In this week’s video, we share with you a technique that seeks to simulate the forest soil in a highly degraded site. It may seem strange, but we put wood chips at the bottom of the bed. The suggestion came from Ernst Götsch when he was here with us in Mértola, Portugal. In the video, you can see the step-by-step and the explanation of the dynamics that are intended to boost with this “trick.” Together, wood chips, manure and intense planting stimulate soil formation.
The soil creates the plant that creates the soil...
The magic happens in the rhizosphere – the area around the roots of plants. Most of the sugars a plant produces are released through the roots. This is the first “food” of an intense trophic chain of life in the soil. Once this vast (though tiny) network of exchanges and transformations is activated, bacteria, microarthropods, fungi, nematodes, annelids directly or indirectly access the material we add to the surface and bottom of the bed. The metabolic result of all these participants is the bioavailability of nutrients to the plants and the formation of compounds that promote the physical structuring of the soil, making it more porous and with higher capacity of retention of water.
The application of composts, the use of Efficient Organisms, or fermented microorganisms and inoculations of specific strains, are well known and generally very effective techniques. Basically, what they all seek to do is to recolonize the web of life underground. The case illustrated in the video may be a more cost-effective alternative, but its success depends on a diversified and densely planted agriculture. If we think that such magic of nutrient bioavailability occurs primarily at about 3 cm around the roots of plants, the more roots of different species growing together, the better. But in order to truly understand that, we must definitely incorporate, in our minds and hearts, the concept of cooperation and unconditional love.