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What You May Not Know About Plants

Last spring, I offered to send sample jars of our new MycoMinerals product (volcanic minerals with mycorrhiza spores) to home gardeners to test. One of the participants in Michigan sent back a glowing review, but I had to chuckle when he said how terribly difficult it was to follow my instructions not to add any fertilizer during the entire growing season.

It seems that serious gardeners want topamper theirgardens so much that a biological approach, where one relies on microbial action to "feed" plants,seems like neglect. The chemical industry has done a remarkable job of convincing people to more or less constantly apply synthetic fertilizer, either in the form of side-dressings or liquid drenchings. Their psychological sales message generally is suggestive of a mother feeding her children.

However, when onekeeps soils artificially rich in macro nutrients, it disrupts natural bioorganisms that would normally generate nitrogen, convert soil phosphorus, and seek out other as-needed elements. In effect, loading up soil with NPK fertilizer fairly quicklycreates chemically-dependent plants that could otherwise be largely self-reliant.

If you wish, you can try a low-input approach for yourself. Just set aside a section of a garden or flower bed andblend inMycoMinerals beforeplanting- with NO added fertilizer before or during the growing season. If theplants in that section don't perform as well or better than the fertilized ones,I'll send you a full refund, including the shipping cost.

Something to think about: Let's say you planted a little seedling tree in a big pot containing exactly 100 lbs. of soil, let the tree grow to a good size, and then removed it leaving the soil behind in the pot.You find that the tree and its roots weigh 50 lbs. How much willthe soil in the pot weigh now?

A somewhat related question: How can wild trees, shrubs, and grasses grow in the same soil for hundreds or thousands of years without ever depleting those soils? Where do those unattended non-leguminous plants get the nitrogen that plants seem to require in heavy doses?

First Answer: The soil in the pot will still weight 100 lbs., so where did the 50 lbs. of solid wood come from? From the only inputs - water, air, and sunshine. Sort of a miracle, eh?

Second Answer: Plants thatdidn't figure out reliable ways of feeding themselves (with the help of symbiotic soil organisms) would have gone extinct millions of years ago.  Different plants employ different strategies, but in general theycan all thrive without frequent side-dressings and drenchingsof "plant food."

Good growing, my friends,

Don Chapman
President, BioOrganics, Inc.

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