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View Full Version : The Dirt Doctor AKA Dr. Dirty


Tim Wilson
01-11-2009, 06:28 PM
I sent the following email moments ago;

Dear Mr. Garrett,

I received this in an email today. I have hidden the name.


"XXXX said that today on “The Dirt Doctor” show, Garrett specifically discussed “someone” emailing him with evidence of microbial life in the sphagnum peat moss. Garrett told today’s audience that the evidence was false (altered with compost), and that he stood firm on his notion that sphagnum peat moss is antimicrobial."

I presume you are referring to me. You are treading on dangerous ground accusing me of falsifying tests. This is a lie you have told. I am not a liar. There was no compost used and the testing has been replicated several times and even accepted by Elaine Ingham. I want you to go ahead and tell the poeple who it is you are accusing of lying. Obviously you don't know who I am. And please give them my website address and please don't forget to mention that some of my work was requested for a soil science display at the Smithsonian Institute in DC.

Salutations,
Tim Wilson

If this is what this guy is like, then do not trust anything he says. I sent him video of the microbes emergent from sphagnum peat moss in a distilled water solution and with molasses, as shown on my website. What a dirty guy!

Prolawnservice
01-11-2009, 07:50 PM
Tim, how can you be sure it(life) wasn't in the molasses?

treegal1
01-11-2009, 07:53 PM
Tim don't feel bad, I too have had a run in or 2 with this POS product guy. even almost came to a fisticuffs at an ISA rally with this guy just going on and on about some real off the wall BS.

so also did nature sterilize the peat that the microbes made to begin with

Mr. Nice
01-11-2009, 08:04 PM
I have never run that test before to confirm it to myself but will tomorrow if I can.

Though I have no doubts that peat moss does contain spores/life. thats how it's made

Perhaps I will sterilize the molasses,water and container first to minimize contamination. And run one test with water alone for a few days.

I get back to you guy's in a few with my personal findings, maybe some poor quality pic's too if possible?

JDUtah
01-11-2009, 08:11 PM
Can somone please help me understand why this matters?

Thanks

Prolawnservice
01-11-2009, 08:21 PM
I have never run that test before to confirm it to myself but will tomorrow if I can.

Though I have no doubts that peat moss does contain spores/life. thats how it's made

Perhaps I will sterilize the molasses,water and container first to minimize contamination. And run one test with water alone for a few days.

I get back to you guy's in a few with my personal findings, maybe some poor quality pic's too if possible?

I was thinking the same thing

treegal1
01-11-2009, 08:24 PM
Can somone please help me understand why this matters?

Thankscome on jd this matters just as much as you do.........................we still talk about you???

Tim Wilson
01-11-2009, 08:32 PM
Tim, how can you be sure it(life) wasn't in the molasses?

That does happen with containers with adhered spores around the top but I always test my molasses when I do testing like this. Also, you don't get flagellates from molasses.

Tim Wilson
01-11-2009, 08:36 PM
I have never run that test before to confirm it to myself but will tomorrow if I can.

Though I have no doubts that peat moss does contain spores/life. thats how it's made

Perhaps I will sterilize the molasses,water and container first to minimize contamination. And run one test with water alone for a few days.

I get back to you guy's in a few with my personal findings, maybe some poor quality pic's too if possible?

Do you have Premier brand?

Prolawnservice
01-11-2009, 08:49 PM
what brand do you suggest?

treegal1
01-11-2009, 08:52 PM
I love the DIY high tech way to go about this but damn, what ever happened to a google search first????????????

like 849 hits, just to start.................

Prolawnservice
01-11-2009, 08:55 PM
I love the DIY high tech way to go about this but damn, what ever happened to a google search first????????????

like 849 hits, just to start.................

I guess some people just need to learn the hard way:waving:

Tim Wilson
01-11-2009, 08:55 PM
Thank you to the moderator for removing my blooper.

This only matters because many people have labelled sphagnum peat as inert and anti-microbial. It is the opposite to this and those people need correcting because they need to be careful about what they are teaching others. I do not necessarily support mining peat and do not see it as sustainable. The reason it prevents bacterial wilt and grey mold is its microbial content, not that it is an anti-microbial.

If you want to run the test; better to use Premier brand Canadian sphagnum peat moss for consistency. Put about a teaspoon into a pill bottle or...; put in about 5 to 10 times distilled water and a couple of drops of black strap molasses; shake with the lid on radically for 90 seconds, then place on a table at room temperature with the lid off and preferably with a light on. Concurrently you can do a control with just water and molasses.

Check your samples with a microscope at various periods
( 2 hrs, 4 hrs, 8 hrs, 12 hrs......72 hrs, etc). Depending where the peat was harvested and at what depth you should see; bacteria/archaea, fungal hyphae, protozoa (flagellates, amoebae, ciliates). In the molasses control, if it has been invaded you will likely see only bacteria.


