NATURAL ORGANIC FERTILIZER
REQUIREMENTS FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Soil requires more than NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium)
to maintain fertility.
must not only be capable of storing nutrients but it must also be able
to transfer these nutrients to the root surface for uptake by the plant.
plants result from unhealthy soil.
fertility is dependant upon the continued replenishment of nutrients and
organic matter that is depleted each cropping season.
Perhaps the most
depleted component in our soil is humus, decomposed organic matter.
humus is produced as dead plant and animal material is metabolized by
Organic matter cannot be built up permanently because it
continually decomposes. Soil building must be an on going process.
To ensure continued soil fertility,
organic matter, in the form of green manure, compost,
crop residues and similar materials should be incorporated into the
soil after harvest.
soil is depleted there are two methods for restoring soil fertility (1)
The soil can be left idle for several years allowing it to rebuild
naturally or (2) Organic matter together with microbes and nutrients can
be applied from an external source. In the latter case, the microbes
metabolize the organic matter turning it into humus. This process
replenishes and maintains long term soil fertility by providing optimal
conditions for soil biological activity.
matter in the soil ensures a continuous food source for soil microbes.
As the microbes metabolize organic matter, they help maintain good soil
structure by developing compounds that cement small soil particles
together into aggregates, allowing for both increased drainage and
moisture retention. Microbes also change the organic matter into
inorganic nutrients that can be used by growing plants.
physical properties of the soil are equally important. Space between
soil particles can affect aeration and soil moisture both of which affect root growth.
In addition, space between soil particles and particle size directly
affect microbial activity. As the physical properties and mineral
structure of the soil improves,
run off lessens and erosion and nutrient loss is decreased.
soil has been self perpetuating for
millions of years without man's help. It will continue to do so if we
practice sustainable agriculture.
Healthy soil contains nutrients, microbes, fungi and trace
elements all of which are essential for plant growth.
teaspoon of compost rich organic soil hosts 600 million to 1 billion
beneficial microbes from 15,000 species while one teaspoon of chemically
treated soil can host as few as 100 microbes.
Soil moves in a natural cycle aided by SBO's (soil based microbes)
which decompose organic matter.
Good soil consists of 93% mineral and 7% biological substances.
The biological substances are 85% humus,10% roots, and 5% edaphon.
Edaphon (soil life) is made up of microbes, fungi, earthworms,
micro and macro nutrients.
soil consists of:
Nutrients are lost through harvesting, leaching, prolonged wet
weather, melting snow, flooding and de-nitrification.
Sustainable agriculture involves returning nutrients to the soil
in the form of green manure, crop residues, composted manure and other
wastes to improve and maintain soil life.
During the growing season plants fix carbon dioxide by photosynthesis.
Around 20 to 25 percent of this fixed carbon is returned to the soil
through plant roots.
Agriculture involves not only the physical properties and mineral
structure of the soil, but also the process by which organic matter is
transformed into humus by microbes,
fungi, earthworms etc. Incorporating
crop residue and other organic mater into the soil promotes microbial
growth which in turn promotes humus production and soil fertility.
Nitrogen is a plant stimulator, regulator and
a carrier of elements. For plants to benefit from nitrogen, the elements
must first be mineralized. This mineralization is carried out by
microbes that metabolize nitrogen, turning it into nitrite and then to
nitrates. Feeding the soil with organic matter and biological nutrients will stimulate
microbial activity and significantly improve the N.P.K. exchange.
has been proven that fungicides destroy soil life (microbes, protozoa
etc.), but seldom do they fully kill the pathogenic fungus community.
The simple fact is, fungicides create more problems than they cure.