How Does Your Garden Grow?
I thought I was referencing a light-hearted nursery rhyme, but I guess not.
However, I did spend my past weekend in a light-hearted manner. I picked up some “organic fertilizer” from a nearby horse-boarding facility. I had forgotten how much esteem I have for horses, so it was enchanting to find myself in their midst.
Now I have a mildly odiferous pile in my front garden. There it will sit for 2 months to age, before I apply it to my garden beds. And why would I introduce such an unrefined spectacle to my urbane neighborhood, you might ask? Such an inefficient method of applying N-P-K, others might say.
Well, here’s the scoop:
- Organic matter encourages the proliferation of soil microorganisms. “The microbes slowly release not only nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium but also a host of other nutrients in ratios difficult to replicate with synthetic fertilizers.” Ratios that allow proper absorption of necessary nutrients, which might interact unfavorably if too much of one is added from a synthetic source.
- Furthermore, “microorganisms that typically inhabit organically managed fields also produce substances that combine with minerals in the soil and make them more available to plants, a function that can be especially important for iron absorption. Iron is usually present in soil, but it is often in an unavailable form.”
The reality is that conventionally grown crops are becoming nutritionally bankrupt, in terms of offering trace minerals and certain vitamins. Trace minerals are important to optimum human health and can influence vitamin assimilation. Vegetarians, who rely on attaining these nutrients from produce sources, should be particularly concerned. The good news here is that organically grown produce offers higher levels of minerals, vitamins, and even antioxidants.
Note: The source of both quotations is the same source that I linked in the final paragraph.