Crab Meal and Agricultural Lime?

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by rizzo30, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. My current soil mix that I am using consists of a mix of peat, kelp meal, EWC, humas, rock dust, agricultural lime.  I am currently using 1 cup of agricultural lime per cubic foot.  I was thinking about also adding some Neptune's Harvest Crab Shell Meal to that mix.  I have a question since I already have agricultural lime in the mix at 1 cup per cubic foot.  Should I make some new soil and instead use crab shell with that at 1 cup per cubic foot? Then I could mix that new soil with the old at equal rates so that the soil would contain 1/2 cup agricultural lime and 1/2 cup of crap shell per cubic foot.  Or should I just add in some crab shell at a rate of like 1 cup per cubic foot and just add it along with the lime?  Or should I add the crab shell meal at all?  I have been reading all around the net and a lot of people seem to recommend that stuff.  I wanted to see if any of the organics people around the forums have any ideas.

  2. what ph is your soil with the lime?
    PH? No idea.  I don't have a ph meter and have never checked ph.
  4. dolomite lime has a ph of around 8-9

    plants do good around 6.5

    you don't have to have the soil ph exact, but that's the ph where the plant absorbs the most nutrients/is least stressed

    neptune's harvest crab shell has a ph of 6.0

    if your soil is under 6, adding a little bit of dolomite lime would be good for your plants but otherwise stick with crab shell
    The mix already has dolomite lime in it.  I am thinking of adding crab shell meal to it. I am thinking about adding crab meal so it has equal parts lime compared to crab meal.  The lime is already in there so I can't get it out.  I am looking to add crab meal to it, but I'm not sure of how much I'm going to add.  I am thinking of making it as 1/2 cup lime, 1/2 cup crab meal per cubic foot.  Otherwise I was considering 1 cup lime, and 1 cup crab meal per cubic foot of soil.  Considering that the lime is already in there, I was thinking about both of those options.
  6. Crab meal contains chitin/chitosan;

    From wiki ( )

    === Agricultural and horticultural use=== The agricultural and horticultural uses for chitosan, primarily for plant defense and yield increase, are based on how this glucosamine polymer influences the biochemistry and molecular biology of the plant cell. The cellular targets are the plasma membrane and nuclear chromatin. Subsequent changes occur in cell membranes, chromatin, DNA, calcium, MAP Kinase, oxidative burst, reactive oxygen species, callose pathogenesis-related (PR) genes and phytoalexins.[4]
    Natural biocontrol and elicitor[edit]
    In agriculture, chitosan is used primarily as a natural seed treatment and plant growth enhancer, and as an ecologically friendly biopesticide substance that boosts the innate ability of plants to defend themselves against fungal infections.[5] The natural biocontrol active ingredients, chitin/chitosan, are found in the shells of crustaceans, such as lobsters, crabs, and shrimp, and many other organisms, including insects and fungi. It is one of the most abundant biodegradable materials in the world.
    Degraded molecules of chitin/chitosan exist in soil and water. Chitosan applications for plants and crops are regulated by the EPA, and the USDA National Organic Program regulates its use on organic certified farms and crops.[6] EPA-approved, biodegradable chitosan products are allowed for use outdoors and indoors on plants and crops grown commercially and by consumers.[7]
    The natural biocontrol ability of chitosan should not be confused with the effects of fertilizers or pesticides upon plants or the environment. Chitosan active biopesticides represent a new tier of cost-effective biological control of crops for agriculture and horticulture.[8] The biocontrol mode of action of chitosan elicits natural innate defense responses within plant to resist insects, pathogens, and soil-borne diseases when applied to foliage or the soil.[9] Chitosan increases photosynthesis, promotes and enhances plant growth, stimulates nutrient uptake, increases germination and sprouting, and boosts plant vigor. When used as seed treatment or seed coating on cotton, corn, seed potatoes, soybeans, sugar beets, tomatoes, wheat and many other seeds, it elicits an innate immunity response in developing roots which destroys parasitic cyst nematodes without harming beneficial nematodes and organisms.[10][11]
    Agricultural applications of chitosan can reduce environmental stress due to drought and soil deficiencies, strengthen seed vitality, improve stand quality, increase yields, and reduce fruit decay of vegetables, fruits and citrus crops (see photo right).[12] Horticultural application of chitosan increases blooms and extends the life of cut flowers and Christmas trees.[13] The US Forest Service has conducted research on chitosan to control pathogens in pine trees[14][15] and increase resin pitch outflow which resists pine beetle infestation.[16]

