Healthy soil is vi­tal in your gar­den

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING - WALLY RICHARDS

Healthy soil is teem­ing with life, most of which is un­seen by the naked eye. Nu­mer­ous species of mi­crobes, ben­e­fi­cial fungi, earth­worms and a mul­ti­tude of soil dwelling crea­tures make up what is known as the ‘‘soil food web’’.

These or­gan­isms and crea­tures break down or­ganic mat­ter, build hu­mus and aid the feed­ing of plants. The big­gest dan­ger to a healthy soil food web is the gar­dener who does not un­der­stand the prin­ci­ples of nur­tur­ing one.

These gar­den­ers are hun­gry for re­sults in a sim­i­lar man­ner that some com­mer­cial grow­ers and farm­ers are hun­gry for prof­its. Look­ing for im­me­di­ate gains and not recog­nis­ing longterm losses, they are al­ways out with their chem­i­cal fer­tilis­ers and sprays, killing off the soil life, caus­ing stress and ill-health in their plants which then un­dergo a regime of chem­i­cal spray fixes.

These fur­ther un­der­mine the health of the soil and plants and the prog­no­sis is death by a thou­sand cuts.

The fi­nal straw in killing a healthy gar­den is to keep it weed free by reg­u­lar use of her­bi­cides and to flood the gar­dens with bac­te­ria-de­stroy­ing chlo­rine from your friendly lo­cal wa­ter sup­ply.

I have two thoughts on the mat­ter. The first is do noth­ing and over a pe­riod of time na­ture will find a bal­ance and the soil will re­turn to a nat­u­ral healthy state.

I have wit­nessed this as­pect a num­ber of times over the years where gar­den­ers have spent a lot of time and money in de­stroy­ing what na­ture orig­i­nally pro­vided them. The pre­ferred op­tion of course, is to stop killing the soil life and then start en­hanc­ing it.

That re­quires ban­ning the use of harm­ful chem­i­cals and fer­tilis­ers from your gar­den along with chlo­ri­nated wa­ter out of the tap. Chem­i­cal sprays as we are find­ing out are not only un­healthy for gar­den soil and plants, but for the wider en­vi­ron­ment and our own health.

Once touted as safe and ef­fec­tive an­swers to var­i­ous prob­lems these chem­i­cals turn out to have un­healthy side-ef­fects for gar­den and per­sonal health.

Glyphosate has been la­belled by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion as a prob­a­ble car­cino­gen.

wal­lyjr@gar­de­news.co.nz

Doc­u­ments have shown that this was known back in the 1980s but hid­den from us.

A re­cent news state­ment says: ‘‘Much of the sci­en­tific literature, per­haps half, may sim­ply be un­true. Af­flicted by stud­ies with small sam­ple sizes, tiny ef­fects, in­valid ex­ploratory analy­ses, and fla­grant con­flicts of in­ter­est, to­gether with an ob­ses­sion for pur­su­ing fash­ion­able trends of du­bi­ous im­por­tance, science has taken a turn to­wards dark­ness.’’

Another stated that a pres­ti­gious sci­en­tific jour­nal is re­view­ing and re­mov­ing many of its past publi­ca­tions as it has been found that the sup­posed peer re­views were ac­tu­ally done by paid stu­dents in China who have no qual­i­fi­ca­tions to re­view sci­en­tific pa­pers.

Science has be­come a com­mod­ity that can be pur­chased for com­mer­cial gains.

Now for re­ally great gar­dens and a vi­tal healthy soil we should as­sist na­ture by pro­vid­ing nat­u­ral

‘‘Stop killing the soil life and then start en­hanc­ing it.’’

el­e­ments to speed up the process of restor­ing a healthy soil food web. The first step is to clean soil ar­eas where the past use of chem­i­cals is ham­per­ing health.

Take 20ml of Magic Botanic Liq­uid plus 1ml of My­cor­rcin per litre of non-chlo­ri­nated wa­ter and wa­ter into your gar­dens when the soil is moist.

This will clean up chem­i­cals in the soil, in­crease the pop­u­la­tions of ben­e­fi­cial or­gan­isms and re­duce pathogen num­bers.

Fol­low this with a treat­ment of three ba­sic prod­ucts gyp­sum, dolomite and soft gar­den lime mixed to­gether in equal parts.

Be aware that in ar­eas where there are acid lov­ing plants, to leave out the lime.

When it comes to nutri­tion, for­get about feed­ing the plants, in­stead feed the soil life – and plant food needs will be au­to­mat­i­cally taken care of.

Blood & bone, an­i­mal ma­nures, sheep ma­nure pel­lets, mush­room com­post and any com­post that is not made from green wastes as these may con­tain chem­i­cals and her­bi­cide residues.

We are now half­way to­wards ob­tain­ing healthy gar­dens and plants. What is so far miss­ing are up to 114 min­er­als and el­e­ments.

Many of these are needed by dif­fer­ent species of plants for health and to pro­mote strong im­mune sys­tems.

Two prod­ucts will pro­vide most if not all of these el­e­ments – Rok Solid and Ocean Solids.

These can be broad­cast, side dressed or spot ap­plied in the plant­ing hole depend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion.

I nor­mally ap­ply Rok Solid, Ocean Solids, BioPhos, sheep ma­nure pel­lets, Wally’s Neem Tree Gran­ules and chicken ma­nure in the plant­ing hole or around the area to be cropped prior to plant­ing, and as a side dress­ing for ex­ist­ing plants.

My gar­den taps have 10 mi­cron car­bon bonded fil­ters to re­move the chlo­rine from the tap wa­ter.

The re­sult is gar­den beds full of earth­worms, healthy plants and me a happy gar­dener most of the time.

This gar­den­ing sea­son re­mem­ber the an­swer is in the soil and gar­den with that in mind.

PHOTO: FAIR­FAX NZ

Great growth is the re­sult of healthy soil alive with mi­cro-or­gan­isms and nu­tri­ents, and where there is no place for ar­ti­fi­cial fer­tilis­ers, chem­i­cal sprays or chlo­ri­nated tap wa­ter.

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