Why Add Nutrients?
The soil has local imbalances due to human and natural influences. A couple of thetThe natural influences include the deficiencies in the soil when it was laid, and the effect of leaching. Human caused deficiencies come from grazing and harvesting continually, and use of nitrogen fertilizers and irrigation (effectively mining the soil) without restoring the lacking minerals.
Plants require fewer number of minerals then humans to grow but take up the extra minerals that humans or animals require as they grow. If I just focused on the plants health then I would get resilient healthy crops but potential sub optimal minerals for human health. The end goal is nutritionally dense crops for human health.
Big ag farming hits the plants with NPK roundup and who knows what else(like eating chips, lollies and antibiotics), killing of the beneficial microbes – you get nutritionally empty plants that have been forced to grow in sterile soil. Soil microbes manufacture amino acids, vitamins and omega 3/6 fatty acids for the plant. The plant gets pest, UV light, and frost resilience from this health exchange with the soil microbes.
Compost is the main method to introduce carbon, beneficial microbes, and major minerals to the soil. It helps to keep the soil covered to reduce water loss and help control soil temperature, and smother weeds.
- 2 part Chicken manure
- 1 part crusher dust
- 3 parts woodchip
- Lime to Suit
- Gypsum to suit
- Boron to Suit
- Potassium Sulphate to Suit
- Guano to Suit
- Soft Rock Phosphate
- Any other mineral as required
Mix first three ingredients, loosely mix into 3m high pile and allow to heat up then rest for 6 months. The pile will initially cookout the pathogens and seeds, then cool down and the beneficial organisms will multiply if there is sufficient oxygen in the pile.
Blend in the major minerals and apply to crop beds via wheel burrow.
Small application of the trace minerals to the plant via the irrigation network. I use this as the method to get a small amount of trace mineral, microbal brew or microbe food out to the root zone. Apply trac minerals that the soil in general requires.
More specific for what the plant requires at its life cycle stage. Fertigation is the most efficient form of nutrient delivery method. Test plant leaf or fruit sap brix response to various nutrients, the plant knows what it needs. Apply what raises the brix 2% or more. For specific weed outbreaks, if the nutrient reduces the weed health with a neutral or positive effect on the crop then apply that nutrient. Feed the crop not the weeds.
Microbal/probiotic brews can be applied to the crop to act as bio-protective layer over the plants. The microbes chelate and exchange minerals with the plants in return for sugar.