“Seeing is believing” is a time honored quote that has a lot of wisdom attached to it. However, in agriculture this saying can hold back change.
I have become more and more aware of the importance of feeding the soil before anything else, which can no longer be just a nice thought but a mandatory practice. Feeding the soil is an ongoing process that is 75% visualizing what’s going on as you can’t see beneath the soil surface. “Seeing is believing” is the other 25%. The 25% proof is healthily growing things all around that you can see and touch. The soil that we all stand on everyday has more life in the top one foot than all the life from the surface of our planet to the stratosphere. Most of that life is microscopic, so to feed these critters you need a real small spoon. That real small spoon is called a Compost Tea Brewer. It takes compost and washes all the microscopic life leaving it suspended in water, which can then be distributed over the soil.
For most of us, me included, we have much more faith in “seeing is believing ” than in what can’t be seen. But that is exactly what we must do. We must put the same amount of faith into the the unseen: the microscopic world of bacteria, fungi, nematodes and many more critters that make up soil microbiology. This then becomes the Achilles heel of feeding the soil first. This method that requires a certain amount of faith matched against “seeing is believing” has a tough row to hoe.
We have weeds, so we buy a herbicide; in short order that weed is dead. We have bugs eating our crops, so we buy a pesticide; those bugs that came to put me out of business soon lay dead upon the ground. Our crop has a somewhat sickly look, we bring a sack of Nitrogen fertilizer to the rescue and in a matter of days a healthy green look returns. Why would anyone in their right mind want to change a system that gives off so much instant gratification?
For many years I drank the Kool-Aid with the rest, but I can no longer turn a deaf ear to all of the disturbing events that present themselves almost on a daily basis. The chemical industry has produced some 80,000 new chemicals, which do not exist in nature. What disturbs me is the fact that not all these chemicals are user friendly to us or the environment. I know that the whole world is one big chemical factory, but Mother Nature has her chemical factory in perfect balance. I’m not so sure our man made factory is as well balanced. In fact I’m sure it’s not. So I’m going to cast my lot first with the microscopic world knowing that Mother Nature doesn’t deceive. Then I’ll add some patience and I’m sure that happy green growing stuff will sure enough surround me.