Tim

JDUtah
01-11-2009, 09:48 PM
This only matters because many people have labelled sphagnum peat as inert and anti-microbial. It is the opposite to this and those people need correcting because they need to be careful about what they are teaching others. I do not necessarily support mining peat and do not see it as sustainable. The reason it prevents bacterial wilt and grey mold is its microbial content, not that it is an anti-microbial.

I understand now. Thanks. :waving:

JDUtah
01-11-2009, 09:52 PM
come on jd this matters just as much as you do.........................we still talk about you???

I wasn't knocking it one bit. Nor saying it didn't matter. I was asking why it did. I didn't know.

treegal1
01-11-2009, 10:27 PM
jd,my stick poke smiley didnt work so, poke poke. lolol


I would like to see the difference in the herd from peat to peat. we get some local peat every now and then when they dredge a lake or something like that( earth rape style ) and wounder how it compares to say Canada peat.

also phill ask about people getting tuberculosis from peat any info on that???

Smallaxe
01-12-2009, 08:51 AM
Aloe plants are suppose to be anti-microbial as well. It is the long strings of polysaccharides that make it so - in theory. Obviously one day they too will rot, but in the mean time the polysaccharides will have to be broken down.

Spagnum has been thought to be anti-microbial because it is naturally acid. Having molasses added to the mixture doesn't seem right.
If spagnum harbors and feeds bacteria then it would not be anti-bacterial. If using it as a poltice, and it stops infection it could be anti-pathogen, but it is likely to degrade one day - correct?

This looks to me like one of those cases in which the meaning of the terms is not clearly spelled out.
Is 5% acid vinegar antibacterial?

Mr. Nice
01-12-2009, 09:00 AM
Do you have Premier brand?


I don't know off the top of my head? I will try to stop by my shop to day to pick up a couple hand fulls. I want to run the test to see how my supply
measures up.

Mr. Nice
01-13-2009, 12:59 PM
Brand is premier horticulture, can't recall what grade/name? product of Canada. First thoughts after looking under the glass is that it's very fungal, many colors and shapes of fungi, no apparent active bacteria or protozoan yet at 5 min in water. will take sample's every few hours or so? try to report back tomorrow. ran three tests, all have same amount by weight of peat and RO water. two have = dilutions molasses. 1. has water, molasses + peat closed top, 2. water,molasses+ peat open top 3. peat water only open top.

Tim Wilson
01-13-2009, 05:54 PM
1803 pic; are you sure you are looking at fungal hyphae? The smaller segment to the right looks more likely than the large object.

Do you not have distilled water?

RO is ozone water right?

Kiril
01-13-2009, 10:21 PM
Do you not have distilled water?

RO is ozone water right?

Agreed, you should be using distilled.

RO = reverse osmosis.

Mr. Nice
01-14-2009, 01:30 PM
Tim, You have a good eye, I wish I had a proper camera set up.
After I posted those pic's later that night I took some real time viewing many samples of the peat.

My first thoughts after viewing the first sample I made that morning was that some of the larger translucent individual shredded peat strands were fungi because of the lack of cell walls defining plants cells and the high lighted color and fungal like growth shape?. and In fact they were not. With my self taught un trained eye, I made too quick a judgment without taking the time too view many samples. I later learned after viewing larger more intact pieces of peat that it was the source of these fungal like strands.

How ever I still believe that I viewed many much smaller broken/shredded pieces of fungi through out the peat.

At around 24 hrs I am seeing a very few active bacteria in all samples with the most being in the ones with molasses.
24hrs, Im noticing too what i believe to be fungi sprouting from spores and growing at higher rate in the two samples with molasses then without.

The one with out molasses does have a few fungi spores germinating.
I noticed very few active bacteria in the no sugar peat test sample.

pic's 1 & 2. 24hrs 20X with some zoom from camera with food
3, 24hrs 40X some zoom, no food
4. 24hrs 20X with food
5. 24hrs 4X with food

RO is reverse osmosis's water, I have a good system but yes I should be using distilled water, maybe next time.:rolleyes:

Tim Wilson
01-14-2009, 02:19 PM
Yes, now you have fungal hyphae growing. It could be that your RO water ******s bacterial growth. You didn't do the control with water & molasses?

JDUtah
01-14-2009, 02:23 PM
Ignorant question here... why would RO water ****** bacterial growth?

Mr. Nice
01-14-2009, 03:05 PM
Yes, now you have fungal hyphae growing. It could be that your RO water ******s bacterial growth. You didn't do the control with water & molasses?


