Why healthy soil important to a Haskap plant?
We wish we could ‘Soil Health’ more sexy and then perhaps people would pay more attention to it. Today soils are tired, overworked and depleted by synthetic chemicals. And because of this the quality of food has suffered and so has food health. Malnutrition begins with the soil. Healthy human beings depend on wholesome food, and this can only come from fertile and productive soils.
Anyone alive before the Second World War, knows that bread, fruit, vegetables and meat bear no relation to what they were before the war. Our crop yields may have doubled, but their nutritive quality has diminished progressively. Visual impression of foods has become the most important factor.
Our only hope for a healthy world rests on re-establishing the harmony in the soil that we have disrupted by our modern methods of agriculture. All life will be either healthy or unhealthy according to the fertility of the soil. Directly or indirectly, all food comes from the soil.
WHAT SHOULD HEALTHY HASKAP SOIL LOOK LIKE?
The table below shows the ideal balanced soil conditions for a Haskap orchard. These are found in the green column to the left. It also includes the ideal ranges for leaf tissue analysis.
The pH for Haskap is 6.4 with a soil organic content of 7 to 10%. The desired mineral analysis is broken down into Anions, Cations and Minor Elements. So the soil’s ideal mineral content for Sulphur is 180 pounds or Calcium 2,122 pounds or Copper at 9 pounds per acre.
All soils are different and need constant tweaks here and there. We generally advise a good kelp based compost to bring back the soil to general health with applications of Compost Tea. Then in the second year bring those minerals that are still lacking by addition the specific mineral. Also, the relationships between the minerals are more essential than the level.
Key Soil Links:
- Why get a soil test?
- Where do I get mineral and biological soil tests?
- So why is soil pH important?
- Compost Tea in Vineyards
WHAT SHOULD HEALTHY COMPOST SOIL LOOK LIKE?
Soil Organic matter equilibrium maintained – The soil is composed of approximately 85-90% minerals and only 10-15% organic matter. Soil organic matter consists of all materials found in, or on soil that originate from organic material. It comprises both living and dead organisms in various stages of decomposition and ranges in age from recent inputs to thousands of years old. Of the Soil organic matter present in soil, approximately 15% of this is ‘living’ (made up of roots, fauna and micro-organisms). The microbial component of this ‘living’ pool cycles rapidly and is considered essential for organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling, degradation of chemicals and soil stabilisation.
Organic matter decomposition regulates the flow of energy and nutrients in soil. It plays a key role in Calcium (C), Nitrogen (N), Sulfur (S) and Phosphorus (P) cycling and also acts to improve soil structure. Agricultural practices and plant inputs influence both the quantity and quality of Soil organic matter, which in turn directly impacts on soil productivity and the ability of soil to recover from stress (soil resilience). The amount of organic matter in a soil is often used as an indicator of the potential sustainability of a system, therefore a better understanding of Soil organic matter is required to assist with the development of future farming systems.
Soil Fertility is Balanced – A healthy soil is not only fertile, but productive. Factors which limit plant growth such as weeds, subsoil constraints, disease and climate can limit productivity even where soil fertility is adequate. In understanding the interactions between soil fertility and plant growth, it is necessary to recognise that “the yield of a plant is limited by a deficiency of any one essential element, even though all others are present in adequate amount”.
The primary objectives in optimising soil fertility are to ensure:
- Nutrient additions match removals and losses
- Fertility is adequate for land use
- Nutrient storage capacity is maintained
- Minimise nutrient loss
Water Use – In most agricultural pursuits, crop production can be limited by the capacity of soil to store and supply water to the plant. Soil texture and structure influence the amount of water able to be extracted from soil by influencing the size of the ‘bucket’ and the depth to which root growth can extract water. Optimising plant nutrition results in vigorous growth and increases the uptake of available water. Better water use efficiency slows leaching of nutrients and deep drainage which may contribute to groundwater recharge, rising water tables and off-site environmental impacts.
Soil Biology – A myriad of organisms live in soil, some of which perform beneficial functions such as organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling, whilst others are associated with plant disease. Some of these organisms are visible to the naked eye (earthworms, mites, insects, etc.), but most are microscopic (fungi, bacteria). Whilst not readily identified, the biomass of the soil microflora is a useful measure of soil health and more readily measured than counting the billions of individuals that make up the biomass (estimated at 6 billion per handful of soil). Factors affecting biological activity in soil include soil moisture, carbon availability, aeration, temperature, pH and plant type.
The Importance of Weeds?
Getting to know your weeds can be instructive in knowing what amendments you need to add to your soil to increase its fertility. Thereby making it harder (or less desirable) for the weeds to survive and easier for your Haskaps to thrive!
The American poet Emerson once wrote, “What is a Weed? A plant whose virtues, have not yet been discovered.” So please don’t shoot the messenger, until you have understood the message!
We are friends or distributors of many great natural soil products
LaHave River Berry Farm
They carry the Gaia Green organic fertilizer product line, the Aggrand organic and natural fertilizer line, and Myke Pro Mycorrhizal Fungi. Organic fertilizers make and keep the soil healthy and healthy soil produces healthy plants. You can reach them at (902) 766-4534 or (902) 521-1701 or email [email protected]
This is a product of 30 years of research by Dr. Maynard Murray. Soils enhanced or re-mineralized with sea minerals grow crops superior to that grown solely with conventional fertilizers. We believe it is the best way to replace cost effectively trace minerals to your orchard’ soil. Please download the SEA-90 information pdf here.
TUFFDIP is a water-soluble bitumen based solution which has been polymer enhanced and specially formulated to be flexible in cold conditions whilst remaining resistant to heat.
Tuffdip is applied cold and requires no special equipment. Simply dip for a maximum of 10 minutes to the required in-ground depth plus 4″ / 100mm, drain and allow to dry. Drying time can be from 2 hours in ideal conditions up to 48 hours in cold weather with high humidity.
Once cured, Tuffdip seals the whole of the treated area of the fence post against water ingress and forms a physical barrier inhibiting the development of rot and fungal infestation.
Tuffdip allows timber to season naturally even in wet ground conditions. Tests demonstrated that a Tuffdipped post immersed in water for more than a month showed a ground level moisture content of below 20%. Conventionally treated posts measured at the same point showed a moisture content in excess of 40%. TRADA research concludes that posts at less than 20% moisture content are resistant to rot. Higher moisture levels lead to increased risk of premature fence failure.
Contractors have found Tuffdipped posts are easier to drive in, reducing subsoil disturbance and creating a stronger installation.
In Summary: Haskap’s like healthy soil
Solutions to today’s problems must start with a return to ‘Healthy Soil’, by pulling together the best of all of modern technology and combining it with traditional wisdom. The only questions we need to ask are: What works and will continue to work in the future and what has not worked in the past and is not working today? The solution’s focus would not only be on soil health, but on nutrition, sustainability and efficiency. The emphasis would be on constant improvement in the healthy soil, crops, food and people.
We believe any solution should work with any crop in any climate, producing high yields and nutritional values while sharply reducing insect and disease problems. Our Haskap plants are thriving in our orchards and are healthy because of their strong immune systems. Insects and disease are not attracted to strong healthy plants or crops.