Soil: The Staff of Life

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Farmer's Blog | 3 comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt all begins with the soil.  No matter how healthy & organic your choice crops may be, without rich, loamy soil, these plants will have a challenging time coming into fruition. There is so much information and scattered data on the links between humus-grown plants and the health of animals and humans feeding upon them.  You essentially are what you eat.  When there is a wholesome balance of soil within your growing space, plants will work with one another symbiotically practically free from disease, yielding a more bountiful crop.

Raising soil fertility, rich in Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (NPK) & avoiding the moguls of the burgeoning artificial fertilizer and pesticide industries is a must.  Why? It’s my belief that these products cause people to forget the intimate relationship with the soil as nature has made it.  If you want to grow food, I encourage exerting patient and tender efforts to keep your soil in a natural balance, cooperating with what your site has to offer.  Your food will be so much more nutrient-rich for you & your family.  Compositing your food scraps, mulching, fish emulsion, making compost tea as an amendment;  are all simple homesteading practices to help with creating quality soil.  Adding soil amendments such as earthworm castings, bat guano, kelp, chicken, cow & horse manure will ensure rich earth, attracting beneficial bacteria.  When these bacteria break down and die, their bodies become converted to humus, enriching the soil in a natural way.  Soil needs to be alive, teaming with organisms just below the topsoil.  Organisms such as earthworms which are comprised of one-hundred to two-hundred ring-like segments.  Each an independent miniature body, burrowing in the ground to depths of more than the height of a tall person.

This is nature’s plow, eating the soil as they move, ejecting it out again as castings to produce rich topsoil.  Called by Aristotle the “intestines of the soil,”  they could also be considered its vascular system, since, when they are lacking, soils get hard-packed as if their arteries had hardened.  Many don’t realize that with heavy application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a field can lose its entire earthworm population, so important for keeping it in a state of health necessary to the production of nutritious crops.

3 Comments

  1. 7-17-2013

    Great topic, Shaun! We planted legumes in our backyard garden in the hopes that over time it would increase the nitrogen in the soil. Unfortunately, the legume plants died within a week, so we haven’t been getting the natural nitrogen additives we were hoping for the soil. Do you have any recommendations for easy next steps to add nitrogen?

    • 7-30-2013

      Joyous! Here is what I would do: I would double-dig this area down about 2 feet or so, making a small trench if you will. Once this is dug-out, I would add some salmon heads along with some end-tails of the fish. Be sure to dig deep enough so that the wildlife will not be attracted to the scent. Burry this with the soil you just dug-out. When doing so, mix in a healthy dose of compost that has already been broken down, along with some cow & horse manure. Bat guano and earthworm castings are also favorites of mine to amendment with the existing soil. Massage it in. Thanks for your question! Enjoy ;)

  2. 8-24-2013

    I am so grateful for your post.Thanks Again.

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