Improving soil life and fertility

By adding organic plant-based materials to the soil, the microorganisms within the soil can flourish, and enhance the soil structure and fertility of your land.

In conventional agriculture, the soil can become barren and lifeless. Chemical fertilizers are added to feed the plants directly, and the soil is treated as simply a medium which physically supports the plants. This is like a human being constantly fed by intravenous drip rather than consuming real foods. Without organic inputs, the soil becomes depleted of organic material and animal life, harming the long-term fertility of the land.

This is contrary to a natural system, such as a forest, where the soil is filled with life. The soil contains huge numbers of microorganisms that interact which each other, forming a soil food web. When organic material is added to the soil, the microorganisms and worms break down the material into a form that is accessible to the growing plants. This process creates a fertile environment and improves the soil structure.

Veganic agriculture works to imitate natural systems. Organic plant-based materials are added to the soil, such as vegetable compost, green manures, and chipped branch wood. The organic matter feeds the soil, and the soil feeds the plants, leading to long-term fertility.

To learn more, read our article on the soil food web, and the detailed book review of Teaming with Microbes.


20 May 2008
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