The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Strawberry Micronutrient Deficiency?

StrawberryI started reading up on plant micronutrients when I noticed that our strawberries weren't as tasty this year as last year.  Sure, the heavy rains a few weeks ago probably contributed to the lack of sweetness, but strawberries that I'd transplanted to new beds last fall were tastier than strawberries that had been in the same beds for over two years.  Could the old strawberries have used up micronutrients in their soil, resulting in less tasty fruits?

As I read up on micronutrients, an astonishing story emerged.  The conventionally grown crops you buy in the grocery store are churned out in massive quantities through farming practices which feed the soil with chemical fertilizers.  These fertilizers provide the plants with the big three nutrients --- nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium --- which is a lot like feeding a human solely on artificial protein, starch, and fats.  Over a few years, the crop plants use up all of the micronutrients in the soil and start producing food which is also deficient in those micronutrients.  An unreferenced post on Wikipedia suggests that dealing with these micronutrient deficiencies could make us 10% smarter.  And maybe make our strawberries tastier?

This post is part of our Micronutrient lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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It would prove we were at least 10 percent smarter if we refused to buy chemically farmed food.
Comment by Errol Mon Jun 1 13:18:21 2009
Thanks for making me laugh! :-)
Comment by anna Tue Jun 2 10:40:04 2009
Hey, just yesterday Joy and I were having a playdate with a little friend of hers, and her dad was saying that Danika will only eat organic strawberries. And no one tells her that they're organic. Her dad and I looked at each other and came to the same conclusion: Danika's tasting how much better the organic strawberries are!! Micronutrients! (the common stroy is that young children have much more sensitive taste buds than adults do.)
Comment by Jennifer Tue Jun 2 13:22:20 2009
That's fascinating! Have they run a blind taste test on her? Intriguing!
Comment by anna Tue Jun 2 15:49:38 2009

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