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Quantum Thinking

Posted by Michael Phillips 
Quantum Thinking
February 22, 2020 04:57AM
Last year's primary research project at Lost Nation Orchard consisted of comparison trials between suggested manufacturer rates of Quantum Force and my own intuitive take on cutting those rates in the context of a holistic program. Fatty acids equal deep nutrition, ergo, beneficial microbes carry forward. Please go to our Library and read the paper just posted on Quantum Thinking to come up to speed with me on this.

We had a phenomenal apple crop in 2019. What was especially mind-blowing was how apples hung on, continued to size, and became ever more flavorful. Admittedly one year is nowhere near enough to give any trial justification . . . but I am excited about "the purple guys" (aka photosynthetic bacteria) and just as pertinently certain bacterial teammates. Species in the genus Bacillus, for instance, are important disease control agents because they synthesize a variety of biologically active molecules (lipopeptides) that induce leakage in fungal membranes thereby greatly reducing the virulence of fungal pathogens like scab and rust.

Photosynthesis is the name of the game in growing any crop. Front end implementation is critical. Microbes that enhance photosynthetic capacity enable fuller cell division. Larger fruit size is one result. Adding Bacillus and friends to a tank mix with Effective Microbes (EM) increases arboreal diversity. Some of you are microbe skeptics and that's fine. Those willing to catch this wave can work all the more with an integral means by which Nature does health.

Show interest in this post and I will be quite happy to engage in further discussion.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Quantum Thinking
March 11, 2020 07:16AM
I am very interested in this, I have already ordered some Quantum Total to add in this years' sprays, it certainly sounds like a valuable addition to boost tree health through these photosynthetic purple guys!. We too had an outstanding crop this past season. However our cider apples ripened very unevenly. Size is not so much a concern as is maturity and sugar levels. As it turned out, our sugars were fine. We were able to deliver enough for our brewer to make a single batch of hard cider exclusively from our orchard! He did a wild ferment with no added sugar and it came out at 9%ABV. Best of all, it is delicious!

2 questions I have: 1 - Is there any way to increase the volume of Quantum via home brew like we do with EM? Cost is a big consideration for me and I'm sure others.

Second: with the brewer doing a wild ferment with our apples, I'm wondering what effect, if any, all these microbes have on the natural yeast in our orchard which produced an extraordinary brew this year! And, will the Terroir be changed?

From Wiki ..........Terroir (/tɛˈrwɑːr/, French: [tɛʁwaʁ]; from terre, "land" is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop's phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop's specific growth habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroir also refers to this character.[1]

Some artisanal crops for which terroir is studied include wine,........

Cider is basically apple wine, we are ecstatic with the results this year, but I think our trees and the flavor profiles can do better. Am I over-worrying this?

Vista Ridge Orchard
Zone 8a in Washington
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
Re: Quantum Thinking
March 11, 2020 03:31PM
Microbe diversity is fascinating stuff. Let's add a little more to the quantum story first by pointing to the Winter 2020 edition of Community Orchardist to reveal a few more pertinent details.

I determined to my own satisfaction that we can use lower rates in a holistic orchard than suggested by the manufacturer (who more often than not anticipates a sterile tree canopy from chemical use). This season I will be going with the "fiscal squeeze" rates shown in that paper posted in our Library. That requires 2 gallons of Quantum Total per acre for the whole season.

The lactobacilli and yeasts found in effective microorganisms (EM) are facultative, by which is meant able to handle both an aerobic and an anaerobic environment. There is legitimate debate that photosynthetic organisms survive the acid bath that EM replicates (activates) in so agreeably. That fact is what got me here in the first place. Nor is this solely about the "purple guys" as Quantum Total contains sixteen specific microbes, including other photosynthesizers and a host of Bacillus spp very useful for thwarting disease organisms. This is a team that comes ready to go in the jug.

Meanwhile, Steve Selin of South Hill Cider asked a profound question at our Berkshire Meeting last week. "What about cider lees as a substitute for EM? Can I use my yeasts to restore canopy populations in the growing season?" The one paper I found on this, entitled Cider Lees: An Interesting Resource From the Cidermaking Industry, confirms that lactobacilli are in lees as well, along with a significant amount of fatty acids. Believe me, I am all over this idea and will soon start a lees culture to use in conjunction with the Quantum microbes in orchard sprays.

That said I don't think the yeasts in EM threaten anyone's terroir, Karen. Saccharomyces cerevisiae has an established history in wine making. Candida utilis is commonly found as well. Your thinking on this is certainly good. Now I wish I had a bottle of your cider!