No, only because i did a peat and water only test. that was the third pic.
I'll put more tests together once I get some dilstilled water.

The only reason that i think RO water would slow bacterial growth is because of low mineral count, but maybe you know of another reason that RO water might have that effect?

Mr. Nice
01-14-2009, 03:13 PM
Tim,

When I say few active bacteria, I'm saying around 1-5? per field of view at 20X for the molasses feed ones, they look like little fast mover wigglers.

Tim Wilson
01-14-2009, 08:29 PM
Ignorant question here... why would RO water ****** bacterial growth?

I dunno. just a thought. oooops arrgh!

Kiril
01-14-2009, 11:56 PM
couple of possible reasons I can think of.

1) I have seen numbers on RO water that puts it at around 6 on the pH scale. Ideally you would want pH 7.

2) RO filters do not filter all substances, in particular some herbicides, pesticides, and some bacteria. Basically anything that is small enough to pass through the membrane will. Carbon filters help in this regard to some extent.

3) Its a waste of water

Mr. Nice
01-15-2009, 10:28 AM
40 something hour, more bacteria in all samples then I can count.
Very few flagellates so far,

I think the fungi I am observing is a yeast species? Next tests needs to be aerated.



RO water, yes pH is In the 6's, but that will not hinder bacterial growth.

I have sediment and carbon prefilters before it goes through the main membrane,
some times I trap and reuse that pre filtered waste water for garden.

The better filters are way more efficient, like 3-1

It can be a waste of water but what are you going to do? distill all your water first? that would take a lot of energy.

Tim Wilson
01-15-2009, 12:08 PM
It can be a waste of water but what are you going to do? distill all your water first? that would take a lot of energy.

If you are talking about water for brewing, both RO and distilled would be ridiculous. Distilled water is used for testing to eliminate the possibility of stray microbes, causing unknown variables.

DUSTYCEDAR
01-15-2009, 12:15 PM
NEAT STUFF :irishflag:

Mr. Nice
01-15-2009, 02:33 PM
I think it was a misunderstanding on my part what Kiril was meaning by waste of water?

I think he was saying since possible small amounts of bacteria or herbicides
could possibly not be filtered out by using RO membranes that it was a
waste of water for me to use it for that purpose?

I have small micron sediment and carbon prefilters combined with the RO membranes then it get post filtered through carbon, only thing I need to add is UV light to my system and I would think? the resulting water would be pretty clean?. if that water is boiled for a while I would imagine it to be "almost" as pure as distilled?

I do not use RO water to brew tea since I have a good well water source with low TDS to do that, and has been proving to produce good tea's IMHO.
and the fact that producing large amounts of RO water is time consuming to produce,logistical issues,wastes large amounts of water in the process, and the system is expensive to acquire and maintain. I would not use it for commercial tea making unless I only had a very poor city water with more then just chlorine as an issue.

I understand completely why using distilled water is preferred over RO.
But that's all I had at the moment plus the fact that unless I set up a COMPLETE sterile environment to do the test that theirs still chance of contamination beyond my control from the time the peat is harvested till it is sitting in my humble home lab.

Adding to the variables affecting test results.

My simple tests was just to get a general idea of the possible biology. I never studied it that much alone before, Even flawed test produce results.
It was a good test to me, it helped me understand if i use those materials I would get those results. Plus all the added microscope time viewing and studying the peat and biology on the micro level helps me have a better understanding.

Did I mention that the water and just peat at 48 hrs was heavy bacterial?

Kiril
01-15-2009, 02:53 PM
I think it was a misunderstanding on my part what Kiril was meaning by waste of water?

I think he was saying since possible small amounts of bacteria or herbicides
could possibly not be filtered out by using RO membranes that it was a
waste of water for me to use it for that purpose?

Heh ... no, just that RO filters are a waste of water in general.

Personally I would like to see you do the same test but across a range of different pH values.

I have small micron sediment and carbon prefilters combined with the RO membranes then it get post filtered through carbon, only thing I need to add is UV light to my system and I would think? the resulting water would be pretty clean?. if that water is boiled for a while I would imagine it to be "almost" as pure as distilled?

A high end RO with UV and deionizer you might even surpass distilled. I have a whole house UV unit .... not cheap.

Mr. Nice
01-15-2009, 04:54 PM
Kiril,

You must have good water source? you only have to use UV?
Is this your drinking water too?

JDUtah
01-15-2009, 06:03 PM
Just to note something here.

It is my understanding that distilled water can have an even lower pH than RO water. (usually around 5.5-5.7)

It may start out neutral but it quickly dissolves atmospheric CO2 and forms carbonates which causes the water to become more acidic.

Now this doesn't negate the reason to use distilled. I just wanted to note it.

