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The Organic Method

The Organic Method

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Published by jgreenweb

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Published by: jgreenweb on Mar 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Organic Method of Lawn Care
Almost Forgotten Truth:
The birthright of living things is most likely health.This is true for the soil, the plants, the animals and man; in fact the health of all isconnected.All health begins with the soil.The return of organic wastes to the soil, in order to build a humus reserve in the soil, isthe basis of soil health.Lawn makers reliance on routine applications of nitrogen-phosphorous-potassiumfertilizers may help green and thicken the lawn for a while but can eventually degrade thelawn soil health. Poor soil health is caused by depleting dozens of other soil componentswhich lead to an unsustainable lawn maintenance practice.Relying on purely chemical nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium lawn fertilizers ignores andcondemns the beneficial biology of lawn soil life. The soil bacteria, fungi and numerousother micro-critters, are all members of the web of life. Petro-chemical based N-P-K lawn fertilizers produce acidic toxins against this natural chain of life in the soil.Following up this probably unintended assault on the soil life a host of insecticides,fungicides and herbicides exerts further damage to the lawn soil rhizophere.There are “softer” alternatives to many of these practices.While N-P-K fertilizers help to provide macronutrients for improved lawn grass growth,they do not provide the micronutrients so essential for the health of the lawn.I think before we go any further we should define what soil is. Any soil has basicallyfive components.1.Finely divided rock which comes from the mountains and hills and also fromsedimentary rock, which was laid down through the action of water.
2.Another very important component of soil is living organisms, mostlymicroscopic. In fact healthy humus rich soil can contain over one billionmicroorganisms per square inch. As infinite as the universe is when we look outfrom this planet, it is equally as infinite when we consider the microscopic worldof living beings under our feet.3.Healthy soil also contains humus: the decayed and decaying remains of animaland vegetable life.4.Soil also contains water. The essential processes of life occur in the water held bythe humus of the soil and the water films on the soil particles.5.The final component of soil is air. It is from the atmosphere that green plantsobtain the carbon needed to manufacture carbohydrates, the building block of lifeon this earth. Grass plant roots will penetrate the soil no deeper than the air.
How A Healthy Soil Works
In the soil humus is constantly being decomposed and being reduced to its basic elements by the microscopic soil life. The elements that are released then move into the soilsolution and are eventually absorbed by green plants through osmosis. Organic acids thatare produced during this process etch away at the mineral portion of the soil releasingelements into the soil solution, also to be absorbed by grass plants. Microscopic roothairs, on the roots of green plants, are the means by which this nutrition is absorbed.However, there is another mechanism at work here. A mechanism by which living fungalthreads (mycelium) invade the cells of plant roots, acting as a conduit, that carriesnutrient rich soil solution into the green plant. This process greatly enhances the plantsability to gather nutrients.
The Role of Earthworms
The role of earthworms in the formation of deep-organic topsoil cannot be over estimated. Charles Darwin made the observation that the humus content of the soil has passed many times through the intestinal canals of worms. They are nature’s cultivators.Year after year they deposit castings on the surface of the ground. The result is a richhumus that is very beneficial for green plants.2
Earthworms also create an extensive network of tubes or canals in the soil to a veryconsiderable depth. Rainwater and air follow this network bringing life to the soil. Theroots of plants will also follow this immense network of tubes. It is estimated thatearthworms turn 35 tons of soil per acre per year. No rototiller can work as well inmaking passageways for the easy penetration of roots.Healthy soil can contain 1 to 2 million earthworms per acre. Earthworms can produce 20to 40 tons of nutrient rich castings per acre, per year, improving and enriching the soil.Beneath our feet our organic soils are in motion and continually being enriched.Even in death the earthworm continues to enrich the soil. At least 1,000 pounds of earthworm bodies are decaying in an acre of organic soil throughout the year, with this protein-rich matter releasing an estimated 40 pounds of available nitrogen all through theyear, as well as contributing to other life cycles in the soil.We need to invest in the long-term health of our soils. A better balance of soil life wardsoff attacks by pathogens in the soil by out competing them for space in a healthy soilenvironment. Plant cells walls grow stronger and thicker enabling them to better wardoff foliar attacks by pests. Plants that are used for food production contain higher nutritional levels when grown in a healthy, organic rich soil. Good soil health leads toour foods having more ascorbic acid (vitamin C), more anti-oxidants (important in cancer and heart disease), more flavinoids (better taste), and more resveratrol (anti-aging).
Thinking About the Home Lawn
What is the most important first step in growing a superior home lawn?It is the grass seed that is planted, whether it is a new lawn or the maintenance of anexisting lawn. Remember the lawn can be no better than the grass seed that is used. Allthe fertilizer and control products that are used will not change this fact. So start withsuperior, competitive grass plants and the rest will fall into place.How does Jonathan Green get superior, competitive grass plants? We have our ownturfgrass breeding program. By means of this program we have developed lawn grassesthat are truly superior. These perennial turfgrasses produce a beautiful lawn, even under tough growing conditions. The Jonathan Green Grass Seed Mixtures have been designedfor organic lawn care programs, so they require less water and fertilizer and possess moredrought, heat tolerant and insect resistant varieties. The Black Beauty Turf-Type TallFescue, the Blue Panther Kentucky Bluegrass the New Frontier Perennial Ryegrass andthe Flying Eagle Fine Fescue elite turfgrass varieties are the end result of this program.3

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