How to Restore Soil Health and Improve Crop Production Without Using Fertilizers
Are you struggling with poor-performing gardens, sickly-looking plants, and low crop yields during every farming cycle?
You may have done everything to improve your farm yields, including planting early, rotating your plants, and utilizing fertilizers, but nothing seems to work!
Well, many farmers have been facing a huge decline in crop yields over the past few years due to climate change. However, research shows that soil infertility and an increase in pest and plant diseases are other valid reasons why gardeners are enduring lower yields.
With that said:
Did you know that using synthetic fertilizer affects soil fertility and soil quality?
Applying synthetic fertilizers to your farms and gardens makes the soil toxic over time. Using some pesticides to fight pests also has a similar effect on plants and soil quality.
Reduced soil fertility and quality also reduces crop production. You will notice that your plants are quickly becoming frail and they are no longer healthy due to the increased soil toxicity.
In essence, they won’t be able to absorb the much-needed nutrients effectively, subsequently leading to stunted growth.
So, what’s the solution?
Your best bet is to STOP using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on your farms. Inorganic fertilizers are fast becoming a danger to the relationship between plants and microorganisms in the soil.
Whether you have a small kitchen garden or a large commercial farm, you can grow healthy plants and handle pesky pests without using artificial fertilizers and pesticides!
In this article, we discuss how to grow BIG, HEALTHY food, and plants in a non-toxic way using mycorrhizae instead of fertilizers and pesticides.
Here’s an outline of what you should expect next:
- Learning how fertilizers and pesticides deplete soil quality
- Understanding how fertilizers and pesticides affect plant nutrient uptake
- Can you grow healthy plants without fertilizers and pesticides?
- What is mycorrhizae all about?
- Do mycorrhizae work with all types of plants?
- What are the benefits of mycorrhizae in modern agriculture?
- Experience fast-growing plants and healthier gardens with mycorrhizae
Without wasting any more time, let’s get started...
Learning how fertilizers and pesticides deplete soil quality
Soil quality simply refers to how well the soil on your farm does what you want it to do. It essentially defines how well the soil can store and process water and nutrients for other organisms to thrive.
The quality of the soil on your farm significantly impacts plant growth. In essence, it affects the chemical, physical, and biological processes that determine how plants absorb water and nutrients for their natural growth and sustenance.
You might not know this, but the soil is also a living organism. And like any other living organism, it requires air and water to stay healthy and support other organisms, including plants and animals.
Plants require healthy soil to grow quickly and in a healthy manner. However, soil degradation resulting from erosion and degenerative human activities has led to poor soil quality over the years.
In a bid to improve soil quality and increase crop production, farmers have been applying synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to their farms since time immemorial. Fertilizers were the miracle that doubled crop yields and harvests.
However, research shows that the extensive use of synthetic fertilizer has adverse effects on soil quality. It leads to soil that no longer contains the nutritional minerals required for healthy plant growth! These fertilizers kill beneficial microorganisms, thus leading to stunted growth.
Industrial farming practices coupled with the excess use of fertilizers and pesticides have compromised soil quality over time, leading to poor yields and lower profits in the long run!
Using mycorrhizae as an alternative to inorganic fertilizer can boost crop production, ensure effective plant growth, and guarantee healthy gardens.
Understanding how fertilizers and pesticides affect plant nutrient uptake
The main function of the roots of a plant is to absorb water and essential minerals. The roots consist of hairs that absorb dissolved ions in soil water.
However, the ability of the roots to absorb nutrients depends on the composition of the soil. For instance, some vital nutrients may not be available in specific types of soil. Sometimes the soil may be toxic or contain high pH levels, making it harder for plants to absorb minerals.
Whatever the case, applying fertilizers and pesticides excessively changes the composition of the soil over time. At first, fertilizers will certainly lead to higher yields. However, the composition of the soil will change with each application.
Then again, applying fertilizer and pesticides caused the soil surface to quickly compact. This means growers have to plow deeper when planting, which is certainly not good for the soil. Plowing deeper also makes it difficult for growing plants to access much-needed nutrients.
With inhibited absorption of nutrients, plants become weak and prone to diseases, leading to stunted growth and poorer yields.
Considering this, it is not at all surprising that growers are now turning to natural options like fungi and bacteria as the ideal alternatives to fertilizers and pesticides.
Can you grow healthy plants without fertilizers and pesticides?
One of the greatest misconceptions about gardening is that you cannot grow healthy plants without using fertilizers or pesticides. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Plants do not require fertilizer to grow. Instead, they make their own food through a process known as photosynthesis. Fertilizer only provides more nutrients to the soil for healthy plant growth.
Nevertheless, adding fertilizer to your garden during every farming cycle alters the soil quality and negatively impacts plant growth.
Therefore, many farmers are now opting for more natural alternatives. Yes. It is now possible to grow healthy crops while considering the earth, using non-toxic methods.
One way is to facilitate soil regeneration by promoting a symbiotic relationship between plants, bacteria, and fungi.
As mentioned earlier, the soil is a living organism that supports other living organisms, including fungi and bacteria. These organisms work together to break down various nutrients that plants need to grow effectively.
