Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
During the winter time, we always "try" to get more rest and more reading done. It is way too cold to move outside, let alone do many projects requiring hand movement. We have subscriptions to various magazines, watch a few documentaries and tend to add more books to our collection during this time. One magazine in particular, "Acres USA", has been a wealth of information for me. I probably look forward to that one more than any other.
In one of the previous issues I came across an article that sums up the biochemical sequence of a plants uptake of nutrition. This is where I will probably lose over half of the readers of this particular blog. I know, I'm getting my geek on, but those serious about understanding plant nutrition will probably want to read on. Simplicity is the key to understanding these things, at least for me, and understanding the utilization sequence.
In the plant world, roots "should" have a relationship with fungi. This relationship, called "Mycorrhizae, is a symbiotic relationship that forms between fungi and plants. The fungi colonize the root system of a host plant, providing increased water and nutrient absorption capabilities while the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates formed from photosynthesis. Mycorrhizae also offer the host plant increased protection against certain pathogens."
"Fungi also have the ability to easily absorb elements such a phosphorus and nitrogen which are essential for life. Plants are autotrophic, producing their food in the form of carbohydrates through the process of photosynthesis. However, plants often have difficulty obtaining and absorbing many of the essential nutrients needed for life, specifically nitrogen and phosphorus." The New York Botanical Garden
So understanding how the root/fungi relationship works, the next phase is understanding how the roots absorb nutrients;
Of course, there are many other trace minerals associated with plant function that are essential, but not covered here. This should give you a clearer understanding of how the plant roots uptake nutrition.
Incorporating fungi inoculation (soil inoculant) into a pastured base growing system for animal rotation or a crop production system should be an important part of creating a healthy plant for forage or human consumption. Studies show an increased uptake capacity for nutrients in the soil, disease and drought resistance which in turn will increased plant health and vigor. This will increased crop or grass production. This works particularly well in a no-till system. Either way, it is a win-win letting natural do its thing.
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