Remineralization vs. chemical fertilization
My father commented to ask
what's the difference between remineralization
and using chemical fertilizers. The answer is --- not much in the
short term, but hopefully a lot in the long term.
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Most (perhaps all?) of
the minerals I've been applying are approved for
organic gardening because they're mined rocks, but they're really just
don't believe that just because something's "natural" that it's safe
for my soil, and I don't kid myself by thinking that there may not be
some short-term damage to my soil microorganisms resulting from this
winter's application. I'm hopeful that by spring, though,
everything will have evened out.
That's the short-term
picture, but what about the long term? The purpose of
remineralization is to correct imbalances
in the soil that develop over millenia of rainfall and leaching. The theory is that if
you boost levels of trace minerals that have been washed out of the
earth, you can bring your soil back into balance and not have to repeat
the endeavor. (That said, it may take a few years of soil tests
and remineralization to return to the optimal levels, especially since
Solomon places application limits on several of the minerals, like
In contrast, the chemical
fertilizers used in mainstream farming are generally meant to be
applied before every crop, and tend to create a cycle of dependency in
the soil. For example, if you use chemical nitrogen fertilizers,
the microorganisms in your soil that usually cycle nitrogen and make it
available to plants perish, so you have to keep applying chemical
nitrogen fertilizers. If remineralization works correctly, it
does the opposite --- you add minerals that microorganisms will keep
cycling in your garden indefinitely.
Whether the theory will
stand up to reality is up for debate. I feel there's a 10% chance
I'll regret spreading all these chemicals on the soil, a large chance I
won't see any difference, and perhaps a 20% chance my strawberries will
taste astonishingly rich this year. Only time will tell.
(And, yes, it's all about the strawberries.)