COMMENT – Anonymous said…
Research scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham1 is internationally recognized as an expert on the benefits of sustainable soil science.She was formerly an associate professor at Oregon State University and well on her way to full-tenure professorship when her research on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) led to her being forced to resign.The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, funds a large part of the budget for Oregon State University, and her findings were not welcome as it threatened the University’s funding.Dr. Ingham went on to develop a company called Soil Foodweb Inc., which helps farmers and gardeners understand the health of their soil. The company analyzes soil samples and also helps develop a composting plan that is specifically targeted for the plants you’re seeking to grow.Helping Farmers and Gardeners Take Back Control of Their Soil Health
Just how is plant growth affected by the health of the soil? The key lies in having the right helper organisms; beneficial species of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, beneficial nematodes (not the weedfeeders), microarthropods, and earthworms—all of which contribute to plant growth in a number of different ways.“If we get a problem like around the root systems, around the surfaces, above ground – the seed, the leaves, or the branches of the plant – these organisms will prevent diseases from being able to even find the plant,”she explains. “The pests won’t locate the plant. So, disease suppression, pest suppression, and all of those things are part of what the life in the soil does for your plant.”Nutrient cycling is another major issue. According to Dr. Ingham, there’s no soil on Earth that lacks the nutrients to grow a plant. She believes the concept that your soil is deficient and needs added phosphorous or nitrogen etc in order to grow plants is flawed, and largely orchestrated by the chemical companies, because it’s based on looking at the soluble, inorganic nutrients that are partly present in your soil.
The real nutrition your plants require is derived from microorganisms in the soil.
These organisms take the mineral material that’s in your soil and convert it into a plant-available form.
Without these bioorganisms, your plants cannot get the nutrients they need. So what you need is not more chemical soil additives, what you need is the proper balance of beneficial soil organisms. According to Dr. Ingham:“It’s very necessary to have these organisms. They will supply your plant with precisely the right balances of all the nutrients as the plant requires. When you start to realize that one of the major roles and functions of life in the soil is to provide nutrients to the plants in the proper forms, then we don’t need inorganic fertilizers. We certainly don’t have to have genetically engineered plants or to utilize inorganic fertilizers if we get this proper biology back in the soil.If we balance the proper biology, we select against the growth of weeds, so the whole issue with herbicides is done away with. We don’t need the herbicides if we can get the proper life back into the soil and select for the growth of the plants that we want to grow and against the growth of the weedy species.”
The Science of Ideal Microbial Balance for Plants
The science of establishing the ideal microbes for a specific plant is already well-established. Reference material on how to identify what those ideal bacterial, fungal, protozoan, nematode, and microarthropod communities are can be found in Dr. Inham’s books, which include:
- 10 Steps to Gardening with Nature
- Soil Biology Primer (co-authored with Andrew R. Moldenke and Clive A. Edwards)
- The Field Guide for Actively Aerated Compost Tea (AACT)
- Compost Tea Quality: Light Microscope Methods
- The Compost Tea Brewing ManualThe first book, 10 Steps to Gardening with Nature, reviews many of these soil communities and explains the mechanisms behind how these life forms in the soil benefit your plants. You can also find valuable information and resources on the Rodale Institute’s website.2 Once you’ve identified the optimal communities of soil organism, you can then modify your compost to correct any imbalances. For example:“Woody materials – saw dust, paper, cardboard, wood chips, and dry ground leaves that fell from the trees at the end of the growing season – are going to grow fungi. You choose whether you need more fungal or more bacterial. And then design your recipe for your compost according to what is missing in your soil, so you can put back in what is not there,”she explains.
PLUS HETT sends to The Tap