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Milan HP January 7, 2021 06:19 AM

Humic Substances as Fertilizer
In the past 2 years I have heard a lot about how useful humic substances can be in growing almost anything. However, there are very few guidelines related to the details of their application apart from the instructions on the bottle.
Are there any Tomatovillians who use them regularly? Are humic substances as "miraculous" as some people say?

Thank you.

Milan HP

zipcode January 7, 2021 10:56 AM

I have used the somewhat cheap substance known as leonardite (still overpriced for what it is) in my pots. It is high in humic substances. Can't say I saw any benefit, but the pot mixes are already high in organic material. Expensive stuff like potassium humate will have the obvious benefit of lots of K.

biscuitridge January 7, 2021 12:31 PM

I believe that most giant pumpkin and tomato growers all use it.

Milan HP January 7, 2021 03:10 PM

Well, I am asking because I dipped half of my tomato seedlings prior to transplant in lignohumate solution (not really potassium lignohumate) for about 2 hours. As it was from 10 to 5 days ago (I did it in several stages) I haven't got any results yet. But the first plant to blossom was Sophie's Choice treated in that way. Actually, I've just checked on them: thare are as many as 4 plants in flower (S.C. + both Starts F1 - treated and untreated and Nelinka). 3 of them LGH treated. I'll be watching them for differences as they grow.
I am also interested in how or if at all use lignohumate in watering my plants.

Milan HP

biscuitridge January 7, 2021 03:46 PM

I believe one of the main benefits is that it's a chelater, so that it makes what's in your soil more available to the plants.

zipcode January 8, 2021 04:39 AM

From what I know humic acids are not really soluble in normal water, so to have a liquid form you need high pH (9 seems common). I looked into lignohumate and this is the definition I found: Lignohumate is an industrially produced analog of natural humic substances, produced by thermal processing of technical lignosulfonate (so by processing some byproduct of wood industry).

As biscuitridge said, it's mostly about micronutrients (they benefit the most from chelating). If you don't feel you are limited by their availabilty, humates won't really help (also, unless you are using pure hydroponic setup, you will have some humates in there). The cheaper source of these would be manure (some more than others, I think cow is quite good), old decomposed peat, compost.

Milan HP January 8, 2021 12:03 PM

There are industrially manufactured products on the market, so I don't worry much about acidity. I am thinking about adding it to water for my plants in pots indoor, that is at home. I have experimented with dipping the seedlings in lignohumate prior to transplant. Results not known yet. I do have a control group of the same varieties. We'll see what happens.

Unfortunately, manure of any kind is out of the question if I don't want to get a divorce.;) In my garden I use manure a lot. I've tried cow and chicken manure and chicken manure seems to be the better option (properly fermented and used) for during-vegetation fertilizing with water and cow manure is better for pre-season patch fertilizing. And horse manure is good for cucumbers.:)

Milan HP

Milan HP January 20, 2021 04:27 PM

Here's my first progress report.
When I compare lignohumate treated plants to their counterparts in the control group, I can see quite a lot of difference. Start 1 was a bit more developed than Start 2 before I transplanted them. So I decided to "support" Start 2 by dipping the roots in lgh and see if "she" (is it true that English speaking people call anything they love "she"? Ships, cars, pets?) would catch up. She did and more than that: 3 bunches of flowers as opposed to two, larger fruits. I admit that it may be partly because of different intensity of light (it isn't by far evenly spread), but the same pattern can be seen in Arctic Roses and Sophie's Choices. Especially the S.C. whose roots were also dipped in lgh (4 bunches of flowers and one visible fruit the size of a marble) has gone far ahead of her sister, who hasn't even started to flower yet. The treated AR is in full bloom (2 bunches) and her sibling hasn't even opened one "eye". In the other two varieties (Tomato Berry and Nelinka) the differences are not obvious enough to be perceptible, perhaps because they didn't start on the same line.
I wouldn't like to make any certain conclusions, it's too early for that, but there are visible signs suggesting that humic substances might be beneficial. Now I treat my plants fair: they get the same amount of water or fertilizer. I decided to use lgh once every 3 or 4 weeks for watering. Next week I'll do it first time.

Milan HP

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