Posted by: ssorrrell | June 19, 2007

Crop Rotation

A comment in a garden book tonight was illustrating how weeds find the right soil that needs their improvement.  Weeds can be used as a bellwether to indicate issue.  The Earth seeks balance.  Too much potash, nitrogen, bacteria X, or not enough sodium, calcium, zinc, etc. in a complex web of interrelationships we haven’t even tried to understand.  A weed sprouts in a place were it can use up the excess nitrogen and add calcium when it dies.  Then a different weed sprouts in that spot to absorb the calcium.  And on and on.

But what’s a weed?  Just a plant that wasn’t planted in the ground.  Is it really any different than a vegetable or herb?

Plants that we put into the ground don’t have a choice about where to sprout.  Is the soil right for the plant?  Doesn’t matter that’s were we want it to grow.  This is were crop rotation comes in.  Does anybody think that a type of plant wants to be planted in the same soil every year?  Crop rotation is an artificial form of letting the plant “choose” it’s location.  It still can’t  choose, but the soil gets a break and the other rotations change its balances.

By rotating 4 times, we get 4 variations of plant material in the soil.  Such a system will still be out of balance, especially as time goes on.  External inputs are necessary to bring balance or closer balance.  For this setup, one would need to be sensitive to the soil and know what external inputs to apply.  This is not the embodiment of modern farming.  The spray is.  Whether from plane or pipe.  Add fertilizer, add herbicide, add pesticide.  At what point do we listen?

Perhaps, the best thing is to fallow the land and let the Earth bring balance.

Are insects really any different than weeds?  They only eat susceptible plants.  Otherwise, with their ability to procreate all the plants would have been eaten to death long ago.

Getting closer, still can’t get the quite idea right.  It’s there and I can feel it.  Plenty of holes in this reasoning.  🙂 Room to grow.

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