In healthy soil, plants, microbes, fungi and insects cooperate in an active and vital environment. The soil system is very diverse containing a dizzying array of lifeforms in every teaspoonful. Really very amazing.
Soil microorganisms are one of the most important elements of a healthy soil bio-system. There are all kinds of symbiotic relationships in this micro-ecosystem.
When we plant in really healthy soil we get lovely plants like these…
We all want vigorous growth in our plantings and healthy soil is the way to encourage this. Building a thriving soil eco-system in your Garden results in a massive population of lovely little microorganisms that are busy manufacturing natural fertilizer for your growing plants. Around here we plant in permanent raised beds and several times a year we apply tonnes of very good compost along with heaps of lovely brown Kelp. This is helping us to build layers and layers of living topsoil – soil that really does hum with life. An added bonus is that plants that grow in such a healthy soil system develop strong immune systems and have the ability to resist most pests and diseases. Nice.
In a conventional modern agriculture system there is excessive tilling and deep discing as well as routine applications of synthetic fertilizers and toxic herbicides and pesticides. Such harsh treatments results in soil that becomes more and more depopulated – sort of like destroying a city with a catastrophic earthquake every single time the inhabitants manage to rebuild. Treating your soil like this will reduce it to an empty growing medium dependant on an endless chain of petrochemical inputs. “Better living through chemicals” has resulted in food crops that appear to thrive even though they are devoid of a large portion of the nutrients that make them so very healthful. Not so good.
Phewf… After all that heavy stuff that let’s talk about something nice. Homemade plant food!
Homemade fertilizer is easy to make, free and best of all really healthy for your Garden. Secure a nice big brewing container such as a rain barrel or even a five gallon bucket will work. Fill your container with “green manure” such as Clover, Nettles, Comfrey or pretty much any leafy greens ( Comfrey is especially good, if you have it, because it is a biodynamic accumulator with deep roots that bring up lots of nutrients). Read more about about Comfrey fertilizer… Rodale Press Comfrey.
Loosely shred your material and add it to your container with water to cover. Place this in a sunny spot (likely away from your patio – it does whiff a bit) and let it brew away for a few weeks. If you have an enormous amount of rain it is a good idea to cover your barrel to prevent it overflowing and washing away your nice brew.
We like to add a nice helping of Kelp to the brew just because we have a pretty much endless supply.
The resulting plant food looks just awful, I know, and it does actually smell even worse but please don’t be daunted – after it is applied there is no lasting odour. Just strain out a portion and dilute the brew about one part liquid fertilizer to ten parts water and water it into the soil around your plants. Easy-peasy.
Brewing your own homemade fertilizer is simple and free and so very good for your lovely plants.
After you have fed all of your soil with this homemade liquid feed the leftover sediment can be tossed in the compost heap and then you will be all set to mix up another batch!
Your plants will grow strong and vigorous and your soil will be in great shape. Very Good Stuff.
This nifty plant food works pretty well on Sunflowers too. :)2