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A fellow on the Probiotic Farmer's Alliance group on Facebook mentioned he was in search of Vitamin D supplements for his gardening. I wrote a detailed response, and figured some else here may appreciate the information as well.
"Vitamin D" is only a name we have given for a complex chain of enzymes and proteins and minerals. Like all "Vitamins" we speak of, there are actually two distinct types:
#1 - The natural Vitamin which is a complex living structure found in nature.
#2 - The synthetically derived "Vitamin" which is only a legal permission granted; like using the term "organic" or "pasteurized" to describe a legally defined set of requirements.
Vitamin (in Nature) = Complex living structure of enzymes/proteins/minerals
"Vitamin" (in Society) = Legal term used by companies to incorrectly compare their product to the above natural life form and its benefits.
The "Vitamins" we commonly see (powdered and pressed capsules) are actually incorrectly called "vitamins" (they are not
vitamins) to market them using deceptive strategy.* (Bottom of this post has more information on Vitamins and "Vitamins" in regards to human health.)
In the context of soil systems and horticulture, as a living Vitamin dies and decomposes, the enzymes/proteins/minerals (or whichever constitutes it) are consumed by surrounding biology. Once consumed, chelated forms of nutrition sit in the soil profile, attached to a colloid until being uptaken by plant roots through ionic exchange--or if they cannot bind to a soil colloid, they will run off (rinse out with watering) or by-chance, forcibly uptaken by any plant roots in active growth nearby; if the plant is younger, it is "burned" by this force-fed excess of chelated nutrition, organic or otherwise. Hence why farmers wait a minimum of 3 days after ploughing the fields; the biology is too "hot" and there are too many unbound chelated minerals; until it rains and rinses them away, or the tilled organic matter decomposes and stabilizes some in colloids.
This is why carbon-based (organic) matter is so important in the soil; it holds onto these cations and anions, which are the calcium-bound and phosphorous-bound ionic charges plants utilize for growth. This is one of several reasons why mulch is fantastic.
So the way in which Vitamin D helps uptake Calcium is such: With Vitamin D in the soil, the microbes are: a.) healthier (because they are consuming whichever enzymes/proteins/minerals the living vitamin provided when it died); b.) more diverse in species; c.) cycle populations and nutrients faster, while d.) providing immune support to the plant's rhizosphere through pathogenic suppression.
The result of all this: Studies show: "Vitamin D improves calcium uptake which improves yield".
But only because Vitamin D has base constituents that the soil was missing--and when it received it, the biology became more robust; and crop health improved.
The same thing happens when we topdress amendments like rock dusts or clays.
-All these amendments are the food sources to support diverse thriving ecology.
-All the inoculation efforts we use are the biology itself which participates in the process, ever-refining as the conditions and inputs change.
-Things like compost teas (and NFTG products) are combinations of Food Sources + Biology together. Same with Mammoth P and EM1; some microbes, plus some food for the specific microbes (and their buddies). These bottled products are actually very complex--to find shelf stable strains is expensive and time consuming. Most of these products contain largely dormant, dead, or dying populations. What survives is low concentration and narrow in scope.
So there are three components to gardening organically:
- The micro organisms present; those you import and what the soil system is exposed to.
- The food sources and habitat provided to these microbes. Diverse food sources and complex habitat favor complexity of life, which precurses the complexity of cannabinoid and terpene development we seek.
- The management practices of these stewarding and steering these populations over the period of the plants' growth cycle.
So what I'm saying is this: You don't need to be on a quest for "Vitamin D
" (ie. Super Thrive) to feed it to your microbes just so they can provide a bit more calcium to the plants. That's hydroponic thinking--always wondering what we can "give" the plant next.
No--there is a better way. A simple way which allows complexity to bloom and sort itself out most optimally over time. We then observe a state of balance in the soil--and plants grow optimally. From this point, we can begin augmenting morphology and plant response using specific inputs to shift hormonal balance and temporarily steer microbe populations toward or away from the corresponding results we expect, as suited to our purposes. (Have well mulched mineral balanced inoculated living soil with complex habitat and predatory insect presence THEN start pushing the plant directly within that system using foliars and mulch/amendment/moisture management tactics which coincide with your genetics and overall cultivation strategy/aims.)
You can just provide your soil the broad diversity of minerals and organic material needed for the biology to function optimally--to be present and always working in your soil--thereby performing same or similar functions as a "Vitamin D" application.
Vitamins are a little bit like boxes of chocolate. They are all pre-packaged assortments of biological goodies. You can buy the assorted chocolates together and give it as a gift to your plants--and they will love them and eat most of them.
Or you can start with all the ingredients from scratch (mulch and topdress), and eventually the soil will learn to provide exactly the individual chocolates your strain prefers on a moment-to-moment basis. Like having a legion of Chocolatiers living in your soil, waiting to whip up whichever batch of goodies the specific plant asks for. But either way--happy plants with plenty of chocolate to eat.
The key is just understanding when the Chocolatiers (the microbes) are running low on certain ingredients. You don't want to just hand the Chocolatiers a ton of white sugar (ie. just molasses, or just alfalfa, or just straw) because you'll end up with super-sugary cheap low-grade chocolates--the kind we get at Easter from the dollar store, that all tastes the same: like sugar.
We want the Chocolatiers to be well stocked, with all sorts of exotic ingredients, as well as plenty of the staples. That way it doesn't matter who walks in--who we plant--the strain just takes off, being fed exactly what it loves. (Even if it is those gross dark chocolates filled with cherry brandy syrup, or that sticky white minty paste from inside Junior Mints.)
Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol) is a steroid molecule formed by two hydroxlations: one in the liver, and one in the kidneys, produced by UV B radiation from sunlight on the skin, which is mediated by a nuclear receptor (a micro RNA post transcriptional mechanism). It is a spontaneous isomerisation produced by living beings exposed to sunlight. Each organism processes the light differently, and below are the organisms which produce "Vitamin D" (the specific set of ingredients the original poster sought.)
are great bioremediators and dynamic accumulators, and by-weight they have a decent amount of Vitamin D. Good mineral source as well. I'm sure there are plenty of mushrooms around the neighbourhood to pick--all kinds. I've been adding mushrooms to my soil for six years and never had any problems; both in soil mixes and as mulch. A lot of random shrooms bloom from my living soil pots. They need carbon (organic matter). Using straw/woodchip mulch helps.
have a fair quantity of Vitamin D, but are an imported and heavily sprayed crop. I have not used Oranges in FFJ recipes, but have seen others living in more equatorial climates utilizing local citrus.
& Cod Liver Oil
- These are also rich in Vitamin D. Perhaps making your FFA (Fish Amino Acid) out of Salmon or Tuna. It is also no wonder why I have seen several studies by universities on the effects of Cod Liver Oil on agriculture; both in rearing animals and plants, it always demonstrates improved yields. I read one particular study which demonstrated repeatedly an 8% increase in yield (Corn) from a single application of Cod Liver oil at only 1ml / L in the early season. That is 1:1000, very dilute.
I've personally seen great success using Cod Liver Oil to grow nearly world record breaking sized blueberries; multiple 12gram and 14gram specimens, just shy of the largest recorded. I myself add Cod Liver Oil to a compost tea at least once every crop. I'm an islander, and there are lots of fish waste products around for the garden compost as well.
I highly recommend making Fish Amino Acid--it is such a powerful tool for the farmer. Made properly, it does not smell foul. It is long lasting and, like all KNF recipes, can be tailored for specific applications by modifying the inputs.
Just as I have different FPJs for:
-Stem Strength & Mildew Resistance (Silica from Horsetail and Silica+Calcium bicarbonate from Scotch Broom)
-Vegetative Growth & Physical Stress (after cuttings or deer damage) & Transition (Comfrey for faster cell division)
-Transition & Seed Ripening (Nettle for hormonal support)
-Delaying Male maturation (Fern fronds for gibberellic acid)
I also have different LABs, IMOs, FFJs, and FFAs for different specific applications. Basically as the years go by, I am always on the look out for waste streams to divert, and seasonal resources to harvest sustainably.
*IMPORTANT INFO ON VITAMINS:
The legal authority to call these unliving simple powdered compressed chemical cocktail Pills the word "vitamins" was lobbied heavily in the 1950s and still remains part of ignorant popular culture today.
Fact: Vitamins only come from fresh fruit and vegetables. Because a vitamin is a living structure, it is subject to deterioration; and so with exposure to oxygen, within 10 minutes the vitamin has died (broken apart into its base organic compounds) and is no longer a vitamin. Vitamins are complex living structures, which when we consume them, break into base constituents which improve our health.
All "Vitamin" products sold today are actually not at all the living structure called a Vitamin which has been studied for nearly a century. They are only legally allowed to use the term "Vitamin", just like how legal systems outline what is and is not: Champagne, Parmesan Reggiano, Organic, Natural, Pasturized, Kosher, Halal, etc.
Calling something the same name does not make it the same thing!
Pill "Vitamins" =/= Real Vitamins
Totally different. One helps, one harms.
This is what happens in your body when you take Powdered Pill Vitamins:
The company has synthesized an acid-chain which behaves similar to the acid-chain which holds together the real Vitamin found in nature. Using Vitamin C for example: in nature Vitamin C is made of 13 different enzymes/minerals/proteins held together by Ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is just like the acid in DNA or RNA--it is information which carries out a purpose. Ascorbic acid is what tells Oranges to "Make Vitamin C". It is an acid chain which literally instructs--like a soccer coach blowing a whistle for his team to pay attention and come together--how the organism should function. Each of the specific little minerals, enzymes, and acids (proteins) all come together intelligently to form what is Vitamin C. Formed by Ascorbic acid inside the orange, then consumed by us--and then broken down into its base constituents and new compounds are made. This process improves our health.
But when synthetic ascorbic acid--which gained the legal permission to be called "Vitamin C"--when it goes into a system--any system, be it a rat or a human or a petri dish--it will specifically do what its information (itself) tells it to do: to form Vitamin C.
And so taking "ascorbic acid" and consuming products laced with "ascorbic acid" is really just sending the Coach into your body. He goes in, blows the whistle--and your body; your bones, teeth, organs, skin, blood, fat--supplies the materials he needs. Your body quite literally is commanded by ascorbic acid ("Vitamin C") to create--from your own tissues--a new Vitamin C.
The only problem is that in nature, ascorbic acid has a different charge. The synthetic ascorbic acid's charge is the polar opposite. So while natural ascorbic acid combines minerals/enzymes/proteins(acids) into a Vitamin within the Fruit, which is absorbed by the Human being--artificial ascorbic acid enters the system, mines minerals/enzymes/proteins into a Vitmin within the body, but it carries an incompatible charge for re-uptake; and so the body flushes it out, unwilling to break it down again.
With honest intentions,