Marc Suderman

  • Marc Suderman Consulting

  • United States, WA, Yakima

Full Post

Marc Suderman Yakima, WA
3 years, 8 months ago
from #SoilMatters
The conversion and availability of mineral elements are related to and regulated by the system of decay in the soil. The proper decay processes are initiated and determined by usually full levels of calcium and reasonable levels of magnesium.
A balanced equilibrium of calcium and magnesium creates a soil environment for bacteria and fungus activity for the proper decay of organic residues into CO2, carbonic acid and a host of many weak and mild organic acids, all so necessary to convert and release mineral elements in the soil system.
An unbalanced equilibrium of calcium and magnesium permits organic residues to decay into alcohol, a sterilant to bacteria; and into formaldehyde, a preservative of cell tissue. The symptoms of this improper decay system can be observed when previous year’s stalks are plowed back up just as shiny and fresh as they were when turned down.
Under these conditions, larger and increasing amounts of nitrogen and fertilizer minerals will be required just to maintain normal crop yields. The soil system is not complementary to release the minerals nor the other soil essentials for optimum growth.
And remember also that large applications of nitrogen consume larger amounts of calcium as well as “burn-up” crop residues and humus. You can get increased yields for a few years from this stored-up wealth of humus, but eventually you will have to account for this withdrawal.
Without an active organic matter system in the soil you cannot grow any crop at all, no matter how much N, P, and K you add. The soil is a living complex system that not only holds the twelve necessary minerals needed for plant life, but also is the factory that produces carbon dioxide, digests lignin into humus, provides nutrition and energy for desirable bacterial and soil animal life, and is the container for both water and air. Can you germinate and grow a plant in subsoil material without humus action present?
In the absence of a system of organic matter management it will soon be essential to consider buying dry ice (as a source of CO2) and propane has (as a source of additional carbon). Both are sad excuses for our ignorance and mismanagement of calcium and magnesium and at the same time a dear price to be paid for our continued disregard of this important and vital soil equilibrium.
Excerpted from: An Acres U.S.A. Desk Reference, Vol. 1, pg. 95 - C.J. Fenzau