The debate over whether to use mineral fertilizers on the plot or to grow everything according to the "ecological principle" does not cease and probably never will. Sometimes, however, one gets the impression that supporters of "environmentalism" have no garden or personal vegetable garden, but only criticize the "terrible actions" of gardeners who use mineral fertilizers. But is "chemistry" so harmful, are mineral fertilizers so dangerous? Let's look into it all.
Where did the fear of all things chemical come from?
It originates in those gardeners and vegetable growers who have insufficient knowledge of agrochemistry and have no information on either doses or methods of fertilizer application, but who read books and articles on organic agriculture, translated into Russian from all languages of the world and designed primarily to profit from the book itself, rather than to teach someone to obtain truly environmentally friendly products.
Starting ahead, as a person who has worked in science for a decade and a half, I want to tell about my own impressions of growing fruit crops in our gardens and orchards in the West. Guys, everything is great with us thanks to the fact that medium-sized gardeners and large farmers save both on fertilizers and pesticides: only 6-8 treatments (at most) per season, while in the West - not less than two dozen! And the interesting thing is that the life expectancy of people in the West is longer than here.
What concerns the mineral fertilizers, the rumors about their harmfulness and toxicity are, to put it mildly, greatly exaggerated.
Any living organism, and plants are no exception, need water, heat, sunlight and food. Plants get their energy by photosynthesis, thanks to sunlight and nutrients dissolved in water, which they absorb from the soil sometimes in quite large quantities, especially in fruitful years.
Cultivating plants in the same place for a long period of time (the same trees, bushes are not vegetables, there can also be a kind of crop rotation, but it is not annual, but once every few decades), without making mineral fertilizers, we just achieve the strongest depletion of soil, which will be very difficult (if at all possible) to compensate in a natural way. Plants won't be able to grow and develop without mineral fertilizers as well as without organic matter.
As a result, on the soil, where no mineral fertilizers are applied, we can still get fruits and berries (say, thanks only to organics), but they may not have in their composition those or other elements necessary and important for our body. And if we are counting on these elements, eating fruits and berries, and they are not there? It turns out that the products grown in a clean environment, but in poor soil can be even less useful than those grown in soil with the observance of all elements of technology, albeit with the use of chemical fertilizers.
Mineral fertilizers are safe?
In skillful hands, yes. To begin with at least with the fact that in our market, and accordingly on our plots can not get fertilizers that are not certified by the appropriate authorities. All standard mineral fertilizers, which are sold in our country, are necessarily tested for environmental cleanliness and safety for the environment as a whole, and for animals, humans, birds and insects in particular. If you know that the fertiliser is on the shelf in the garden store, it means it passed the certification and if you use it in optimal doses and at suitable times, it will be no more harmful than wood ash or dolomite meal.
The very ideas of organic agriculture, which in their infancy were positioned as an appeal to the use of chemicals in the correct, moderate amounts, now for some reason are severely distorted and positioned already as a complete ban on the use of almost any chemicals in gardens and orchards, which, in fact, sounds absurd.
Full biological and organic farming was possible in the 15th century up to the 18th century, when fat virgin lands were developed and no one thought about soil depletion. Now all these norms and rules of biological and organic farming simply will not work.
Please also read this.
And what if we do with manure?
Negatively speaking about the mineral fertilizers, many nodding in the direction of fertilizers organic - for instance, is manure and similar fertilizers, make only them, and you will be happy as a high yield. In fact the same manure has both advantages and disadvantages. To begin with the fact that the manure is a recycled material and there definitely can be something missing in it.
Animals, consuming plants, have already consumed most of the substances necessary for their growth and development, as well as plants for normal existence and development and as a waste (with manure) went unnecessary substances (in the bulk), and perhaps a small fraction of substances necessary, but which the body animal trivialized not had time to digest. Consequently, the manure is a good, but not ideal fertilizer in all respects, able to fully replace the mineral fertilizer.
But this is not all, bringing manure, can you be sure that the animals were also grown in all the rules of ecology? Have they been fed antibiotics or growth stimulants? In livestock uses a huge number of different, again, chemicals to maintain normal growth of animals, to protect them from diseases and harmful micro-organisms, trivial veterinary drugs and disinfectants, which treat water and facilities and which are designed in such a way that excreted with the waste, the same manure.
On course, many may answer that they have their own farm animals, do not feed them anything and therefore receive e It is difficult to believe this, because I myself had animals, and they just can't survive without vaccinations now, but let's believe it. But then there is the question of the availability of compounds contained in manure to plants.
Everybody probably knows, especially those who use mineral fertilizers, that vegetable, fruit and berry crops have important, we can even say critical periods of growth and development, when they need certain substances in an available
The plants need substances dissolved in water for immediate consumption (for example, during flowering of gardens foliar feeding with urea is often applied, plants are simply sprayed with its solution, and if not, most of the flowers and ovaries will banal fall off).
Alas, neither soil, which happens without the introduction of mineral fertilizers strongly depleted, nor organic fertilizers, whose substances must only once more turn into a form accessible to plants, immediately do not allow them to absorb, they simply do not. This is where you get those incomplete fruits and vegetables we mentioned above. We can not say that it is bad, but it's not so useful, right?
Use of mineral fertilizers prevents the dying of the soil
I want to deliver a simple idea that without the use of mineral fertilizers, of course, in combination with organics, given the optimal dosages, timing and time, the soil, even if slowly, will die. The soil will eventually deplete to the maximum extent, and it will take decades to bring it back to normal. On soils that are not subject to mineral fertilizers, it is by definition impossible to get high yields of complete vegetables and fruits. This proved by science - agrochemistry, which argues that powerful removal of minerals from the soil orchards and vegetable gardens in full measure make up only the introduction of organic and plowing green crops simply impossible.
If you have your personal opinion on the subject, then write about it in comments with its justification, it will be interesting to debate on the subject.