Why organic is not enough

luckygal(3b)March 23, 2011

Here are a couple of excerpts from the article in the link below. Some interesting info there for organic gardeners. This info about minerals is very interesting to me as my research has shown that many foods lack minerals because of modern growing practices and this leads to many diseases.

"Organic matter, or being organic, in the sense of not using chemicals or of letting nature take its course, is not enough. In most cases you need to augment the soil with minerals, which is why organic is not enough."

"Here is the important point: organic matter (or humus) is critical for growing crops. It should never be below 3%, but it also should not be above 6%. Above the ideal of 5%, more is not better; generally; it is harmful to the crop and harmful to your health because it will be minerally or nutrient deficient especially if you don't add any mineral fertilizers. Also it will give the microbes too much carbon to process and they won't leave any food for your plants until they are done. Microbes eat first."

Here is a link that might be useful: article

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The mineral component in a soil system, whether naturally occurring or amended, is absolutely an essential part of organic gardening. It's very old Soil Science that the (so called) 'ideal' soil will be composed of 45% mineral (in the form of sand, silt, and clay), 5% organic matter (having a carbon building block), and 50% air pockets which should be filled with water and/or air.

Organic matter (anything that was once alive) and the mineral soil are both an essential part of a working SYSTEM.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:30PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Organic gardening doesn't mean that you can't add rock dust or other sources of minerals -- or, for that matter, that you remove the rocks, sand, and silt already in your soil. "Organic matter is not enough": true. "Organic is not enough", where "organic" means "organic gardening": well, that's another story.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 5:22PM
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darth_weeder(z7 NY)

anyone know whatc Mr. Kline is selling?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 7:08PM
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darth weeder, good question.
Some of the people on this/OG forum make me so mad I could just ....spit!
But no one has ever said humus only, not to add or amended with other minerals or nutrient, only that they should be organic.
I have learned of new things on this & other OG/OM sites.
Like azomite & The open wick/ closed wick beds.
I say forget the guy. Well after I email him to repeat my
Gardener are nice people & organic gardener are much smarter then that guy.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 8:48PM
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There are all kinds of people with all kinds of concepts that are wrong, including the author of that piece. I sometimes refer them to Jeff Gillman;s book, "The Truth About Organic Gardening" and ask them what are we to do when the synthetic fertilzers made from non renewable resources are no longer available.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 6:35AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I agree that not all organic gardens likely contain all the trace minerals for optimum plant AND human health. Some inputs from other sources can be good.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 11:38AM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

Once again, there is a misunderstanding over the 3 definitions of organic. This forum only deals with the last one.

1. chemistry: anything containing carbon, barring carbonates, CO2 and CO
2. biology: what was once from living beings.
3. environment: a system of only using natural methods and products.

let's not compare apples, oranges and kiwi fruits.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 12:41AM
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Just add deep-sea fish scraps int your soil, and you practically has all the essential mineral you could possibly want, if being vegan and organic is your ultimate goal. If you are not a vegan, then the mineral problem becomes a lot more simple: just eat seafood.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 1:23AM
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Tedious read.

It makes sense that one might want to add some minerals and make sure certain components are in place to make sure other chemical processes occur.

What bothers me is that the piece was a sales pitch and any good sales pitch will make sense at some level and mixing in common sense with a sales pitch is like mixing truth with lies.

Something to think about but I'm not running out to gather glacier dust.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 1:27AM
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spiced_ham(z5 OH)

Steve Solomon has a book on composting ("Organic Gardeners Composting" available free online various places), which has a very good (educated and in-depth) discussion of soil carbon and organic practices. Too much manure = high potassium and low calcium = affects nutritional quality of the food (so keep the Organic farm dirt at ~5% OM, because more is not needed). He goes into historical-regional accounts of malnutrition and why 'Organic' grown food is not necessarily more healthy than that grown with chemical fertilizers. If you keep composting with plants grown on the native soil type (or manure from same farm animals), and the native soil is deficient, you are not gaining anything (perpetuation the problem or making it worse).

