How Do I Increase Soil Fertility?

Soil fertility is the most important consideration for organic gardeners. It is the foundation on which all your labors and investment rests yet it is forgotten by most well intentioned gardeners.

So, what is fertile soil? At it's most basic definition, it is life sustaining. It has a balanced chemistry of basic elements with abundant levels of organic matter. It has Humus which is comprised of Humic and Fulvic Acid. It is populated with diverse micro-organisms such as fungi, bacteria, nematodes, protozoa, trace minerals and earth worms. This is the foundation of organic gardening.
Years ago, I remember seeing a depiction of the cycle of life in a fifth grade Earth Sciences textbook It showed how everything comes up from the earth and eventually it all returns back to where it came. I think we all can remember seeing this at some point. The sad thing is that we have largely forgotten it. Land development, tillage and chemical applications have destroyed this vital natural resource.
The good news is we you can do something about it! Let's start with a simple soil test to determine what the current levels are. Your results will tell you what needs to be added as well as how much.
The two most frequent problems are improper pH levels for the intended crop and insufficient levels of organic matter. Research has shown that up to ninety eight percent of your plants growth comes directly as a result of available organic matter (i.e., compost) available in the soil, you can easily understand how important this is. Low pH levels inhibit the absorption of fertilizer and the plants can literally starve to death despite furtive efforts.

"Modern Farming Methods" are not sustainable. These methods destroy the very micro-organisms needed to grow healthy crops. We take from the earth and yet we largely neglect putting anything back and when we do it is usually a synthetic chemical. Guess who is eating these chemically treated, nutritionally vacuous foods?

I’ve said for years that “what you're growing - can’t be any more healthy than the what it is being grown in.” However, it is Baron Justus Von Liebig credited with the discovery what is now known as the ‘Law of Minimums.’ Liebig proved that soil having a deficiency in any one element would result in deficient growth, even if the other elements are in abundant supply.

It’s all about balance. Once you get a grasp of this, you can amend your with trace minerals and elements that you want in your diet and eliminate the chemical compounds that you don't want. Start by adding a good quality compost. To wrap it all up you can inoculate your garden with Mycorrhizal Fungi.

Remember, Organic Gardening Is A Process. Not an Event!

How Do I Get There From Here

I understand that it can often seem confusing deciding exacty where to start and please understand that you really don't need to have to drive yourself to furstration. So until you have gained the confidence from experience it is much simpler to purchase a really good quality innoculant that already contains all the ingredients that you are going to need to lay the foundation for really great soil. It will take the guess work out of it for you and it is about the closest to "instant" that you are going to get. There are a lot of products on the market that make these type of claims but there is only one that I am going to share with you because, quite honestly, it is the only one I trust enough. There are several reasons for that. The most important factor is that it always works and I know that the bottle you get is going to be the exact same laboratory tested recipe that I get. The second main reason is that it is the most complete recipe of organic innoculants that I have found. The trade name is EM·1® microbial inoculant. It is a true organic soil amendment that provides a broad spectrum of beneficial microorganisms, enzymes, trace minerals, vitamins, and various organic acids, all essential components for healthy soil and plants. These microbes will support the growth of other beneficial organisms like mychorrizae, worms, and beneficial insects already in your soil. It is great for your organic garden and turf application as well. You can even use it as an accelerant when starting a new compost pile. It is that good.

Since microbes convert organic matter to a usable food source for plants, fruits and vegetables will not only taste better but they are going to be more nutritious as well and that is the whole point isn't it? Beneficial microbes also produce a lot of polysaccharides the "glue" that holds the soil together and increase aggreagate structure.

It is extremely easy to use, just fill the reservoir of a hose-end sprayer, then apply it to your plants. Your average quart size sprayer will treat about 1/8 acre so it goes a long, long way. That equals about two tablespoons per gallon. Only apply it once per week throughout the growing season, you won't really need any more than that. You will want to spray your plants in the evening, after the heat of the day when it is cooling down. I recommend going to TeraGanix and getting it direct from the manufacturer, it will save you time trying to track down a store that carries it.


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