Feeding your plants unnatural chemical fertilizers is bad for their health - and yours
Most of us have become aware that the Western diet with its processed food products, usually found in the middle aisles of the grocery store, are a major contributor to disease and illness.
But we are not the only ones consuming junk food. Most crops grown in the developed world eat a botanical version of the junk food diet consisting of harmful conventional fertilizers and pesticides.
Why farmers have used chemical fertilizers
Chemical fertilizers have been artificially manufactured to contain nutrients in specific quantities. Crops raised on chemical fertilizers (also called inorganic, synthetic, artificial, or manufactured), have produced historical yields due to the key ingredients of most fertilizers – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) – that make plants grow faster and bigger. Popular insecticides and herbicides curb plant enemies as well. So, between 1960 and 2000, a time when the world’s population doubled, global grain production rose even more quickly.
However, there are several harmful effects due to the use of chemical fertilizers as a plant food – especially in the long term. These include waterway pollution, chemical burn to crops, increased air pollution, acidification of the soil, mineral depletion of the soil and toxic dietary side effects.
"They produce big fat high-yielding crops that look good on the outside but are low in nutrients on the inside and have toxic side-effects."
Why chemical fertilizers are a bad food option
1. Chemical fertilizers destroy soil porosity (friability).
While chemical fertilizers help a plant to grow, they do not do much for the soil. They contain acids, including sulfuric and hydrochloric acids, that do not help to improve the health or structure of the soil. These acids dissolve soil crumbs, the material that holds rock particles together.
Therefore, when chemical fertilizers are used for prolonged duration, the soil gets damaged as the trace nutrients are not replenished in the soil. When these cementing materials are destroyed, the result is a compacted surface that prevents rain water from entering the soil.
2. They affect beneficial micro-organisms living in the soil.
3. Chemical fertilizers leach away into our ground water without fully benefiting the plant.
Chemical fertilizers are highly soluble. They dissolve into the soil too rapidly for plants to absorb the needed amount of nutrition, so much of the fertilizer simply leaches away. This leaching is not only detrimental to our ground water, but these chemicals also seep into the subsoil. There they interact with clay, forming impermeable layers called hardpan. The result is a waste of money, undermined soil conditions and plants are not nurtured.
The leaching of excess nutrients from chemical fertilizers not only undermines soil conditions, but they are carried into rivers and waterways by rains and groundwater that eventually flow into dams, lakes and seas. The nutrient levels in these waterways is overly increased, causing the growth of algae and aquatic plants that suffocate any aquatic life, such as fish, microbes and even birds. This phenomenon is called eutrophication.
5. Chemical fertilizers cause plant disease.
Fast-release chemical fertilizers have a higher nitrogen content than slow-release natural fertilizers. When there is an overabundance of nitrogen (N) in relation to phosphate (P), plants are more susceptible to mosaic infections. Most artificial fertilizers have sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid. When too much of these fertilizers are used, they tend to destroy the beneficial microbes present in the soil. Higher nitrogen levels, as well as a lack of trace elements, cause fungal and bacterial disease in plants and vegetables.
6. Fruits and vegetables have less nutritional value and less flavor.
High-yielding crops raised on a steady diet of fertilizers seem to have lower levels of certain minerals and nutrients. The diet our crops 'eat' gets into our food, and also influences the nutrition we do and don’t get out of these foods when we eat them.
The lack of trace elements in chemical fertilizers not only means an increased incidence of plant diseases, but it also means there is less nutrition from the fruits and vegetables for the consumer. Trace minerals are an important component of healthy nutrition.
7. Health problems due to consumption of toxic food produce.
8. They are toxic for the farmers who use them.
Chemical fertilizers are manufactured from petroleum products and rock that usually contain ingredients that are toxic to the skin and respiratory system.
"Soils rich in regenerative organic matter are like human diets rich in fiber. Each is an important food source for the root and gut microbiomes, respectively."
Long before agro-chemical companies existed, the soil relied on its natural phytochemicals and ecosystems to remain healthy.
The secret diet for healthy plants
By coupling these natural internal chemical factories of the soil with the cultivation of a root microbiome, you will have the secret diet that has helped plants to conquer the continents over the past 450 million years. Tinkering with these time-tested biological systems by using chemical fertilizers can upset not only the natural soil conditions and environment, but also the health of animals and humans that live off the land.
Why not consider ReStore, a natural regenerative fertiliser to rebuild the natural conditions of your soil? It works on the principles of Regenerative Agriculture that goes back to before the time of chemicals, when the sun was the only source of energy, monoculture didn't exist and the carbon and water cycles were still intact.
(See more about about regenerative agriculture HERE)
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