Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Why Do We Buy Fertilisers to Grow Plants if There is More Than Enough of Nutrients and Minerals Already in Our Soils?

Hello!  Why do we buy fertilisers to grow plants if there is more than enough nutrients and minerals already in our soils?

I remember when I was a kid, we grew some of our food and ornamental plants in our backyard and in the community garden plot.  All food we grew, we ate in the short period of time or we made preserves.  Nothing got wasted.  Any garden or organic 'waste' we composted and the compost was the 'fertiliser' we used in the garden to grow plants.  We never bought fertilisers.

What is a fertiliser?  It's a chemical or natural substance added to a soil to increase its fertility.

Soils is the topic that gets me excited - that's probably why I used to play in the mud a lot as a kid :-) I had so many questions in my mind about soils that I decided to research the topic.

What is a Soil?  Why is it that we buy inorganic or organic fertilisers to grow our plants?  Do we actually need these fertilisers?  What is it that we actually need to do to retain fertility and water in our soils?

Are the fertilisers only 'a band aid' for a short time gain?  What happens in the soil when we use these fertilisers?

What is it that our soils actually are lacking of and why? Why are we running out of clean water and topsoil?  What is happening in our fresh water? 

After researching a bit I found these videos below from Living Web Farms titled with Life in the Soil with Dr. Elaine Ingham  and Life in the Soil with Dr. Elaine Ingham - Soil Food Web  - Dr. Elaine Ingham is a microbiologist from www.soilfoodweb.com .

Oh boy, did she blew me away with her knowledge - and even she has an academic background - with her easy to understand language.

Wow, now more than ever...I really love my compost with those millions of hard working beneficial microbes which are such a crucial part of turning nutrients available to my plants.

My plants are feeding 'cakes & cookies' (exudates) to beneficial microbes in the root zone and return microbes are releasing soluable (available form) nutrients to my plants - to me that sounds like a perfect relationship.  Thank you Dr. Ingham for sharing your knowledge :-)

Hope you enjoy these videos as much I did :-)

Heli Iso-Aho