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Quantum Thinking
March 12, 2020 06:07AM
Michael, how will you cultivate/culture your lees? This is a fascinating idea that Steve proposed, at minimum I would be eager to also try this from the lees from our cider only to start with!

Vista Ridge Orchard
Zone 8a in Washington
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
Re: Quantum Thinking
March 12, 2020 05:02PM

This notion of working with the microbes in cider lees is to be discovered. I can see a correlation to activating effective microbes, in that blackstrap molasses is a carbon source to launch both lactobacilli and yeasts. Two plus gallons of lees plus two gallons blackstrap makes for a 44 gallon batch of effective cider microbes (based on same proportions used with EM mother culture). Time for a new acronym however: ECM! I could also see adding a charge of whey or a gallon or two of whole milk. What I don't want is much for alcohol from overly wet lees, as fending off acetobacter need not be part of this brew process. (Using lees from a failed batch of cider, going vinegary, will also introduce significant acetobacter and take this idea in an entirely undesirable direction.) We have much to discover. Being able to analyze resulting ECM populations would be interesting but probably beyond a grower's ken.

Anyhow, ECM should become a thread in its own right once we have some solid experience to report. I expect homegrown ECM will be a perfect complement to the quantum microbes. And that this organism teamwork will be the next big step up in growing healthy fruit.


Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/23/2020 02:59AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Quantum Thinking
May 02, 2020 10:12PM
HI Michael,

Do you have an update on Quantum? Are you adding it as a recommendation to the holistic orchard sprays? I heard you mention it at the apple meeting but didn't realize how beneficial you had found it to be until I read these posts. What about your research halving the rate? Thanks for your thoughts!

Re: Quantum Thinking
May 03, 2020 02:07PM
Discussing "quantum" seems to be happening in parallel universes. This answer was posted to your earlier versions of these questions the day before on the thread about fermenting (activating) this organism consortium:

The 2019 season marked my first trials with Quantum microbes, Linda. My goal then was twofold: See that this additional product cost was warranted and to show how recommended rates could be lowered in a holistic (nutritional) context. Results in both respects were a go, as reported earlier. If anything, I'm more excited now as I see good return bloom on trees that gave a good crop last year. Such is the marvel of enhanced photosynthesis. This 2020 season I will be spraying the entire orchard at 2 gallons total per acre for the entire season, at the varying "bud stage rates" as specified in that Quantum paper in the Library. Meanwhile,there are several of my consulting clients along with Karen out in Washington state who will also be trialing Quantum in 2020 as well.

Tank mixing helpful organisms with Serenade or any organic mineral fungicides is not a good idea. Regalia is fine as that works more along the lines of an immune stimulant. Divergent strategies often need to be applied separately.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Quantum Thinking
May 05, 2020 11:15PM
Thanks, Michael,
Sorry for the redundancy. I checked on my post the first time and it was blank so I wrote another one and thought here was probably the more appropriate thread. Thanks for the tips and I will head to the 'library'.

Bonkers and Roxbury Russets are in full bloom. Bees are out!
Best, Linda
2020 Spring Update /R. Palustris application and inquiry
May 18, 2020 09:00AM
I've elected to employ the Quantum Light this year as opposed to the Quantum Total of last season out of a desire to explore the effects of the pure isolated R. Palustris, and because I'm most interested this year in an almost exclusively foliar application of this elusive and interesting microbe.

Quantum Total contains two beneficial rhizobacteria that not only combat pathogens via sequestering access to iron, but also serve to alleviate abiotic stressors such as high salt concentrations. Quantum Total also contains some humic acid content. Quantum Light, on the other hand, is exclusively R. Palustris or Purple Bacteria. I will occasionally use R. Palustris as a soil and rhizome additive in addition to foliar applications, but the majority and main emphasis will be upon the phyllosphere not the soil. That said, R. Palustris can also be an unbelievably interesting soil microbe as well and it is worth reading more about for anyone interested. This year I want to explore maximum photosynthesis in, "all frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum". Incredibly cool stuff indeed.

