There were several things in gardening that were confusing me. So in order to sort them out in my own mind, I have decided to write about them.
I'm going to start with where plant nutrients come from in nature, how they flow through the biological system and how they are recycled. I am not interested in unsustainable industrial fertilisers. I am interested in the nutrients that were there before. They must have come from somewhere. I have an inkling that they originate from the parent rock but how do they get from rock to plant? The geologists would have us believe that this is purely a physical process but biology plays a much bigger role than they are letting on.
I have read a lot of books about the soil in the past year but very few of them have really answered my questions clearly and none of them from a gardener's perspective. Gardening books just seem to repeat the engineering geology of soils rather than anything of interest to the gardener. The vast topic of the biology of the soil has only been scratched at.
Just repeating over and over that there are a lot of microbes in the soil is not really helpful either. There are a lot of microbes everywhere - what is special about the soil microbe community and how can it be affected by the chemicals we spread on the soil? How can gardeners influence the soil community for the better and produce abundant yields while doing it?
Soil takes a long long time to be made naturally so leaving it to worms is not really an option for a gardener. So this is where I am going to start. Following the nutrients and where they go.