Mulching for soil health - Benefits of Mulching in Organic Farming

Mulching for soil health - Benefits of Mulching in Organic Farming
We tend to think of wealth in the form of monetary possessions. Bank account savings, investments, profits, property, jewellery and other things which enhance a luxurious lifestyle. With setting goals and dreams for success there’s one thing we take for granted… life on the planet. Very few of us understand that we are existing on shaky ground ; literally!

One of the foremost contributors to climate change is soil health. Without soil health everything which we need for life on Earth will cease to exist. Yet we go about a day with nary a thought to how much we stand to lose if we do not make an attempt to understand the need for preserving the environment.

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Forests are falling prey to commercial agriculture. The Amazon rainforest is getting depleted at an alarming rate. We would be wrong to assume that something happening in the South American continent will not harm us. The planet, like the human body, is connected and works as a whole. Commercial agriculture only looks at short term gains and plunders the soil and pulls out precious nutrients. Pesticides and chemicals are poured in leading to further deterioration until the living breathing Earth full of microorganisms is reduced to lifeless debris which cannot even sustain a single blade of grass.

We are all to blame because we are not taking responsibility for our choices. We need to support brands and farms which nurture soil health and repair the eco system instead of allowing it to be ruined. Of what use then are rich cash dividends and investments… our children’s generation and thereafter need clean air and water to live. Those are the investments which we need to make, now more than ever.

A healthy soil is one in which there exist thriving organisms which convert organic debris into rich manure. Organic manure is rich in minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, magnesium and sodium. Our ancestors never popped multi vitamin pills from a bottle. They ate foods which grew in healthy soils which provided them with the right nutrients in the correct ratio.

 

The perfect way to describe it would be that the organisms in the soil have the intelligence to differentiate between a seed which has to be nurtured to grow into a plant and a seed which can be broken down for decomposition. To know which biodegradable matter is to be nurtured and which should be converted to manure is one of the most amazing qualities of healthy soil.

 

One of the most important ingredients for healthy soil is MULCH.

In a traditional farming practice, mulching happens naturally because of the variety of native trees which surround the periphery of the farm. Dried leaves, twigs are a rich source of natural, organic mulch. When the top soil is covered by a layer of mulch , it acts as a protective coating against wind, rain and prevents it from being washed or blown away. Mulching is also a good method of trapping moisture inside the soil and preventing excess evaporation, especially in summer.

A damp soil is great for the environment for soil organisms like earthworms. They feed on the organic mulch and convert it into rich compost which fertilises the soil with vital nutrients. The earthworms wriggle deep into the soil which forms pathways for water to reach the depths as well as allowing for air to penetrate inside. This is what makes soil a living entity. In addition to being well hydrated soil also needs to be aerated which prevents the formation of harmful fungus growth and pathogens.

From hosting moles which burrow into the depths ,nurturing creatures which are plant friends like beetles and colourful bugs, the soil is a cosmopolitan space for all critters which are crucial for Planet health. These friends of the soil also ensure that the bad bacteria are eliminated which prevent harm to crops.

Mulching prevents the growth of weeds and allows for better percolation of water into the soil. The moisture is then trapped between the soil and the organic mulch which ensures that the vegetation stays hydrated even during harsh summer months. In addition to dried leaves and twigs ,wild grass also makes for good natural mulch.

A case in point are evergreen forests. The miyawaki system which helps to grow forests in a short span of time also relies heavily on natural mulching as a protector of young roots and ensuring that plants get adequate nutrients. After a year ,a well planned miyawaki forest nurtures itself and there is no need for manual irrigation. It’s almost as if the trees which are planted close together join roots (hand in hand) and venture deep into the ground in search of water. This ensures that all plants grow at the same speed. A weaker sampling is aided by a stronger tree and together they also bring up the groundwater level.

When we proclaim that “soil is health”, it is not just a fancy oft repeated phrase. It is a truth which is to be taken seriously and highlighted on every platform both small and large. This is not something which needs the attention of world leaders only, it is a reality which we too must work at preserving.

The food that we eat is directly linked to soil health. A sun kissed tomato ripened organically with the help of the birds and bees is not only to be romanticised in stories but does in fact contain a higher level of nutrients than one grown without being ‘touched’ by organic soil.

 

The core of human existence and the future of healthy living is directly connected to the health of the soil. It is not something that can be ignored or set aside for when we can spare the time to make note of what is important.

Soil health must take priority in our lives if we must continue to live well without medical intervention at every stage in our lives. Food education begins with soil health. It is as magical as creation itself. To sink one’s fingers into mushy earth which is bursting with health is a surreal feeling. Even if we are not farmers and come from sterile city lives, grabbing a handful of organic soil sends vibrations to the soul. It speaks to us regardless of who we are or where our interests lie. As human beings we are by nature connected to all forms of life. It is a part of our spiritual existence.

By allowing ourselves to see and feel that which is real we will be helping ourselves immensely in ways that no other kind of success can.Let the soil education begin. It is a powerful study for living the life you wish to enjoy.

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