How to feed the plants and not poison anyone?
When you go into the forest and see a riot of multi-tiered life - trees, bushes, grasses, various provocative questions creep into your head about gardening. Do we use space efficiently? Why is everything growing here without watering? And most importantly, what does such a mass of plants feed on? Especially considering that the humus layer in the forest is for chickens to laugh, and the trees grow there! Here on this interesting topic - plant nutrition, and how it affects the fruits - and there will be an article.
First a little theory
Plant nutrition is the process by which they extract various substances from the soil, water and carbon dioxide wherever they can be obtained, as well as sunlight to maintain their vital functions. Next is the synthesis of everything necessary.
Moreover, part of the periodic table, obtained from the soil, plays far from the first fiddle in this process: only 6% of the dry matter mass is provided by the mineral component, the rest is due to carbon dioxide and water. That is, that notorious CO2about which it’s been not the first year that quite a serious opposition to various structures of the world community has been observed (here Greta Tunberg has joined).
Thus, feeding our garden pets with mineral fertilizers, we are able to influence only a small part of biosynthesis. In its pure form, not a single element of the periodic table can be used by a plant, only in the form of inorganic compounds dissolved in water.
In nature, the process is simplified like this: branches, leaves, broken grass stems, dying roots, animal feces are very quickly occupied by various types of soil fungi - both unicellular, such as yeast, and growing huge mycelium.
Mushrooms perform in different conditions from 55 to 90% of the processing of organics. A little later, soil protozoa and bacteria are connected to them. Finishing (or not having time to finish) their life, the microorganisms themselves are eaten by larger soil inhabitants, and those are even larger.
All this soil zhor is accompanied by the release of heat, easily digestible compounds, humus and carbon dioxide, available to both roots and leaves, into the soil as by-products and waste products. In addition, soil microorganisms secrete toxins, antibiotics, stimulants and growth inhibitors of the surrounding flora and fauna.
About Mineral Nutrition
Gardeners and gardeners are used to mineral fertilizing for a long time. Most people have a firm belief in their heads that without mineral fertilizers you cannot get a good crop. Mittlider, for example, put everything on the shelves, his recommendations are simple and doable, with strict adherence they will really lead to large, beautiful vegetables.
But when mineral mixtures are applied once a week and there is no suitable organic material for processing, soil microorganisms will die very quickly in the beds, and previously living land will turn into a substrate. That is, the microflora will not die completely - it’s not so easy to completely remove it — most of it is “preserved” until better times in the form of spores and nanoforms of bacteria. And if the microflora is self-insulated, then the amount of fertilizer will have to be increased.
At the same time, the assimilation by plants of mineral substances from fertilizer mixtures is never complete, and, most often, less than half is absorbed (especially the low absorption coefficient of phosphorus), the rest is washed out into the lower layers of the soil and carried away by groundwater to water bodies, wells and springs. Into the water we drink
The raw materials used for the production of mineral fertilizers contain strontium, uranium, zinc, lead, cadmium. In small quantities, of course, but with regular feeding, these elements will be found in vegetables and fruits. All of these elements are carcinogenic. Purification of fertilizers from these impurities is technologically complicated and economically unprofitable.
As a result of growing vegetables on a substrate with mineral top dressing, plants become significantly more vulnerable to pests. Because in the natural community, plants also protect microorganisms in the soil. Not from altruistic, of course, considerations: the plant feeds with its root secretions both beneficial fungi, and bacteria, and useful protozoa.
Moreover, having unlimited access to food, in fact “fast food,” the plant gains “excess weight”, but, most importantly, it accumulates vitamins and antioxidants in fruits that provide immunity and plants, and ours too.
After quarantine, many noticed the harmful effects of affordable food while limiting motor loads. For a plant, the motor load is growth, especially its root system, in search of food and water. Why strain when everything is nearby?
That is, growing plants on purely mineral nutrition adversely affects the soil flora and fauna, worsens the structure of the soil (or rather, already the substrate), poisons water sources. Carcinogens accumulate in the fruits and the amount of nutrients decreases. And the notorious nitrates. Do you need them?
Having nothing personal against Mittlider, brought his system simply as an example of purely mineral nutrition. And the idea of narrow ridges with wide gaps is certainly good for small regions of the sun. And for places with poor ventilation.
About carbon dioxide top dressing
I came across the effect of feeding with carbon dioxide in the Far East, when the taiga was burning around our city. The city was covered in a haze of smoke of different density for almost a month. And the plants raged. In our most climatically successful years, we did not have such a crop.
I do not urge anyone to set fire to the surroundings, since there will be noticeably more harm than good. The smoke from burning wood contains, in addition to carbon dioxide, a lot of things that can be poisoned. For example, carbon monoxide, from which our ancestors who drowned houses and baths with firewood, regularly suffered, sometimes fatal.
There are simpler ways to use carbon dioxide, most of which are applicable in greenhouses. In a confined space, the effect is more noticeable - you can’t get enough of the entire atmosphere of carbon dioxide, although it is concentrated mainly in the surface layer.
