A Journey to Grow a Little Food Close to Home

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Growing Dirt

Sounds crazy, right? The truth is, many organic growers talk about growing dirt rather than growing plants. The next few days of posts are going to talk about growing dirt because it's something that I'm thinking about as summer winds down. More to come on that.

To begin with, it is important to know that plants get all of their nutients from three places - water, air, and soil. The sun is used to help convert these nutrients into 'food' for the plant (see here, here, and here and read more here) If that's the case, we have to help our plants out wherever we can. We can't really do anything with the sun (it's a little far away and it's been doing a pretty good job of making light and heat for quite a while)! If we use rainwater to water our plants, the only thing that we have to be concerned about is acid rain - a pretty big problem for you or me to tackle (but feel free to try - I'll support you)! All that's left is dirt. We humans actually have a lot of control over this little understood yet oh so important ingredient of life.

Jules Dervaes sums it up well when he says "all of human existence depends on the top six inches of soil."

While modern agriculture uses dirt more as a foundation for plants to prop themselves up on while harsh chemicals provide all of the 'nutrients,' organic growers actually nurture their dirt so that it can produce healthy plants and food.

Take a look at Punkle's Farm, Pete's Greens, and Dirt! The Movie to see how essential dirt is to growing plants & to human survival and what these people are doing about it.

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