Some things to ponder when working with Soil Harmonics
A harmonic, by definition, is an energy wave that is a part of a multiple frequency with its own unique energy wave. One way of understanding this is through the analogy of a symphony. A symphony is comprised of several instruments which, when being played, have their own individual sound wave, or tone. Each instrument wave is a single harmonic. The sound the instruments make in unison is the multiple frequency made by several harmonics.
Systems in nature are comprised of many components working together to create a symphony where that system has a unique purpose that is bigger and more complex than the purposes of their individual parts. In the case of soil, those components include the minerals and organic matter of the soil itself, the air and water within the pore space of the soil and the critters that live in and on the soil.The soil organic matter includes decaying plant material, live plant roots and the simple carbohydrates exuding from the plant roots. Soil life includes nematodes, protozoa, many types of bacteria, fungi, bugs that eat organic matter called microarthropods, burrowing animals, insects and scratching birds. Perhaps now you can see how intricate and alive soil truly is. This soil harmonic creates life on this planet and without all the individual harmonics the “tone” of the soil begins to lose its power and richness. Creating life becomes a struggle and all living things on the planet suffer, plant and animal. Currently much of our soil is an incomplete harmonic.
Well, most of them. Current land use practices have diminished the harmonics of the soil. Use of heavy equipment for tillage, harvesting and transport across farmland has compacted the soil. This compaction has drastically reduced pore space which means there is no room for water and air in the soil. With no air and water, the soil critters cannot thrive. Plants need the life in the soil to bring them nutrients and they need pore space in order to grow deep roots and find sufficient water. Tillage, specifically, destroys fungi and earthworms. When fungi is present in the soil, it releases nitrogen that becomes available to plants, while earthworms leave their nutrient dense castings for plants and the other soil critters. Without their presence, plants struggle to receive the nutrients and minerals they need. Pesticide and herbicide application kills everything, not just the pests. So beneficial bacteria, protozoa, fungi and nematodes are removed from the harmonics in the soil and unfortunately, the pests will grow back first leaving plants open to attack. Once these land use practices have been implemented, only soil minerals and some organic matter are left along with a few sad, struggling plants.
The key to reviving a dead soil is to add the life back in. All the beneficial bacteria, protozoa, fungi and nematodes. This is done through mulching, the use of compost or compost tea which is full of the appropriate soil life and succession and companion planting. Proper addition of these things will restore pore space and increase air and water holding capacity of the soil.
Plant roots can grow deeper and need less additional water. Beneficial soil life will protect your plant from pests so herbicides and pesticides are not needed. Once you plant some supportive friends for your food production plants, you will have a space that is full of predatory insects to feed on your pests, and bees to pollinate your crop. A healthy soil will need less water and strengthen your ability to conserve water in these times of drought. Plus you will create an endless supply of free food.
When it comes to fixing the loss of land connection on the part of humanity, time spent listening to and observing the land is important. Take off your shoes and walk on your land. Be silent with it, observe how it takes care of itself. Ask yourself what your soil and topography are truly suited to do. Then ask where it is lacking in diversity. How can this land be enhanced to give you resources while allowing for a thriving ecosystem?