The first step was tillage. That was what started the process of loss of the life, and conversion of your soil into an environment that can no longer grow beneficial organisms. – Dr. Elaine Ingham ( Part 3 Continued )
A onetime push-the-stick or plough through the soil event isn’t going to make much difference (at least we can’t detect a significant effect with current methods) but when tillage goes on year-after-year, without doing anything to put structure back into the soil, nothing to bring back the lost species, the lost life, or their functions, then the effect accumulates. Start using anaerobic manures and after 10 or 20 years, the salts start to accumulate, depending on how much salt the animals are given. Then, loss of fertility becomes apparent.
Once life is lost in the soil, then short-term fixes using inorganic salts (otherwise known as fertilizers) can give a noticeable burst of plant growth but continues the erosion of soil life. Each pesticide, each inorganic fertilizer harms soil life to a greater or lesser degree. What life was lost? Use a microscope to find out! It isn’t rocket-science to learn to use a microscope, nor is it all that expensive, given the end result, to send samples into the lab for assessment.
But it is necessary for you to understand the harm being done by each tillage, each pesticide or inorganic fertilizer application.
You say you HAVE to use toxic materials in order to bring in a crop? Is it you that is getting rich, or your chemical salesman?
Consider if you go out to a healthy forest system, with one of the highest rates of plant growth, as measured by annual plant biomass accumulation. Take a sample of that soil and send it into the chemistry lab. Whoa! The pile of salts, fertilizers, and other toxics that your agronomist will tell you to throw on that soil! Your agronomist will go nuts about there’s no possible way to grow a crop of anything on that soil. Too limited in nutrients, can’t possibly be successful. But…….but……. look at what nature is growing there. How can those trees be growing, making fruit, leaves, new branches each and every year, if what the fertilizer salesman is telling you were actually true?
Yes, if you wipe out the life that should be there in your soil, then in order to raise a crop, you have to use toxic products. But it isn’t going to be healthy food.
If your soil life isn’t in shape, then it may take some time to get it back in shape.
If you don’t actually check to see if the life is back the way your plants need, it might take you five, ten, or more years to even get close to what is needed.
If you use a microscope, or have someone else do the microscope work for you, you can start to determine what is there, and what still needs bringing back.
The system won’t function properly until you get back EVERYTHING you need. Bacteria alone won’t solve the problem. It is the WHOLE food web that is needed.
* Dr Elaine Ingham, President Soil Foodweb International, conclusion of her letter.