One of my passions in life is trying to leave my little patch of paradise in a better condition than when I moved to it. I have nearly 15 acres in the mid north coast of New South Wales in Australia.
The soil in most of Australia is of a poorish quality – so the first thing is to try and improve it. I have decided NOT to add anything man-made as far as fertilizers go. Sure – everything in Nature can be tracked back to chemicals, but I prefer to use the natural manures to help the soil.
Did you know, that fertilizers were more or less ‘invented’ after the World Wars. Commercial manufacturers of bombs noticed that the grass and plant life around bomb-craters were green and healthily growing. When the wars ended, they didn’t know what to do with all the left over chemicals in their factories, so they turned to making fertilizer with them. The use of these fertilizers have become so widespread that it has now become known as ‘conventional’ farming and ‘organic’ farming that had been used for millennia suddenly became ‘alternative’ and strange.
Now there is a swing back to the sustainable way of farming. Raw cow manure
and poultry manure
are easily obtained – and should be composted down to create a wonderful bio-media to add to the soil. If you put the raw manure on your plants, it will burn – always compost down first.
I suggest that you make three compost bins – one just started, one working and the other ready to dip into to add to the garden. There are various ways to easily construct a compost heap, and if you google it you will find an amazing amount of information.
I like the idea of buying rubbish bins – digging a hole in your garden, taking the bottom out of the bin, and burying it in the hole up to the brim. The scraps and manure etc go in the bin, the lid goes on to protect the contents, the worms are able to get in from the bottom, and when it has all worked its magic, pull out the bin, and the compost is exactly where you want it!
Now on a small vegetable house garden that is not so difficult – but what about on a broader scale – paddock size?? It is easy to spread man-made fertilizer there, so how do you use ‘organic’ methods on a large scale? That has been the biggest problem for our modern day farmers with huge tracts of land to improve, machinery to use that makes it quicker and conversely, not enough time to create the amount of food that our growing population needs.
That last paragraph needs an article all to itself – in fact all environmental improvements for our Earth need lots of people to talk about them. We are lucky that the human race is inventive and resilient. Hope and dreams are necessary for us all.
I have written a little booklet about improving the soil. If you are interested, they are AU$8 plus postage. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know where to send it.