Soil Quality for food

In the last blog I discussed the principle of G.O.D.D.= R + H. Many of you may be growing much of your own food, perhaps for profit, fun, or necessity. In doing so, you need to be very aware of the importance of the quality of the soil that you are using to grow the plants. Poor soil produces poor quality plants. Poor quality plants produce poor quality animals and humans, even sick and dis-eased humans. The “G” in the equation G.O.D.D. = R + H must then relate back to the soil and the earth.
Sometime in the 1930’s the department of agriculture put out a report on the quality of the US soil They concluded that the soils were depleted and something had to be done. Depletion means that the fertility was gone due to a lack of humus and minerals. This has a long history in agriculture.
One author put it this way. The West was settled by farmers moving westward. The farmer would stop his journey, build a modest house, and raise a family. When the soil became depleted, the crops would fail, a child would die, and the farmer would pick up his family and belongings, move farther west, and start all over again.
In the Southern US, the plantations would grow cotton, king cotton they called it. The soils became depleted and cotton was no longer king after growing the same crop on the soil year after year
This same author relayed the story of the Chinese in WW2. One canton in China had a history of heart disease. The disease was so bad that the Japanese, who was at war with them, refused to invade. After the war the docs were mystified as to the cause. A vet looked at an autopsy result and proclaimed “white muscle disease” as seen in animals. White muscle disease is caused by a
Selenium deficiency. This is known as cardiomyopathy in humans. When selenium was added to the soil and the people, no more “white muscle disease.” I find reports like this to be fascinating. My apologies to Dr. Wallach if I have gotten his message wrong.
Growing up on a farm in Southern Ohio, my grandfather farmed with horses, and when I was old enough I got to drive the tractor for him. Those were tough but formative years for me. I do remember how he took care of his land in those days. He would grow corn one year, wheat the next, and so on. His cover crop would be clover and he would produce clover hay. Clover is important because it “fixes” nitrogen into the soil. Crop rotation is important in keeping the land healthy.
His land was near a creek. The creek would flood in the spring. This too is important for the soil because the flood would wash unwanted salts from the soil while depositing new soil and minerals on the land.
I would like to add how my grandfather would add humus to his soil. He milked cows for a living, as well. In the spring we would have a huge pile of cow manure to dispose of. It became my job to shovel all that crap into a manure spreader, and disperse it on the land. This is where I learned patience. You can’t spread the crap too fast. I got the bright idea one day that if I ran the tractor faster I could get done quicker. Bad idea. When going fast the spreader still works, but it slings the crap way up high…and forward. After getting hit in the back of the neck with a glob of manure, I felt less speed and more patience was needed.

What I am trying to convey to you is the importance of the health of your soil, and how a depleted soil will produce a plant that may be devoid of a vitamin or mineral that you must have. So, when considering the quality and value of your food sources, you really want to consider where and how the food was grown. All this, and we have not discussed fertilizers, pesticides, or worst of all genetically modified plants (GMO). This is very important, and controllable, if you grow your own food. Store bought food? Who knows.
May you live long, in health, and prosper.
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