Originally Posted by Photosynthesis
Isn't balancing soil minerals within certain parameters a relative thing to do? there seem to be a lot of variables that this style of growing does not consider.
This seems like some Albrecht type shit, but with your twist on it.
How do you explain a permaculture/no-till style of gardening being as succesful/more successful than a soil balanced garden, when the permaculture garden has never had a soil test?
Don't get me wrong, I have had many soil test. However the more I research long term sustainable gardening, the further away from testing the soil I tend to get.
One might hypothesize that there is some frustration in chasing the nutrient balanced soil through Mehlich based soil testing. From commonly held perspectives, this does not release (test for) sequestered nutrients, which in my opinion are the major players in living soil gardening.
These nutrients are sequestered in organic matter in which case the testing involves baking and weighing which seems somewhat 'stabbing in the dark' or it can be tested with stronger acids and analyzed with mass spectrometry and other expensive means, which many hold to be accurate. (It is the testing I use when necessary)
These nutrients can also be sequestered in rock material (AFAIK) and then again testing involves the use of strong acids if one believes the broader scientific community.
Another method of testing 'hypothetically' is to examine the macro and microorganisms in the soil. Some recent test parameters involve assaying the numbers of bacterial feeding nematodes in the soil as a measure of potential fertility. One might say the same of bacteria, archaea and protozoa which are observed to come to life in the lab from a soil sample.
It is all interesting and I've chosen to sit on the fence, having spent lots of cash on ineffectual soil tests and subsequent advice. I do have the luxury of a biological lab though, which does help.
Suppose I do get the Albrecht-Reams testing and follow the saturation advice by purchasing and applying minerals? Probably no harm done right? So long as the nutrients ARE actually sequestered only to be exchanged for organic acids. (You can't believe how many different ones there are) No harm done and possible benefits and I feel like I've done my best.
Alternatively I might go the route of one straw bending with natural growing methods, rejecting fertilizers and exquisite measurements, using diverse local rock & clay dusts, ramial and plant residue. I might be just as happy, fill my belly with nutritious food but keep some extra coin in my jeans.
No offense to Michael - Good work.