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Nature Had it Right all Along!

posted 21 Sept 2016, 18:17 by David Banks   [ updated 21 Sept 2016, 20:35 ]
The goal of every gardener or farmer should be to leave the soil in a better condition than it was when they took stewardship of it.

For centuries, before conventional/ modern chemical agribusiness took over, humans instinctively knew this.
Only nature has the ability to create life; unless man follows natures rules man is only capable of creating problems.

Not so long ago farmers followed natures rules, and observed natures cycles and rhythms. People plante
d according to season, they replenished and nurtured the soil so it became richer and deeper over the years. To do otherwise resulted in crop failure and crop failure led to starvation so it was very important to do the right thing according to the natural processes perfected by nature.

Then along came big agribusiness with their new science and chemicals claiming they could improve on nature, nature could be "controlled" if we abandoned the old ways.

They promised better results: higher yields, better quality, lower input costs, less disease and pest problems if the farmer implemented the modern way of farming.

For a short while things looked good but it didn't take long before the soil lost it's organic content, and the soil life declined to such a low level that higher and higher amounts of chemical fertilisers were required to keep the plants alive.

Insect and plant pests and disease became harder and harder to control, they became resistant to the old chemicals so new and more toxic ones were developed to "keep ahead" of the rising problem thus increasing input costs, re
ducing yields, quality and ultimately our farmers became net consumers instead of producers.

(Figures now indicate that farmers spend 2 units of energy for 1 unit of output and it's obvious that if production costs are higher than what it is sold for then the producer is going bankrupt. Is it any wonder our poor farmers are losing their farms which were passed down from generation to generation).
Now science understands that without microbes, and living healthy soil, our plants are stressed, contain less nutrition, and everything that eats those plants become nutritionally deficient, and prone to degenerative disease; both animal and human.

We must return to the natural ways of farming or we face starvation on a global scale, luckily science is finally embracing natures ways. Its becoming easier to find alternatives to the chemical products we once believed were the better way.

By eliminating chemicals on the farm and in the productive home garden we are able to return life and balance to our soil. By creating a truly living soil full of organic matter: microbial life, earth worms, and other micro life, nature can show us her true bounty.

The results are: less weeds, less pests, better quality produce full of flavour and nutrition, longer lasting soil moisture, deeper soil and plant roots. And the list goes on...

Man is waking up to the mistakes of the era of chemical dependence, and we are now starting to understand just how nature provides us with everything we need in abundance if we don't try to improve on nature.

So How do I Apply Natural Farming in My Garden?

You most likely already know the answer: by feeding the soil life with mulches, increase organic matter by adding compost, use worm castings (worm poo), and reintroduce local beneficial microbes to your soil. Let the weeds fulfill their role of repairing the soil (I will blog about beneficial microbes, and also weeds and what they tell us in a future articles), re-mineralise your soil, use properly composted animal manures, plant in season, use companion planting and avoid mono-cropping, and see, smell and taste the difference.

Most importantly please stop using chemicals in the garden and in your home. The good news here is there are more and more low and no chemical/ natural products coming into the market place which removes the need for chemicals.

As you do the above you can watch your costs for fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides drop as nature restores balance, and watch your garden results improve.

What are the Benefits?

Besides repairing our soil and the health of our planet, the benefit to you is true health. I'm talking about health without chemicals, without pills and injections full of poison; health without side effects.

Poor health isn't a result of a lack of antibiotics or missing the latest flu injection; it's a lack of minerals in your body.

A healthy, fully mineralised body is naturally strong and resists parasites and infectious disease, deals with stress, has a clear and focused mind, has energy, and sleep comes naturally and restores the body and mind.

In our modern society hygiene and sanitation is responsible for reducing infectious disease; nutrition is responsible for reducing degenerative disease.

A healthy body comes from consuming whole foods grown in soil which is alive, soil which contains a balanced mineral content for the plants we eat to supply our bodies with the minerals and nutrients they need to be healthy.

Of course we need other inputs such as getting outside into the sun, moving the body to oxygenate the blood; which is why gardening is so good for mind and body. Healthy and fulfilling relationships, clean water and other things outside the scope of this article are also vitally important for our health and well being.

Foods grown in healthy, living soil contain probiotic microbes which help our bodies break down and digest the food we eat and absorb the nutrients, they help build our immune system and without them we get health problems.

Chemicals such as antibiotic medicines, chlorine and fluoride in our water, preservatives in processed foods all contribute to killing off the beneficial microbes in our gut which leads to health problems.

Modern science has identified upwards of 4000 species of microbes in the human digestive tract, and they admit they don't know how they work or interact, they just know we need them to live a healthy life.

All of this combined goes a long way to explaining why we are now suffering from degenerative disease earlier and earlier in life.

Let's not forget to mention the huge proportion of processed, refined, nutritionally hollow, salt, sugar, fat, and chemical filled foods we consume in abundance in the name of convenience.

During my grandparents time people suffered mainly from infectious disease, and degenerative disease was something which happened in old age, but thanks to modern hygiene and sanitation we are no longer exposed to serious infectious disease as a general rule.

