Experiments,  How To

New experiments are here

For spring 2022 we are testing the FDC in three ways:

1) using seeds for germination and growth tests

2) applying to a lawn, or top dressing a lawn

3) use with seedlings (already started plants)

Each method has a few variations, but the processes are pretty straightforward.

General rules when applying and testing FDC

You need to do “twins” — for each plant variety or tree type or lawn area, try to select a roughly identical pair of plant and locations. 

Apply the Fungal-Dominant Compost (FDC) to only one of the two plants (trees, lawn areas); the second plant will be your reference. Both plants must be exposed to the same conditions (light, water, fertilizer, pruning, cutting etc.) at all times.  These guidelines work for planting indoor seedlings or planting straight into your garden or field. 

We recommend that in advance, prepare marker sticks or a map to distinguish plants WITH FDC and NO FDC.

Its good practice to do your NO FDC work first followed by your WITH FDC work to avoid transfer of trace amounts of FDC. 

Choose the method of FDC application from the following that best corresponds with your situation.

Seeds
  • Seeds – Solid FDC on seed and into loose soil of furrow or prepared hole or pot.
  • Lightly moisten the FDC with water if needed.1  Drip or use a clean spray bottle.
  • Tumble the seed(s) with the FDC in a container. 
  • Pinch one seed together with a pinch of FDC  and plant into moist soil. Mark FDC.   
  • Record the seed variety, planting date and notable observations.
  • Take photos every week during the growing season.

This method places the FDC where it can be most effective, starting the symbiotic relationship between fungi and seed immediately at germination. The “pinch” method works for larger seeds like corn, beans, squash, and even beets … not so well with the tinier seeds. For tinier seeds its probably best to add the FDC to the soil row before planting.

Existing Lawn and Tree Root zones
  • Existing Lawn & Tree Root Zones – we recommed making a liquid soak with the FDC solids – and then water into the soil.
  • Two hours before the planned drench, place 150 grams / 1  cup of FDC inside a cheese cloth or tea bag and then soak it in 15 litres/4 gallons of water1. You can also add the FDC in bulk into the water and strain it afterwards. 
  • After 2 hours of soaking, stir the FDC in the water vigorously for 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the compost solids from the water with a kitchen strainer as required by the watering can sprinkler head. Sprinkle solids on the target area.
  • Sprinkle (drench) an area about 100 sq. ft. or 10 sq. m. of existing lawn or around the root zone at the base of a tree. If the soil is dry, water the FDC in after the drench.
  • Identify a similar area which does not receive FDC and give it the same watering.
  • Record the drench date and notable observations.
  • Take photos every three months for 24 months.

Variation on the lawn experiment when overdressing or starting a new lawn

  •  Grass Seed  – Broadcast Dry Mix of Grass Seed and FDC
  • Mix 4 parts grass seed with 1 part FDC by volume in a pail, dry.
  • Prepare the two target lawn areas, one the same as the other.
  • Broadcast grass seed without FDC across the comparison target lawn area.
  • Broadcast, at the same rate, the FDC/seed mix evenly across the target lawn area.
  • Ideally pick a cloudy evening before a rain. Lightly rake and then water the seed mix and the seed only into the soil immediately after broadcasting. Fungal microbes in the compost don’t like being exposed to the sun’s UV.
  • Record the drench  date and notable observations.
  • Take photos before every grass cut for two seasons.

Consider using a mulching blade and leaving the grass clippings and chopped fall leaves on the lawn. 

Starting seedlings or bare root planting

Seedlings – You may use one of two methods: Liquid FDC sprayed on the seedling, or FDC placed into the loose soil of the planting furrow or prepared hole or pot.

Spraying
  • Plan to spray at the most humid part of the day, usually evening or early morning. Humidity helps a foliar (leaf) spray to stick to a leaf.
  • Two hours before the planned spray, place 150 grams or 1 cup of FDC inside a cheese cloth or tea bag and then soak in 15 litres / 4 gallons of water1.. After 2 hours of soaking, stir the  compost in the water vigorously for 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the compost solids from the water as required by the sprayer nozzle.
  • Wash hands and then plant seedling(s) without FDC into loose soil of furrow or prepared hole or pot. Mark.
  • Spray the plant twin(s) with the FDC extract using a clean sprayer or spray bottle not previously used for other chemicals. Try to cover all the surfaces of the plant.  
  • Spray into loose soil of furrow or prepared hole or pot hole.
  • Record the seedling variety and planting date.
  • Repeat the process for each pair of seedlings.
  • Take photos every week during the growing season.

Remember – After applying the FDC, make sure you treat all plants, with or without FDC, in the exact same way; same water, same light, same fertilizer, same pruning or cutting, etc.

Now Compare

Document your work by comparing the plants you added compost to with those you didn’t add compost to. Time, speed of growth or change of size; here are some of the measurements you can take. You don’t need to take them all, but the more the merrier!

–        Germination speed (days from sowing to when you see the first 5 seedlings); only applicable for seed applications.

–        Plant height (measured in cm every, ideally second week; record the week you apply the FDC and the week you measured the plant; take photos!)

–        Stem thickness (measured in mm, ideally every second week; record the week you apply the FDC and the week you measured the stem; take photos!)

–        Root length: pull one plant with FDC and one plant without and measure the length (in mm) of their roots (record the week you apply the FDC and the week you measured the roots; take photos!)

–        Yield (measured in lbs, ideally every time you harvest; record the week you apply the FDC and the week you harvested; take photos!)

–        Brix — the Brix test looks at sugar levels in the leaf. If you don’t have a “refractometer” you will need to borrow one. Contact info@onfungi.net to see about arranging a loaner.

Now Share Results

The last step to become a hero is to inspire others! Share your experience and results with us and others.

–        Share your data with us through this simple form  and/or

–        Write a story with your results and photos, and enjoy the following:

o   Be featured in our website and social media (if you want)

o   Enter a draw for a one $20 gift card from Nature’s Apprentice Farm and 5 compost kits.

RESULTS FORM

–        Name*

–        Email*

–        Species* (e.g. carrot, grass); dropdown menu + “other, please specify”

–        Method of application* (seed, plant-liquid or plant-solid); dropdown menu

–        Germination speed (the number of days after you sowed your seeds) with FDC

–        Germination speed (the number of days after you sowed your seeds) without FDC

–        Plant height

o   Week (the number of weeks since you applied the FDC) ???every week until harvest or one number at harvest???)

o   Height of plant with FDC (in cm)

o   Height of plant without FDC (in cm)

o   Upload photos

–        Stem thickness

o   Week (the number of weeks since you applied the FDC)

o   Stem thickness with FDC (in mm)

o   Stem thickness without FDC (in mm)

o   Upload photos

–          Brix

o   Week (the number of weeks since you applied the FDC)

o   Brix with FDC

o   Brix without FDC

–        Root length at Harvest

o   Week (the number of weeks after you applied the FDC)

o   Root length with FDC (in mm)

o   Root length without FDC (in mm)

o   Upload photos

–        Yield

o   Week (the number of weeks since you applied the FDC)

o   Yield with FDC (in lbs)

o   Yield without FDC (in lbs)

o   Upload photos


[1] Rain water is ideal. If you are on city water, leave the water out in an open container for 24 hours prior so that the chlorine evaporates. Otherwise it may kill or compromise some of the microbes in your FDC.


Citizen Scientist and Regeneration Influencer

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