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BD Now! Mark Schonbeck on Albrecht cation ratios, Gregg Young's book on Albrecht

Mark Schonbeck published a few leaflets on the Albrecht
soil testing and amendment method as a result of his research
and education funded by SARE and OFRF.

VABF hosts these leaflets:

Soil Cation Nutrient Balancing

Does my Soil Need Cation Nutrient Balancing?

How to Use a Soil Test

Soil Nutrient Balancing: Project Summary

Fyi, I have a collection of the original Schonbeck leaftlets that contain
illustrations not reproduced in these web-based leaflets, and also the
most comprehensive literature review ever compiled on Albrecht, generated
by Schonbeck. I was among the researchers that Schonbeck tapped
into for some of the key literature as background to the research project.

Margaret Merrill and I talked to Schonbeck after he conducted
most of his research and suggested he attend one of Kinsey's
soil seminars. I don't know what became of this or how it may
have impacted his views.

Anyway, Schonbeck's findings were enough to settle once and for all to
a room full of southern farmers that the ideal Albrecht cation ratios
is not as important or relevant as it made up to be, for all soils.

Soil scientist friends of mine involved in organics say that
the Midwestern labs that emphasize Albrecht are accustomed to
montmorillinite clay soils, and thus the reason it works so well under
these conditions.  Neil Kinsey, on the other hand, says that it works

Gregg Young's book is one of the best sources on this topic that
I've found as far as a practical manual of how to understand the
soil test and how to calculate fertilizer requirements and so forth.

I highly recommend Gregg Young's book if the Albrecht method
is an approach you are investigating.   It is based on 25 years of
consulting work in California, and the result of his Masters
thesis on soils, originally titled "A Training Manual for Soil
Analysis Interpretation in Northern California," published in 1999.

Quality First in Vineyard & Orchard Production, about $25
By Gregg Young
PO Box 246, Talmage, CA, 95481

Look how practical it can get:

Basic Principles of Soil Balancing & Optimum Fertilization

1. Balance soil exchangeable cations: 65-70% Ca; 10-15% Mg; 2-5% K; 5% Na

2. Maintain P, K, S and micronutrients at generous levels

3. Build and maintain organic matter through cover cropping, compost, & microbial
inoculants to promote a healthy biologically active soil

4. Supply N in adequate amounts, apply in split applications, or use compost to
activate N cycle and rely on slow release N

5. Use foliar feeding at critical times

Source:  Gregg Young, California

Contact me off list if you want the resource packet from ATTRA
on Albrecht, which contains items that I've mentioned as well
as additional materials I've compiled.

Steve Diver

Allan Balliett wrote:

Schonbeck did some work a while back that seems to 'disprove' Albrecht, at least its effectiveness on SE Soils. Have you paid attention to that? I could never find out which lab he used. Of course, if he didn't use the best of labs, his findings are worthless. It was sad, though, that he gave his source for biologiical testing (SFW) but didnt give his Albrecht test lab in any materials I saw. I saw an old report, from an on-going project. Do you know how this turned out?

Yes, you are right, I misused the words 'living mulch' in that context. Still, the gist of the Baki (or whomever) method is the stem crimp that keeps the rye/vetch down but keeps it living, as well. Norma "Tomato Gal" are had a grant from Baki to study this method for tomateos and, man, could she grow tomatoes!!
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