Today we are suffering from degenerative disease because of our poor nutrition levels and our bodies are being constantly flooded with chemicals that they can no longer cope.

This just didn't exist 3-4 generations ago!

In my high school days in the late 80's I was told there were between 60-80 thousand new chemicals being developed every single year and I'm sure that level has vastly increased. In 30 years that's somewhere around 2 million new chemicals which the human body was never exposed to, let alone capable of dealing with...something to seriously think about isn't it?

To make matters worse, as our bodies nutritional levels have declined so much in the same time frame they're even less capable of dealing with the effects of these chemicals and our modern fast paced lifestyle.

Data now shows that the nutritional level of our fresh food is somewhere around 25% of the levels my grandparents enjoyed, that's a 75% reduction in the level of nutritional value of the foods you and i can buy in the shops. This is a great reason to grow your own or purchase at the local farmers market.

With such poor nutritional content of shop bought food it has become extremely difficult to give your body what it needs to be healthy, even organic doesn't mean rich in nutrients if it's grown in poor soil.

"Fresh" can mean months or even years in cold storage, after being picked before fruit is even ripe, meaning that the plant hasn't had time to store nutrients and sugars into the fruit which are required to sustain seeds during their initial stages of life.

If the seeds don't get enough of the vital nutrients and enzymes they need to germinate and grow into healthy plants then how are we meant to live health, vital lives when we eat them?

I Want to do Grow my Own Healthy Food but How do I Know if my Soil is Healthy?

Sadly you can't tell by just looking at your soil; the easiest and fastest solution, also the cheapest, is to get a soil test for your productive garden and fruit trees to see exactly what is going on in your soil.

(Please note I say it's the cheapest way because trying to guess what may be required and then adding some more to the soil can actually push things further out of balance causing more problems than you had before which then costs you far more in time, money and effort to fix later).

A soil test will tell you exactly what is going on and what adjustments are required so your plants have everything they need to supply you with healthy, tasty, flavorful produce for your health.

This area of gardening is my focus and my passion because I know how much difference it will make to your results in the garden and to your health.

When your soil is alive, it acts as your plant's digestive system: it breaks things down in the soil and makes it available for plants roots to uptake when the plant wants and needs it.

Chemical fertilisers are water soluble which means plants are forced to take whatever levels of those nutrients are dissolves in the water.

Scientists now understand that when plants absorb nutrients at the wrong time or in levels which are too high the plants become stressed, they retain more water in their cells than they should which forces the cells to enlarge. It affects the biochemical processes in the cells which results in lack of flavour, quality, and nutrient levels suffer and the plant is more likely to get attacked by pests and disease.

This is the reason why chemically fertilised plants require higher inputs of pesticides and show mineral deficiencies.

When soil contains all the nutrients a plant needs no added fertiliser is required, soil microbes convert those minerals into plant available form and the plant takes what it wants, when it wants them.

The plants are not stressed, they become resilient to pests and disease, they develop properly which means they're full of nutrition, flavour and the quality and yield significantly improve, along with their ability to deal with heat and cold stress.

This all means less cost, time and effort to you the gardener, and at the same time improving your gardening results and satisfaction!

Nature is free to do what she does best and we ultimately benefit from food which contains the right balance of nutrition for a healthy body.

Healthy soil full of microbes acts like a "stomach: for plants: it's just like taking a bit of food and chewing it, your teeth are making it smaller, enzymes and stomach acid break it down, and once the food hits your digestive tract, probiotic microbes help convert the nutrients into a form your body can absorb into your bloodstream and deliver it to where it is needed.

In living soil the process is strikingly similar, worms and other small creatures act like natures teeth, turning organic matter into small pieces, microbes then use enzymes and acids to break it down further, like our stomach, so the nutrients can be absorbed by plants roots in a form they like.

The  best part about all of this is you don't need to know how it all works, just have confidence that it does what it's done for millennia.

Nature works all by herself, and she does it best without our interference.

All you need to do is support nature in her never ending cycle of birth, death and renewal. We can add some water during a dry summer, we can replace the organic matter we take out when we prune and harvest but we simply cannot tell nature how she should do her job.

The best part is you don't need to get it all exactly right, nature is very forgiving, and by observing your plants, the weeds and insects, both "good" and "bad", nature will tell you what needs to happen next time around.

By observing nature we can learn so much, by following nature's way we gain so much in the way of health, peace, and tranquility.

There is just something about nature which draws us in, restores our soul, we need nature to not only survive but thrive.

So What Next?

If you have any questions about the above information, or you want someone to help you bring your garden soil back to full healthy then please feel free to call us.

We are more than delighted to help; it is our passion and it is our mission to help as many people as possible return to natural gardening for the health of our community and our planet.

Please call us for a free quote, or if you know you want someone to help you: lower costs and effort in your garden, improve crop yields, taste and nutrition levels in your home grown produce for you health.

I hope you found this article informative and not too technical and it encourages you to take the next step in your gardening journey.

Happy gardening, and great health.