The ways to deliver carbon dioxide to the greenhouse can be very different:
- You can put between the cucumbers a barrel with infusion of nettles or manure, the aroma will be the same, but the plants will be fed. The tricky move - put on overnight, remove during the day - can be done, but the efficiency will be lower. Carbon dioxide is used only in a company with sunlight, which means that the daytime (most needed) part of the carbon dioxide emitted will go to someone else. But then this top dressing is always at hand!
- You can put containers with mash between the plants (water, yeast, sugar or old jam). While fermentation is in progress, carbon dioxide will be released. If you fix an LED or solar lamp over the tank, at night pests, lovers of the mash get into this mash.
- You can scatter dry ice so as not to damage the plants. Who has it, suddenly, in excess.
- Well, and all sorts of options with burning, the main thing here is not to go too far and not to poison with carbon monoxide.
The most grateful in terms of increasing the yield after such methods are cucumbers (up to 100% yield growth).
Fertilizing carbon dioxide, in addition to increasing yield, shortens the growing season and reduces the content of nitrates in the fruits. And also - they accumulate more sugars.
By the way, those who deoxidize the soil with dolomite flour receive an additional bonus as carbon dioxide released during the reactions.
In open ground carbon dioxide, plants can be added by mulching the plants with fresh grass - in the process of processing it with microorganisms, carbon dioxide will be released both into the soil and into the air. Grass should be free of seeds and roots. This option is suitable for hot dry and windy regions, in cool and damp regions there is a risk of the predominant development of pathogenic fungi. Although there is a way out - the addition of microbiological preparations to the grass.
The use of fresh manure introduced into the root zone can severely damage the soil and cultivated plants due to the high levels of nitrogen, potassium and methane, which cause strong heating of the fecal mass and the burning of roots. A lot of oxygen is consumed for the oxidation of methane, which reduces the concentration of this element in the soil and inhibits the respiration of surviving roots. And excess nitrogen is remarkably converted to nitrates.
Fresh manure from large farms, as a rule, is replete with medicines, from private farms - with helminths. In fresh manure there are seeds of plants that are unnecessary to gardeners and a huge number of microorganisms, often very unfriendly to humans.
Overcooked (after two years) manure is devoid of these shortcomings, except for the presence of a part of medicines that microorganisms did not need. But it is already deprived of nitrogen and most of the organic matter - it has already been processed. That is, rotted manure is still a wonderful top dressing, it structures the soil well, but it needs a lot. This is such a balanced option that does not give record results, but also does no harm to anyone.
The use of green manure is a process close to natural. Not only what sideral cultures used was returned to the soil, but also the accumulated by them in the process of photosynthesis, that is, much more.
Siderata is best grown in a mixture - monocultures always attract specific pests, and mixtures disorient them.
Liquid organic top dressing
Liquid organic fertilizing from infusions of grass, manure, bird droppings, compost are faster because microorganisms are there, all the excess has evaporated and the already processed elements are in a dissolved state convenient for plants. But if there is no organic matter suitable for processing in the soil, it is also “fast food”, replete with readily available nitrogen, which contributes to the accumulation of nitrates in the fruits.
Compost is already partially processed organic matter, in which the very first, turbulent processes with the release of a noticeable amount of carbon dioxide ended. In fact, compost is close to rotted manure.
Is ash a mineral or organic fertilizer?
This is probably a mineral top dressing, since there is no longer anything living there. But there are salts of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, easily absorbed by plants in solutions. When making 1 cup of ash per square meter, the plants will get everything they need, and there will be no excess, and the soil with water will not be contaminated. In the ash, mineral salts are convenient for absorption by plants, you just need to add water - both irrigation and rain water cope with this.
In large doses, ash will disrupt the biological properties of the soil due to inhibition of the activity of certain microorganisms.
We are talking about the ash left after burning wood, grass, foliage. Burning rubber, synthetics, plastic, painted something will greatly unnerve the neighbors, and the ash itself will be of no use other than harm.
Lovers of acidic soil (rhododendrons, hydrangeas, honeysuckle) do not need to be fed with ash, it slightly alkalizes the soil. For the same reason, ash on soils with high alkalinity will be unnecessary.
It is undesirable to mix the ash with either mineral nitrogen or organic fertilizers: during the interaction, ammonia forms, which evaporates, taking nitrogen away with it.
Ash well contributes to the buildup of the root system and improves the quality of fruits, they become tastier, this is affected by potassium salts, of which there are many in the ash. But it relates to the natural processes of organic processing only in a balanced composition and bioavailability for plants.
So what to feed?
By themselves, the recommendations “make this or that in such and such an amount” is a misleading of summer residents and gardeners. Soil, hydrological, climatic, resource, physical and financial conditions are different for everyone. As well as the selection of cultivated plants. And still convictions and prejudices.
The most natural and balanced is the natural option, but the balance on cultivated soils has already been disrupted, so long-term measures are required to restore it - depending on the initial conditions.
The soil is restored by adding organic matter. It is advisable to start with compost or rotted manure - there is a balanced abundance of microorganisms and there is still underprocessed organic matter. Sideration and mulching with grass will go to the second stage, when microorganisms are assimilated and find out relations with the “natives”. Unnecessary “military” actions will not benefit anyone.
In the process of these measures, the use of small doses of mineral fertilizers is quite acceptable.
Ash and ash infusions give the best results when building the root system (spring) and when filling the fruits.