Sunday, 30 June 2013

June 2013.

We have had a very wet June in Melbourne and some light frost. 

Both unusual for this time of year but the rain was very welcome after having had very little during the previous few months.  The Ecobeds are all performing well and have not needed much attention.
These broccoli are looking good and although this head is immature, it will be a good size when harvested next month.

I have been doing a bit of reading lately, and I am developing a growing interest in soil biology/chemistry.  For me the issue is about beneficial minerals and trace elements taken up by plants, and in turn by humans as food derived from these plants.  

As an organic gardener I have always believed that by simply adding loads of compost and manure to the soil and controlling pH, I will get strong and productive plants.  There's nothing wrong with that, but I think I need to get to grips with what seems to be happening at the pointy end of the microscope.

The more I read, the more I realise the importance of microorganisms, earthworms, fungi and insects in the soil, and the way they interact with plants and each other to provide a healthy environment in which to flourish.
Large quantities of biomass in the soil provide structure and food for the microorganisms and supporting biota that, in turn, provide nutrients the plants need.  Getting the biochemical mix exactly right seems to be much more complicated.  

Michael Astera in his ebook "The Ideal Soil" says " The various fans and promoters of soil biology, from earthworms to fungus, tell us that a bio-active soil will break down toxic residues, increase humus, and the beneficial soil organisms will make minerals and nutrients available to the plant,  The question that is not asked is "what if the needed minerals are not to be found in the soil?"

This is a question especially relevant to Ecobeds with their isolated mini ecosystems.