomonus, and microbial diversity need for plant defense.

Get the book: For the Love of Soil (also on Amazon).

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