Tim Wilson
01-15-2009, 06:10 PM
The pH of the H2O is not that important in a testing proceedure as I described. The pH will be almost instantly adjusted by the peat and molasses anyway and then 'possibly' further adjusted by the emergent microbes. The distilled H2O just provides a cheap convenient source of relatively pure non-populated water.

Mr. Nice
01-15-2009, 06:15 PM
carbonates cause acidic water?

Mr. Nice
01-15-2009, 06:28 PM
Distilled water pH should be around neutral.
Ive observed high 6's always.

JDUtah
01-15-2009, 06:33 PM
My bad, I meant Carbonic Acid. It was a while back when I studied it.

Quick Google and a cut and paste explanation...

"Now with that explanation understood, distilled water will test out in a range of pH 5.5-5.8. The reason is that distilled water dissolves carbon dioxide from the air. It dissolves carbon dioxide until it is in dynamic equilibrium with the atmosphere. That means that the amount being dissolved balances the amount coming out of solution. The total amount in the water is determined by the concentration in the atmosphere. The dissolved carbon dioxide reacts with the water and finally forms carbonic acid." http://www.kangenwaterreport.com/ph-of-distilled-water/

Carbonates get involved somehow, but I would need to review it.

JDUtah
01-15-2009, 06:37 PM
Here you go...

It was bicarbonates...

Another quick search...

http://www.coolschool.ca/lor/CH12/unit4/U04L07.htm

The thing to consider here is that as time goes on (especially if aerating) it will absorb CO2 until at equilibrium with the atmosphere. And thus become more acidic just because it is no longer in a closed container.

Maybe good to understand when making Tea (the process, not the specifics of it), but like Tim said, irrelevant to the test so long as pH stays within a range fit for microbial life.

JDUtah
01-15-2009, 06:53 PM
So the CO2 is absorbed and reacts with the H20 to form carbonic acid...

This acid then converts to Bicarbonate and H+ ions which is what makes the water turn more acidic... more H+ ions floating around.

So it isn't carbonates that make it more acidic, it is the formation of carbonates that does so.

Mr. Nice
01-15-2009, 07:02 PM
Oh...It was the bicarbonates?


My well waters pH is in the 5's in spring and mid 4's in summer. My water gets buffered once cast or compost get put into it, and it don't take much. It will always put it in perfect range.

If making properly aerated tea, the aerobic bacteria populations will always help buffer the solution to neutral.

Mr. Nice
01-15-2009, 07:05 PM
Maybe you can go buy a pH meter and a gallon of distilled water, think about it a little while and then get back to me.

JDUtah
01-15-2009, 07:51 PM
Have you aerated distilled water with nothing added to it? Say for 30 mins? Test pH before and after. Try it. :)
We deal with alkaline soils out here. Different world.

Kiril
01-16-2009, 12:36 AM
The pH of the H2O is not that important in a testing proceedure as I described. The pH will be almost instantly adjusted by the peat and molasses anyway and then 'possibly' further adjusted by the emergent microbes. The distilled H2O just provides a cheap convenient source of relatively pure non-populated water.

True, I was interested in seeing what the results of forcing pH would produce (i.e. like what you might encounter in a soil). Perhaps it would be a meaningless test, don't know, but I would still be interested in the results. :)

Kiril
01-16-2009, 12:42 AM
You must have good water source? you only have to use UV?
Is this your drinking water too?

This is for my house water, not for testing/lab purposes. The filter system consists of 2 particle filters, a centaur carbon filter with KDF55 and the UV filter. Should provide the entire house with bottled water quality.

Mr. Nice
01-16-2009, 11:58 AM
Kiril,

I never heard of KDF55 before, pretty cool technology. It has a very long use life it seems?
It would work perfect as a pre filter for me.

Is your system setup to self flush out or is it manual? How much water is necessary to do that? how often does your system require flushing?

Kiril
01-16-2009, 12:34 PM
Kiril,

I never heard of KDF55 before, pretty cool technology. It has a very long use life it seems?
It would work perfect as a pre filter for me.

Is your system setup to self flush out or is it manual? How much water is necessary to do that? how often does your system require flushing?

It is an auto-flush, don't know the operational details on it yet as it is not currently running. I'm doing a full remodel on my house. The system is brand new (kinda) and is not even fully hooked up yet. Also I can't remember if I got the timer or metered version. The metered version will conserve the most water. In either event, the backwashing is going directly to the landscape, so the "waste" is somewhat mitigated.

This is pic of one of the mock-ups I took a while back. Not a true representative of the finished product, but close enough. You can see the main carbon filter, and part of the second sediment filter and UV unit on the left.

http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=102827&d=1205293530

treegal1
01-16-2009, 02:52 PM
all silver solder to I bet. nice system Kiril!!!