Earth area

   

 visit the current theme


francais ici

   

Nature at its 'organik' best!

Marc Landry
Organik Touch
April 2002

he mechanisms that regulate the activities in the soil are as complex as those that regulate our body. When they are in balance, everything is fine, but if something changes this balance, we are faced with catastrophic consequences. In the same way, when we use synthetic products, we are shifting the balance and creating the same situation.

The Law of Minimum (Liebig, 1840) simply put, states that: a minimal amount of elements is needed to assure a minimal growth. If everything is balanced, maximum growth can be expected. The Law of Tolerance (Shelford, 1911) demonstrates how, if an element is in shortage or is extremely available, this can also affect the presence of organisms (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Tolerance Law (Shelford)

The problem lies with the use of synthetic products. The use of synthetic products destroys the regulation process that naturally occurs in soil. Soils that are exposed to synthetic products are stripped of the all-important substances contained in organic matter. Destroying this also creates more pressure on the environment. Organic matter is vital to the soil. A soil that contains organic matter will have better aeration, will retain more humidity, will maintain a constant temperature, will be more resistant to illness, favours nutrition (by controlling the flow of elements), consumes dead matter, etc… Continuous use of synthetic products can put the plants, and the soil, in a vulnerable situation.

With this in mind, we can prepare a strategy to work with nature, and to enhance the natural processes in a way that may benefit all. Let's take a look at the importance of the needs of the plant, and the gains that may occur when these needs are properly managed.

In our temperate climate, it is important to know how plants live and the specific nutritional needs that they have during the growing seasons. In general, a plant will go through these stages: sleep, quick aerial growth, root system development, seed/fruit preparation, pre-sleep period, and sleep. With these phases in mind, we can prepare a plan accordingly.

In spring, after waking up from a long sleep, plants need a source of nitrogen and minerals to begin the growing season.


Figure 2 Aerial growth


In late spring and early summer, the aerial growth of a plant is steady and the root system is starting to establish itself. Plants still need nitrogen, but also require phosphorus and minerals. During the summer period, plants face drought and high temperatures; the demand for nitrogen is reduced to a minimum during this period. When temperatures reach 30oC, plants are not able to maintain their activities. This stress period requires additional minerals.


Figure 3 Root development


In late summer, early fall, plant growth is average. Preparation for the seedlings is already in progress. Plants are also getting ready to sleep for the winter. The demand for nitrogen is very low at this time, but phosphorus, potassium and minerals are in demand.


Figure 4 Regeneration


In the fall, growth has almost stopped because the temperatures and photoperiod are near the minimal tolerable limits. Plants do not require nutrition at this point, until spring comes. The only amendment that may be applied at this time is lime.

By looking at the specific needs of a plant, we can prepare an action plan. In normal conditions, it can be possible to satisfy a plant's nutritional needs with 3 or 4 applications. Here is an overview of the recommended treatment:

1 Application of slow-release fertilizers and minerals

2 Application of a fast action fertilizer, and minerals

3 Application of a fast action fertilizer *

4 Mineral application

* this step may be skipped

When this type of program is implemented, we can hope to achieve maximum results. We will also improve the overall health of the soil. The soil will be able to transform the nutrients more efficiently, which will increase and stimulate growth, and will minimize the time needed for care. It is also important to mention that these "management" methods will reduce the risk of disease, the risk of infestation and reduce the stress on the plant and soil. Healthy soil is like a healthy immune system of a person.

It is unrealistic to say that these methods of integrated nutrition will eliminate all problems. Some factors are not easy to predict or to control. It is important to observe and understand the signs that Nature presents. With this in mind, we have to remember these basic points:

  • insects are not always the cause of the problem, if they are, who are they?
  • some procedures/actions will favour diseases, insects, mushrooms
  • climate considerations
  • type of plant
  • malnutrition (too little / too much / pH)

By correctly evaluating the situation, it is possible to find a quick solution that will be extremely efficient. In some cases, specialized products are needed to correct the situation.

The style of soil management and ecological practice mentioned in this article is the same style that drives the practices of Organik Touch. Organik Touch is a pioneer in the field of natural solutions, which encourage the life of the soil and the proper development of the plant. We offer ecological products and services, which gives us the chance to help protect the environment at various levels.

We also carry a range of products that will offer alternatives to various situations. We currently offer products and services including:

  • Lawn care
  • Fertilizers for lawn, garden, flowers, trees and shrubs
  • Biological pest control products (traps, glues, bait,…)
  • Organic certified and non-treated seeds
  • Planning and consulting (garden, lawn, crop rotation, green fertilizers…)
  • Conferences and presentations

You can reach us at the following coordinates:  
Organik Touch
C/O Marc Landry
233 Godin St.
Beresford, N.B.
E8K 1T4
Telephone : (506) 542-2147
Fax : (506) 542-2148
Email : organik@organik.nb.ca
Web : www.organik.nb.ca