Cart 0

The Look of Health (Plant Wise)

Once again, my personal garden plants are reminding me of the difference between chemically-forced plants and those grown with a biological emphasis. My young corn, squash and tomato plants are all considerably different in appearance from those in neighboring gardens. I also have an older rose bush that I have "converted" from the chemical fertilizer routine of the previous homeowner to a soil biology routine.

My plants are generally shorter, lighter green, and have much thicker stems with not much distance between branches or leaves. Over time I have learned that these are signs that mycorrhizal fungi have colonized the root zones and are creating stronger plants that will not require much tending or protecting.

Once you realize that height and a darker green color are just the result of fertilizer overdosing, then your bioplants begin to look right to the eye. One theory regarding plant-damaging insects is that plants with any unnatural coloration appear sickly to bugs, and an insect's role in nature is to destroy sick plants - like lions who can spot weak herd animals. So while we humans may define tall dark-green plants as truly healthy specimens, that same plant might be sending a "I'm not well - come eat me" signal to every hungry bug in the neighborhood. This makes some sense to me, as I almost always observe more insect damage occurring on the control plants (without mycorrhizae) in my grow tests.

I know that my shorter corn stalks will soon have multiple ears, the tomatoes will set nearly every blossom, I'll run out of neighbors willing to take more squash, and the rose will bloom all season without constant spraying - all with minimal fertilization. It's quite a difference from the days when I used synthetic "plant foods" that actually created the need for all sorts of protective 'cides. Now that the emphasis is on maintaining healthy soil filled with good populations of beneficial microbial life, I have virtually no pest or disease problems. And shorter, thicker, lighter colored plants look just fine.

Good growing, my friends,

Don Chapman

Older Post Newer Post