A live soil
To grow organically we need to develop a 'live' soil: soil that is rich in organic matter and natural minerals. A soil that is teeming with life. Fertile soil contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) plus trace minerals.
All soil is composed of four parts:
- Inert mineral and organic particles that make up the soil mass and serve as a reservoir of plant foods. These mineral particles contain potassium and phosphorus, as well as many trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium and boron.
- The teeming bio-portion composed of busy bacteria, algae, fungi, tiny worms, bigger worms, beetles, larvae, bugs and many other live things. These organisms process and decompose the inert mineral and organic particles, thereby feeding the plants.
- Water. The field capacity of a piece of land is the amount of water it can hold without run-off, making it available to plants. The permanent wilting point is the amount of water in the soil when plants can no longer live and they die of drought. Fifteen percent organic matter in the soil is ideal for field capacity.
- Air. Soil bacteria, worms, algae, bugs and other soil dwellers need a good supply of air (oxygen) although some microscopic creatures prefer carbon dioxide.
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