Today’s balanced, organically produced diet does not approach the nutritional quality of the conventional diet your grandmother ate 50 years ago. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study reports a 50 per cent decline in the nutritional elements in all fruits and vegetables.
Do the math. If the organic food industry claims that its products contain 25 per cent more nutrients than conventionally grown crops, this is still 25 per cent less than 50 years ago, and even then crops provided less nutrition than in pioneer days.
Not enough nutrients have been put back into the soil to replace those taken up by the plants we’ve consumed, and not even commercial organic farmers are adding enough to keep up. So, if we are growing our own food to be as healthy as possible, we can use organic methods to avoid added pollutants but we should also enrich our soil with a complete array of necessary nutrients
I would like to say that author Steve Solomon has forgotten more about food production than most of us will ever know, but he appears to have a perfect memory as well as a lifetime of experience. His book The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient-Dense Food, explains how to analyze your soil to concoct your own fertilizer. Until that is done he offers this recipe:
Steve Solomon’s Complete Organic Fertilizer
4 quarts seed meal (I use
½ quart agricultural lime
2 tsp. laundry borax
1 ½ tsp. zinc sulphate
1 tsp. copper sulphate
½ quart kelp meal
½ quart agricultural gypsum
(don’t use dolomite lime)
1 quart soft rock phosphate
or bone meal
This, combined with well-made compost, should produce quality vegetables and fruit. In the spring I’ll give you Solomon’s recommended applications for this fertilizer. Of course, you can get this yourself if you buy the seventh edition of his book Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. Solomon is so concerned about the decrease in our soils that he’s offered the introduction to this book for free; if you want me to forward it, email email@example.com