There are many methods to grow any plant, some more popular than others. Most pop-farmers today (I think I just coined a term) pretty much roll with the program… you buy $$$$ worth of hydro gear, you pay a heady electrician to set it all up, and you go on the grow-store prescription, constantly returning to the grow store for $$$ worth of nutrients every month or week or what have you.
Well, we here at Roots & Harmony are all about doing things our own way… we believe in the ecosystem, in natural and organic produce and foods, and low-footprint farming methods that recycle, reduce, and reuse. After over 20 years of farming various things various ways (we’ve tried all the techniques for growing anything from summer squash to sour diesel), we believe we’ve arrived right back at what nature intended… soil, water, food and light. Today I want to discuss some of the reasons why soil farming is the way to go, and maybe even (yeah right) convert some of you noobs out there, and get you off on the right foot.
Soil farming is eco-friendly. By using organic soils and food ingredients, you produce waste after each cycle that can be re-used in your garden, or simply spread on your land with no negative environmental consequence. Large reservoirs full of chemical nutrients and plant waste must be flushed and dumped… where they either go into our sewer systems, into the earth, or otherwise into our environment. Soil ensures your plants use only the water and nutrients they need, thereby avoiding toxic or otherwise unseemly water waste. Soil also requires no constant electricity, so you are able to reduce the power footprint required by your setup.
Soil has a slower uptake than hydro systems (it’s like eating a hamburger vs. injecting burger grease into your veins). Because of this, mistakes such as under-watering and overfeeding can be corrected easier and will not have as much of an impact on your plants or veggies. It also acts as a reservoir in it’s own right, so you have more lenience with watering and feeding, although we don’t recommend you use it… it’s just there when you need it.
Soil can be the most productive medium. It depends on how you use it. Soil is its own ecosystem, it can harbor many beneficial microbes and fungi that hydro systems cannot. This ecosystem needs food though, so you need to adjust your feeding techniques appropriately. We believe that by using a reasonable amount of liquid nutrients and a healthy soil top dress you can actually more effectively, safely, and efficiently feed your plants without need for expensive runs to the grow store. With a healthy top dress, you are actually feeding your plants every time you water, and as the plant uptakes, the food and water is re-distributed throughout the medium via osmosis and fluid dynamics. Effectively, the plant “pulls” as much as it needs from the medium, instead of the medium “pushing” the nutrients into the plant. This minimizes time spent recovering from overfeeding and hence maximizes your yield.
Soil is a hospitable and receptive environment, designed to do exactly what it does… grow plants. It provides a lattice-work structure for the roots to grow in, promotes stronger, thicker, healthier root-growth, and as well, provides a pleasant home for a wide variety of good things. These beneficial microbes and fungi were designed by nature to aid plant growth and make soil an ideal medium.
Because soil is the natural structure design to grow plant roots it provides many benefits that nutritive water alone cannot. These benefits do more than increase yield, prevent plagues, and keep your plants healthy and your costs down… they also make your fruit taste better. Tell me a lab-grown Safeway tomato tastes better than a farm-grown organic heirloom tomato. Exactly. After a properly executing a soil run, you should notice brighter flavors, no chemical aftertaste, and smooth smoke. These are the hallmarks of a well balanced plant chemistry and proper flushing, which soil is the natural way to get!
Give soil a try… it might change the way you farm forever.