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VV FEATURE ARTICLE

Soils ain't soils

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Today we would have to eat 8 oranges to get the same amount of Vitamin A that our grandparents got from 1 orange! 
A startling and disturbing fact.
Research shows that soil depletion, and the imbalance of essential minerals is the cause of the rapid decline of available nutrients in our food today.
The Nitrogen Phosphorous and Potassium fertilisation method

Our conventional system of agriculture is based on the big three:  Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) mineralisation.This came out of the work of Justus von Liebig, a well noted 19th century German chemist who introduced the concept of replacing natural fertilisers with chemical ones. He is also noted for "The Law of the Minimum" which states that the growth of a plant will be restricted by the minerals which are lacking, even if others are in excess.
His work became a simplistic "gospel" grasped by the chemical industry who had excess capacity to make these products, an effective marketing structure and a farming community ready and willing to jump on the quick fix bandwagon.

A contemporary of Liebig, Dr. Julius Hensel, an agricultural chemist, proposed a different approach to enhancing the soil. In his book "Bread from Stones" (published in 1894) he wrote about an alternative form of agriculture from which none would make a great deal of money, but which relied on natural rock dust mineralization. So threatening was his message to the chemical companies, his books were burned and his message as good as expunged from farming cultural practice.

These two were serious adversaries.
Just prior to his death, Von Liebig confessed to his earlier interpretation's great over simplification. However the chemical direction in which agriculture had been propelled was seductive and at the cosmetic level, appeared to produce great results.

Since then, many commentators including Dr Rudolf Steiner and the father of organic agriculture, Sir Albert Howard, have lobbied for alternatives to the NPK fertilisation method and a return to a more balanced and sustainable way of growing food.


The biological agriculture method

By the mid 20th century there was a rising chorus of NPK detractors who supported the method of balanced soil mineralization.
In the very late 20th century, science was also discovering the wonders, complexity and bounty that would follow from understanding soil biology and out of this rose a methodology called biological agriculture.
Biological agriculture is not new.  It's how our ancestors naturally grew food.
Biological agriculture works with natural systems and processes to build optimum soil, plant and animal health in a balanced eco environment without the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides which kill soil biology and cause soil mineral imbalances.  Biological agriculture is based on natural common sense and is backed up by scientific research.  The principal is to start from the ground up: a healthy soil will produce healthy plants. 


But soils ain't soils!!!

When starting up a vegetable garden, you want to make sure you get the best soil available.  If your soil is deficient your plants will also be deficient and won't thrive.
Good soil will ensure your plants are healthier and more resistant to disease and bugs, and they'll produce more bountiful crops for you.  You'll also need an ongoing plan to build, sustain and replace the microbiology and nutrients in your soil each season, using compost, soil probiotics, natural emulsions and crop rotation.
At Vital Veggies, soil is the cornerstone of our gardens and our good health.  We work to expand the mineral holding capacities of the soil to ensure balanced mineralization which provides a foundation for soil biology to work its wondrous ways.
We start this process with an agricultural soil test.  Based on the results we blend a nutrient balanced soil, adding soil biology to mobilise minerals so they are plant available.  This soil holds water longer than commercially available garden soils, which in turn increases the microbial activity.  Such soil laden with minerals contributes to exceptional plant growth and nutrient dense produce.
Our health is dependent on the quality of our food and a balanced gut biology. 
The soil in which our food grows determines not only the health and vitality of the food we eat but the health of the society in which we live.
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