We were heavily prioritizing building a soil food web last year and for this reason I wanted the Quantum Total. This emphasis also entailed an extensive use of compost teas (a friend brought me old growth forest soil and sea water from the Pacific Northwest as an interesting side note) in addition to all of Michael's wizardry with fatty acids and spray schedules. Soil is obviously still the fundamental point of emphasis, but Micheal's anecdotes of his trails with purple bacteria foliar sprays made me want to try out the Quantum Light for myself this year so that I could explore some of this super photosynthetic mojo. The thinking is that the entire soil food web is predicated on photosynthesis and the utilization of an ultra photosynthetic, electron eating bacteria above ground to supercharge rhizospheric access to sugars, acids, and liquid carbon may potentially allow the entire trophic web to grow substantially more powerful. Evidently this microbe is being used to treat polluted soils with great success. This is something we could discuss further. It almost seems akin to the molecular decomposition employed by fungi in it's ability to remove contaminates. Perhaps it plays a role in facilitating larger populations of fungi and other soil organisms which do the majority of the removing. I don't know. Do you?

My experience with Purple Bacteria is perhaps not as applicable to others on this forum as our trees and plants are still establishing themselves and the state of our soil biome was more or less sterile from the standpoint of functioning trophic assemblages. Thus far, although precarious and challenging, our progress here has been encouraging and the bases of our trees are now mostly worm castings. The tons of woodchips we've laid over our starving soil are densely laced with copious webs of fungal hyphae and thriving populations of worms and insects. The soil now moves with life when the duff is pulled back. There are huge numbers and diversity of predatory wasps, flies, and beetles. I can't isolate the benefits of Quantum Total from the other measures we employed, but there has been a consistent increase and progression in life within and emerging from the soil. Roots in succession now show glomalin clumping rather than the barren cleanliness of alkaline weed rhizomes. The soil darkens and aggregates. We are employing every possible advantage at our disposal with very little experience in what is essentially a desert. The purple stuff is one tool of many.

Because of other existential preparations were higher priority, it is only in the last week I obtained this seasons first gallon of Quantum Light. For me, totally subjectively, I am liking the light more. Because there aren't any humic acids in it and it's only the R. Palustris, the fluid is faintly violet, it is lighter and I feel more confident being overzealous in applying it. I think the addition of the fatty acids suggested by Michael in his Library article on the topic of Purple Bacteria is a great idea to prolong the presence of the microbes on the leaf surface and an order of Fish Hydrolysate is inbound for that purpose.

As far as the additions of Lactobaccilus and yeasts, I still plan on exploring my own propagations similar in ways to the cider ECM described above. My departure point is from emerging methods of microbe based agriculture from Korea, but the idea is exactly the same: the propagation of indigenous beneficial microorganisms using readily available and inexpensive materials and methods. Returning to the point however, I plan on spraying the R. Palustris almost exclusively and using the LAB and yeasts in a more supplemental role, with no basis in experience or scientific method, according as much to the whims of the Elves as anything else.

Karn Piana
Zone 7 Semi-Arid Steppe
Northern New Mexico

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2020 11:38PM by Karn Piana.
Re: Quantum Thinking
March 30, 2021 12:16AM
Karen Brindle Wrote:
> Second: with the brewer doing a wild ferment with
> our apples, I'm wondering what effect, if any, all
> these microbes have on the natural yeast in our
> orchard which produced an extraordinary brew this
> year! And, will the Terroir be changed?

> Cider is basically apple wine, we are ecstatic
> with the results this year, but I think our trees
> and the flavor profiles can do better. Am I
> over-worrying this?

Maybe this is a separate discussion, but I do think the EM can impact fermentations. When I spray Teraganix's EM-1 on our cider apples I have noticed a greater tendency for butyric acid to be produced if the cider is fermented without SO2. Butyric acid in very small amounts increases complexity, in higher doses...well, it smells/tastes like baby vomit. I did my best to isolate all possible causes and found that the EM-1 was the most likely cause. Butyric acid is associated with many strains of LAB and some strains of brett yeast. Fortunately, I don't think this is a major concern. First, even half the usual addition of SO2 prevented the problem in my batches. At 1/2 the recommended rate you can still do a wild fermentation most of the time. Also, more frequent wracking seemed to help. The addition of a lysozyme completely prevented the problem even if no SO2 was added (the lysozyme specifically targeted LAB without impacting yeast). Finally, it wasn't always a problem--even in completely untreated must. The issue was enough to make me try a different product last season. However, my replacement product didn't seem to work as well as the EM-1 from Teraganix. so I'm going back to it. This season should yield more definitive results.
I think if we're spraying enough microbes onto the trees to impact the health of the tree that will have to affect terroir (mostly for the good, potentially for the worse) or there is really no meaning to the term. It's the weird yeasts at the beginning of fermentation, before Saccharomyces cerevisiae take hold, and the bacteria (usually toward the end) that make wild fermentations distinctive and a bit riskier than using commercial strains.

Nat Bouman
Growing cider varieties in Zone 5b
On B.118 at 18X24
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
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