DEAR NEW FARM:
What is the progress with your research on sequestration
of carbon in soil as described in your
2003 article? Also interested in your progress growing
mycorrhizal fungi on the farm?
This past fall 2006, we took deep core soil samples across
all three systems in our Farming Systems Trial. We will have
these samples analyzed to look at soil carbon in the three
systems comparatively. We are also exploring the possibility
of collaborating with USDA scientist Kristy Nichols to examine
the glomalin content of the samples. Glomalin is a glycoprotein
produced by mycorrhizal fungi and is hypothesized to be a
large portion of the recalcitrant (long-lasting) carbon in
soils. These analyses take time and are costly, so we are
exploring sources of funding (which is in itself a process).
Collaborating with USDA-ARS scientist David Douds, PhD,
we are continuing with on-farm production of mycorrhizal fungi
using inoculated Bahia grass. Two varieties of garlic were
inoculated with the fungi and planted this past fall, and
we will compare growth and yield of inoculated and non-inoculated
garlic plots. The inoculant will be used this coming spring
on potatoes, sweet corn and possibly sweet potatoes.
Dr. Douds also started a long-term fallow experiment where
we will be monitoring the viability of mycorrhizal fungi in
a long-term fallow scenario. We will also be looking at the
effects of non-host plants (brassicas, forage radish, rapeseed)
on the long-term effect of mychorrizae fungi in these field
us with comments, suggestions and questions.