He is pro organic, but not pro 'Dogma of the Organic Establishment'.

Those of us growing in containers or raised beds full of potting mix are stuck with "soil" that is nearly 100% organic matter. Obviously the soil microbes are not robbing the plants of nutrients, and this is because the material is composted into refractory elements.

Also, If I recall correctly, soil organic matter is tested by weight, not volume, so 50% air by weight would be some very interesting soil to see.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 11:44AM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

A very poorly written ad for rock dust Did anybody actually read though it? It has nothing to do with "Organic not being enough" are rock powders synthetic a waste of space and complete rubbish

Funny how man has been able to grow crops and feed ourselves for centuries without powdering rocks or shipping sea products to the Midwest that is what the prehistoric oceans and glaciers did

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 8:47PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana


Many soils have been getting rather "mined" out from years of heavy farming without enough thought to trace minerals...let alone enough organic matter. Egypt's Nile delta stayed rich because of the yearly deposits of flood silts. Other Mideastern areas are mostly very poor in fertility.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 10:27PM
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I think he is completely correct. The fine powders deposited by volcanoes, glacial action and wind, and rivers quickly gets exhausted by intensive horticulture and agriculture.

The Egyptians starved in the years that the flood and its minerals did not come. We are starving now.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 7:50AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Did luckygal post this in the organic forum or just this one?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:09AM
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Just want to clarify, the page in question is not an ad, it was a presentation to the Olympia Free School on February 1, 2005. It was put up as a resource, as there are many people who believe that all you need to add to the soil is compost or manure.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 3:10PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

So the title was meant to really be "Oganics are not enough"? I think most organic folks know that.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 6:25PM
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I posted this as I know there are many beginner gardeners here who may need more info regarding soil improvement. Sometimes on this forum all we talk about is adding organic matter but not as often about other necessary elements in the soil.

Interesting how different people see different things in the same article. Thanks to those few who saw it the way I did, not as an "ad" but as useful info.

I did not post this in the organic forum, is that a requirement? :-D

Unfortunate there are many people who want to find fault with everything, even the title of the original article. Hmmm... anyone wonder why more people don't start threads?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:43PM
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THANKS!! luckygal z3BC,Not only did you stir this old windbags Blood(anything that stirs the blood is good).
But you reminded me that not everyone who is composting/organic/natural gardening know about mineralization of the soil.
To add gypsum,granite dust, Real Salt/Azomite,zeolites, crushed Oyster shells,seaweed,Bio-char,coir , comfry & 20
essential elements/ macro & micro nutrients.
If I do not tell them then who?
I do tell everyone about Garden web & Kitchengardeners.org

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 11:03PM
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I appreciate ANY help, as I don't even know enough to Know that I don't know!!! I'm not sure if I would post any of my dumb questions/bright ideas here if this is how things are commented on, I'll look for a forum that accepts even the best intentions.I am so new to all this soil/compost stuff, but it looks like I better look elsewhere for positive input.PS: I appreciate your wanting to help us newcomers, luckygal!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 11:29PM
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Jolj, hope that was a good thing that your blood got stirred! LOL Stay healthy!

Jane, please don't let this put you off this forum. There is a lot of good info here and many helpful, knowledgeable, and really NICE posters. I'm a really old, and fairly experienced gardener and I've learned a lot.

Have a look at the FAQ for lots of good info. And don't be afraid to jump in and ask questions and comment on threads. Most of these people have a worse bark than bite (I hope!), and I always tell myself I'm glad some of the nastier ones don't know where I live. LOL ;-D Helps to keep a sense of humor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Frequently asked questions

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 1:47AM
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Yeah Jane, Luckygal goes so far as to appear to live in BC Canada (but don't tell no one " she lives in Florida" ;-)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 2:03AM
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Hey, Jon, did you know that BC is bigger than Texas? I feel pretty safe. LOL

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 5:06PM
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