Fertilising versus soil conditioning

Why do I struggle to grow plants when they grow in the forest without any fertilisers?”

In the forest up to 90% of nutrients taken up by plants is through microbial action. The combination of natural organic matter, some animal but mostly from leaf litter that is deposited on the forest floor, combined with the minerals from natural rock weathering, are enough to support entire plant ecosystems. But we are told that we need to fertilise plants for them to live.

Fertilisers are sold and used to “feed” plants with what have been called essential elements, that are necessary for our plants to grow. These fertilisers are made to be water-soluble, with either a salt or sulphur base, which, if over-used, can build up to toxic levels in the soil or plant itself, adversely affecting the microbial life in the soil and subsequently the long-term ability of the soil to sustain life. Once these chemical fertilisers are dissolved only 20-30% of what is applied is taken up by the plants, and therefore can be only considered supplemental to proper soil nutrition.

Soil conditioning works on the structure of the soil and its ability to support growing plants, influencing water penetration, storage and drainage, aggregate formation, as well as nutrient retention and availability, predominantly through microbial action. Some of our common practices like using gypsum, lime, dolomite, and wetting agents can, if over-used, also adversely affect the structure of the soil and the beneficial life within it.

Using Earthlife Microbial Rock Minerals adds a broad-spectrum of non-water-soluble elements, creating a storage of nutrients ready for plants to tap in to. They also contain over 30 strains of beneficial microbes which go to work to conditioning soils and helping create an environment that promotes strong, energetic growth, while helping plants with their natural ability to grow, minimising the need for numerous different chemical applications.

By properly conditioning the soil, we are planning for the future, so our plants can adapt and acclimatise to grow into our soils, as nature intended, rather than just sitting in the ground waiting for us to care for them.

See the team from Mackay Forestry Solutions at the Mackay Expo on Site OS162.