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  • Writer's pictureTom Cavan

FOOD FOR THOUGHT What is fertilizer?

If you had a choice between a fresh Orange and a vitamin C capsule which would you choose?

The Oxford dictionary defines fertilizer as : a chemical or natural substance added to soil or land to increase fertility

Webster dictionary : a substance (such as manure or a chemical mixture) used to make soil more fertile.

Interesting enough spell-check tried to correct the spelling, grammar and sentencing, how times have changed!!

Well, times have changed agronomists, botanists, and scientists (and what natives of their lands and organic horticulturalists) have and are still uncovering many new understandings/relationships about soil activity/fertility and beneficial soil microbes, which to say the latter is revealing to be the more important fact-finding relationship between the plant kingdom and the microbial kingdom. In fact, I now do not separate categorically. We have so much to learn.

Google search "Mycorrhizae" provides a catalog of information in regards to this revelation of research of what nature can do when encouraged and protected.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding through picture's and animations of what takes place underground. A long time friend and colleague Bob Reeves (off-spring of Ken Reeves, long time garden guru of CBC and mentor) has developed a product called "root rescue" TM which contains 18 species of Mycorrhizae and organic stimulants. I began using this product and have experienced the lowest rate of transplant shock in my tenure of landscaping. I have one site where we have planted in excess of 100 trees, 300 shrubs, and well over 1,000 perennials and to date, we have lost 2 trees!! That's amazing and good for business to say the least. In fact, all species are showing signs of better colour and strength and are exceeding growth rate expectations. We incorporated a high-grade compost (which we have done for years) along with a soil drench of root rescue* and with these results I cannot see planting without this microbial marvel. A shout of to you Bob!!

Like I said the proof is in the pudding FYI this is a non-irrigated site as we have been planting every fall so Mother Nature has been doing the lion-share of watering with fall rains, winter snow, and spring rain.

Last fall we introduce 800 native ferns to the understory beside the existing woodlot which provides the shade to establish this area to a natural state where not much else would grow. Can't wait for next summer to see this take shape.

Answer to the Q: I choose the Orange!

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