Growing in the dirt produces a far better crop than all of the other techniques like hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics and chemical gardening. Chemical gardening is a term I use for that system of growing where the dirt or sand is only a medium for holding the plants up. All of the nutrients are supplied by chemicals and the plant is defended from insects and disease with the constant spraying of chemicals.
I agree with many people that hydroponically grown plants are near perfect in appearance and present a lot better in the supermarket for the short period of shelf life they have.
But plants grown in the dirt stay fresher longer, survive a lot better out of the coolroom and just plain taste better.
Growing in the dirt means making your soil fit for the purpose of providing all the requirements your plants need to survive. Don’t pamper them too much as they won’t bother making any effort. A little bit of tough love is required.
Take a look at the galangal, turmeric and ginger in this garden bed. The galangal is a second year plant. I didn’t harvest it last year and this year it has really grown. I guess the proof of my assertion is the amount of rhizome harvested. So I better dig a piece up and have a look.
The ginger is all replants from the harvest last year. I have just planted more of it. This year I will keep it in the ground instead of digging it all up. That way I should have fresh ginger all year round.
The turmeric has also taken off.
Based on looking at what happens in life, plants are similar to people. If you pamper people, they don’t develop the strength that is required to cope with life. If you play in the dirt, you get exposed to all the bacteria, good and bad and the body acquires the means and know how to assimilate the good bacteria and defend against the bad.
If you live in a sterile environment, your body hasn’t developed the techniques and knowledge to defend itself when it is preyed upon by opportunistic invaders.
Peter Cundall is always playing in the dirt
Playing in the dirt and growing things is a formula for good health and longevity. Here’s a quote from Peter Cundall.
“We are comfortably poor here, and it’s wonderful. Wealth is superb health. You get that through what I like to do – hard physical work, and the sheer joy of eating what you grow. The last time I went to the doctor because I was sick was 1951. I’m no macho man; if I had something wrong I’d be there in a flash. But every 12 months I have my tests. Last time the doctor examined me he said, ‘That’s the heart of a man of 35. I wish it was mine.’”