Now that you have the knowledge of the benefits of double digging, can you say that it is worth the “drudgery”? I will like to know your thoughts, kindly hit the comment section to air your opinion. However, if you missed last week’s educational lesson, click here for an insightful read.

That said, have you considered that when buyers continue to patronize food items grown under less sustainable farm practices, we are simply encouraging such unethical and unhealthy farm practices to continue? These practices deplete the soil, environment and even to negatively impact the healthy lifestyle of people who consume such food. According to Richard St Barbe Baker in his book titled ‘My Life, My Trees’, he said “the grandfather keeps sheep, the son keeps goats and the grandson keeps nothing”. Simply put, when our focus is on what to harvest, we tend to forget to supply the soil with what it needs to remain fertile. For week nine, we are learning about Sustainable Soil Fertility

It needs to be stated that when we grow crops, they take up nutrients, water and humus from the soil to nourish their growth. Therefore, to maintain soil sustainability, the farmer must return to the soil the same quantity and quality of nutrients taken up by the crops.

This can be easily met by applying compost gotten from crop residues back to the soil. It needs to be known that carbon leaves the soil in the form of Carbon dioxide, and this can be replenished by planting crops that store large amount of Carbon in their mature bodies such as corn, rice, sorghum, millet, wheat and so on. These crops are grown and fed back to the soil in form of compost, which when added to the soil helps to add previously unavailable nutrients to the soil through the biogeochemical cycles. In biogeochemical cycles, humic acid that is produced from the decomposition process which is available in cured compost, with carbonic acid that is developed around the plant stems can increase soil microbial activity and decompose large minerals. This may alter the soil Ph so that nutrients that were previously not available will be made available

Kindly note: Compost plants grown on nutrient deficient soil will not contain the “unavailable” nutrients needed to fill the nutrient-gap of the recipient soil. Therefore, when deficient plants are used to make compost, the soil that this “deficient” compost is added to still remains unbalanced.

The key to a healthy plant either for consumption or compose is a healthy s犀利士
oil. The carbonaceous materials from plants give good humus to be added to the soil. Humus creates good soil structure and fertility, it helps to hold nutrients in the soil, and reduces the leaching out of nutrients. Organic matter is about 3 percent in most tropical soil, so we do not have so much to support our plants, hence the need to add more compost all the time to the soil. The most appropriate way to have sustainable soil fertility is to get the waste resources or materials for compost from diverse sources (in and within the area). In Bio-intensive we produce crops in 60%, 30% and 10% ratio, to produce enough compose materials for our farm, in case we do not have access to other waste resources around.

60% of our growing area is grown with carbon and calorie crops that produce large amounts of carbon for compost and make food available for us in large numbers of calories. They are grains which are wheat, maize sorghum, millet, amaranthus grown for seeds extractions, oat and sunflower among others.

30% of our growing area is grown with root-diet crops that produce large numbers of calories in small space per unit of time. Examples of these crops are garlic, Irish potato, sweet potato etc.
10% of our growing area are grown with vegetable crops for vitamins and minerals. We grow more vegetables in the system by interplanting short cycle vegetables with the carbon crops. Also, fruits are grown as border crops and as an agroforestry pattern for our system.

If you choose to eat more carbon and calorie crops, the weight of the food you eat will generally be less per day but the area needed to grow your diet will increase. On the other hand, if you choose to eat more high calorie root crops, the weight of the food will be more per day, while the area needed to grow the diet will generally decrease. If you grow a lot of inter planted legumes, they will reduce the weight of the diet you eat, meanwhile they will increase the area needed to grow such diets. Legumes are not very area efficient for the production of calories.

Calories are the most challenging nutritional element to grow in the smallest area with the least labour, therefore, diet is a major factor in what to grow in Bio-intensive farming.

Keep a date for next episode
Thank you.

Meet our Instructor/Author

Abosede Olawumi Benedict is an astute, well-traveled Organic Farm Manager and Trainer with over 15-years of experience in the farming industry.

Her expertise intercuts the following areas: Grow Bio-intensive System, Organic, Sustainable or Regenerative Farming, Healthy Living (Nutrition), Sustainable living, Natural building, Compost making, Holistic Management, Farm Management & Trainer and Organic Integrated Pest Management to mention just a few.

Kindly reach the undersigned for further enquiries

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0904 2607 067

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