    NASA life support GAP technology with untreated beans (left tube) and ODC chitosan biocontrol-treated beans (right tube) returned from the Mir space station aboard the space shuttle – September 1997
    Chitosan has a rich history of being researched for applications in agriculture and horticulture dating back to the 1980s.[17] By 1989, chitosan salt solutions were applied to crops for improved freeze protection or to crop seed for seed priming.[18] Shortly thereafter, chitosan salt received the first ever biopesticide label from the EPA, then followed by other intellectual property applications.
    Chitosan has been used to protect plants in space, as well, exemplified by NASA's experiment to protect adzuki beans grown aboard the space shuttle and Mir space station in 1997 (see photo left).[19] NASA results revealed chitosan induces increased growth (biomass) and pathogen resistance due to elevated levels of beta 1-3 glucanase enzymes within plant cells. NASA confirmed chitosan elicits the same effect in plants on earth.[20]
    Nontoxic, low molecular weight chitosan polymer solutions appear to be safe enough for broad-spectrum agricultural and horticultural uses.[21][22] In 2008, the EPA approved natural broad-spectrum elicitor status for an ultralow molecular active ingredient of 0.25% chitosan.[23]
    A natural chitosan elicitor solution for agriculture and horticultural uses was granted an amended label for foliar and irrigation applications by the EPA in 2009.[12] Given its low potential for toxicity and abundance in the natural environment, chitosan does not harm people, pets, wildlife, or the environment when used according to label directions.[24][25][26] The US Forest Service tested chitosan as an ecofriendly biopesticide to prearm pine trees to defend themselves against mountain pine beetles.
  7. I'm already aware that Crab meal contains chitin/chitosan.  I was just looking into how much I wanted to add vs the dolomite lime thats already in the mix.  It seems that some do recommend both types of lime, but they recommend far less dolomite lime vs crab shell.  I'm probably just going to try to thin down the dolomite thats already in my soil by making new soil with crab shell.  I am going to mix it together and hope to end up with something like 1 cup of crab shell with 1/2 cup of dolomite lime which is 1.5 cups together per cubic foot of soil.
  8. I add it to my mix with my other food amendments @ 2cups per cf total. I mix it in with my neem, kelp, alfalfa, etc. I do not look at as a liming agent. The promix has lime. I use rock dust and oyster shell flour as the buffering agents.
    I have found that some may use something like a cup a crab
    I don't think it is a liming agent actually.  I think maybe crab and lime are compared because they both provide calcium.  I think thats probably why I tried to compare them that way.  But that looks good.  I was worried about too much "dolomite lime" as I think that can get bad when you add too much, but it seems that having a lot of crab shell meal won't hurt.  I have read that some people use something like a cup of crab meal with 2 table spoons of lime.  Maybe the lime is to up the ph a tad since crab is only around ph 6.  I think I might try to get my crab shell meal up to about 2 cups so I can thin down that dolomite a tad.
  10. Lime and crab shells are totally different ammendments you want to add both to your soil. Lime isnt as neccessary if your not using a peat based mix.
  11. "I think maybe crab and lime are compared because they both provide calcium"


    It is indeed the calcium in any amendment that works as a pH buffer in our soils. This is why many prefer to use crab or shrimp or lobster shell over lime - we end up with many other benefits plus the calcium which buffers pH.

    I don't ever add lime to my mix but I do use lobster compost plus some oyster shell flour - done.