Plants essentially need external help from good fungi and bacteria to absorb hard-to-capture, but important nutrients, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and iron that are bound to the soil. This is where the importance of mycorrhizae comes into play.
What is mycorrhizae all about?
Whether you are a small-scale kitchen gardener or a large, commercial cannabis farmer, you must have heard about mycorrhizae by now. After all, mycorrhizae are not anything new in modern agriculture. They are involved in the mutually beneficial partnerships that exist between plants and fungi.
It’s a case of scratch my back, and I scratch yours! These fungi help plants to absorb nutrients and water that are hard to reach in exchange for sugar in the form of glucose, and organic substances.
Plants face a substantial challenge as far as their anatomy is concerned in the sense that they have very fine roots with a limited capacity. These roots only use about 4-7% of the soil volume, meaning they need to forge a partnership with fungi and bacteria to increase their reach.
As you can see, minerals are hard to obtain from the soil. However, rhizobacteria, as well as mycorrhizae, are specialists, particularly when it comes to releasing phosphate, nitrogen, and potassium.
But besides supplying essential nutrients to plants, rhizobacteria, and mycorrhizae form a natural defense system around the roots of the plants, subsequently keeping disease at bay. This is because they rely on the plant to provide them with food.
Considering all these facts, it is now clearer that we do not need fertilizers and pesticides to encourage healthy plant growth and prevent plant diseases.
Do mycorrhizae work with all types of plants?
Did you know that 90% of all the vascular plants on earth have a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi?
Whether you are struggling with poor crop yields or stunted growth, pairing mycorrhizae with your plants can help your garden prosper. Most growers do not use mycorrhizae to improve plant growth and health.
Your options are almost endless as far as using mycorrhizae on your plants is concerned. This set of micro-organisms interacts well with a wide range of crops, leading to improved growth and beautiful gardens.
Some of the most common plants that can benefit from this unique relationship include:
- Fruits like mango, papaya, and watermelon
- Vegetables like cabbages, cucumber, and pumpkin
- Herbs like cannabis
- Spices like parsley and coriander
What are the benefits of mycorrhizae in modern agriculture?
The symbiotic relationship between mycorrhizae and plants presents a myriad of benefits. Besides protecting the soil quality, it also helps restore degenerated soil naturally without using toxic chemicals in the form of synthetic fertilizers.
Here, we discuss some of the benefits you should expect from mycorrhizae fungi.
- Faster plant establishment and growth
If you typically use fertilizer on your farm, you will notice that you have to plow deeper during each subsequent planting season. This is because the fertilizer has compacted the soil surface, making it difficult for the plant to establish itself. Mycorrhizal fungi facilitate faster plant establishment and support healthy growth.
- Increased absorption area
Unlike using fertilizer, mycorrhizae tend to improve the absorption area more than 50 times. This translates to better access to nutrients and healthier growth.
- Improved nutrient and water uptake
Fungi and bacteria allow for improved nutrient and water uptake. They convert the nutrients into absorbable ions that are easier for the plant to access. The fungi also store the nutrients and only release them when the plant needs them.
- Improved utilization of soil nutrients
Mycorrhizal fungi enable the efficient absorption of specific nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other micronutrients.
- Enhanced plant defense against diseases
Mycorrhizal fungi not only assist plants in absorbing much-needed nutrients but also act as a defense against diseases. Since the fungi benefit from the supply of sugars from the plant, they have to guard it against intrusion to protect their main source of food.
- Elimination of weeds and pests
You no longer have to use pesticides and herbicides to deal with weeds and pests on your farm. Mycorrhizal fungi have a way of suppressing the growth of weeds by increasing the base area of the plant roots.
- Enhanced soil quality and structure
Applying fertilizer and pesticides during every farming cycle can compromise the soil structure by compacting the surface, making it difficult for plant roots to access the desired nutrients. Pairing mycorrhizal fungi with your plants will boost the soil structure, thus allowing the roots to penetrate easily.
- Blossoming gardens and higher crop yields
The desire of every grower is to have a blossoming garden regardless of how big or small it is. However, using too much fertilizer and pesticides can affect the soil quality, leading to sickly plants and stunted growth.
The good news is that by pairing mycorrhizal fungi with your plants, you should expect a blossoming garden within no time.
Experience fast-growing plants and healthier gardens with mycorrhizae
Using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on your farm can do more harm than good to your plants. As already discussed, inorganic fertilizers and pesticides contain harsh chemicals that deplete the soil quality and harm the environment in the long run.
If you want to improve nutrient absorption, enhance healthy plant growth, and cultivate thriving gardens that you can be proud of, it is only logical that you pair mycorrhizae with your plants rather than using fertilizers or pesticides.
In any case, agriculture does not have to be toxic. We can now regenerate the soil and produce healthy food using non-toxic methods like applying mycorrhizae products.
To learn more about how mycorrhizae work and how to apply it to your plants, contact Plant Revolution today. We have a variety of mycorrhizae species in our product range to fit your specific type of soil.