[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Fertile soil

It all begins with the soil.

Our bodies, and especially our immune systems, need nutrient-rich food to stay healthy.

But have you ever wondered how the organic plants get packed with their health-giving nutrients – minerals, proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, lipids, fibre, and water?

We all know about the wonder of photosynthesis – how plants create food from sunshine, carbon dioxide and  water but it’s much less well known that the majority of the food plants create from photosynthesis is sent to their roots & secreted into the soil as “exudates”.

But why?  Plants have evolved to feed specific bacteria and fungi around their roots which make the nutrients in the soil available to the plant in a form suitable for digestion by the plant’s roots. This is the perfect symbiotic relationship! In essence bacteria and fungi help the plants get the nutrients they need to grow; and to make sure the bacteria and fungi are present and healthy, the plants feed them.

A healthy soil will support a rich soil “food web” made up of billions of micro-organisms – bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes – and together these micro-organisms enable the plants to take up the nutrients they, and we, need.

So we work to help develop a healthy living soil teeming with micro-organisms.

We need to  feed the soil with lots of organic matter  – this is the first step in maintaining a diverse  and healthy world of micro-organisms. This keeps the soil full of life……… which is why we farm and garden organically.

Using inorganic fertilisers coupled with the application of herbicides and pesticides deadens soils completely – eventually destroying the soil food web – and thereby making this type of food production completely unsustainable. It’s a dramatic example of cutting the branch we are sitting on. The plants can’t get the nutrients they need from the soil and therefore they can’t pass them on to us.

If you are interested in the soil food web there is no greater book than –

Teaming with Microbes. The Organic Gardeners Guide to the Soil Food Web
by Jeff Lowenfels
Published by Timber Press.

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