  12. Thanks guys.  I ordered some crab shell meal from amazon last night for $35 shipped.  Thats actually the same price that my hydro store wanted.  The difference is that Amazon is willing to ship it to my door for the same price.
    I'm going to make some new soil with that crab shell and use it to mix with the old soil to thin down that lime a tad.  Its probably not uncommon for people to use as much as 2 cups of crab per cubic foot of soil, so I might do something like that to get just to get the level of lime down lower to 1/2 or 14 of a cup per cubic foot while maintaining about 2 cups per cubic foot of crab shell.
  13. Rizzo30, just so I'm clear. I mix my crab in with all my other ammendments. This food mix of neem meal, alfalfa, kelp, crab, fish, etc is then applied @ 2-3 cups per cf. Minerals such as oyster shell, NRP, greensand, azomite around 1.5 cups per cf. Rock dust @ 2-4 cups per cf.
    A lot of that is already mixed in.  I already have rock dust, green sand, kelp, I will be also adding some azomite, crab meal, chickity doo doo, neem cake (got 44 lbs for $90 from, and gypsum.  The soil already worked great so what I am doing right now are a few tweaks with it.
  15. don't put neem cake into your soil, you can use it as a top dress but it's a fungicide (bad if you're using myco) and has anti-microbial properties so it's best to use sparingly
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  16. #16 rizzo30, Jul 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
    Neem cake (the cake from neem seed, not neem oil) can be used as an amendment actually at 1/2 cup per cubic foot of soil.  I have been doing quite a bit of reading about it and a lot of them on other forums claim that it does not take much, no more than a half cup per cubic foot of soil.  Its beneficial that way to the soil as it provides nutrients like nitrogen and should keep insects away.
    I don't think the insect repelling effect is worth the microbes dying, but that's just me.
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  19. #19 jerry111165, Jul 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2013
    And where did you get this information to not add neem cake to your soil? I will tell you that you were misinformed and that neem cake is an excellent soil amendment. Yes - it does have fungicidal properties but will not kill mycorrhizae. It certainly won't kill soil bacteria. Even worms love to munch on it, making more and more bacteria. Neem cake is one of my very favorite soil amendments.

    After you top dress with it, moisten and watch the fuzzy fungus grow right on top of it - that's what a bad fungicide it is. Yes - there have been studies done and neem does contain fungicidal properties but only with certain fungi and the benefits FAR outweight the bad.

    My .02c.

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  20. #20 jerry111165, Jul 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2013
    "pinkpipe said
    Lumper - will the neem inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria and fungi, or does it only inhibit growth of 'bad' bacteria and fungi?

    For reasons that are a mystery to me and others, the addition of neem cake to a soil does not impact the aerobic fungi - neem products are anti-fungal but not much on the anti-bacterial front.

    The neem cake does not negatively impact the mycorrhizal fungi either. In fact in one study conducted in India, ecto-mycorrhizal colonies were introduced into controlled groves and the oil that was pressed was measured as well as the total yield weight and the results showed that these fungi improved to growth and development of the nut pods.

    What I found interesting about this is that the entire neem tree contains the anti-fungal properties from the root hairs up to the leaves and bark.

    I've also used it in small worm bins and then measured the fungi levels from an AACT brewed with the castings with no measurable difference from a sample from another bin where neem seed cake was not applied. Both bins were fed the exact same food items as well as amended with oyster shell powder and soft rock phosphate.



    And from another LD post -

    "In this instance, the term cake and meal are interchangeable. Neem seed cake/meal is the dried residue after the oil has been pressed from the seeds.

    All parts of the neem tree contain the agent Azadiractin (among 60+ others equally important) that provides a defense against molds, nematodes, leaf-eating insects, et al. This includes the leaves, bark, seeds, roots, branches, etc.

    The pressing does not remove all of the oil or the active agents. The Azadiractin level of the meal is generally about 1/3 - 1/2 of the PPM level of the oil that was pressed, i.e. if the neem oil tests out at 1500 PPM for Azadiractin then you could figure that the meal/cake would come in at 500 PPM - 750 PPM.

    The cake is helpful in any type of organic growing environment. It has a solid NPK profile (if you're one of those who subscribes to that paradigm), a complete micro-nutrient component as well as trace elements, phytohormones (Abscisic acid, Auxins, Cytokinins, Ethylene, Gibberellins) Vitamin C, citric acid, saponin, et al. providing improved conditions for the nitrification process, preventing root rot and other anaerobic-related problems like root aphids, gnats, etc.

    The neem seed cake also triggers a plant's defenses through a number of agents it contains resulting in systemic defense against the invasive powdery mildew"

    Here is an excellent read - Neem Abstract Courtesy of Dr. Elaine Ingham, Soil Food Web for Agrogreen Canada -

    Please also check out this study performed in India on Neem Cake and its effects on Soil Microbes. This will perhaps help explain -

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