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Pius Floris, Plant Health Care:

“Artificial fertilizers make plants sick”

Last month, Pius Floris of Plant Health Care gave a soapbox-lecture on the use of fertilizers. His imploring speech can be read below. 

"Artificial fertilization. The name says it all. What we have here is an artificial way of fertilizing the earth, introduced back in 1900 and based on the notion that the soil is dead and basically worthless. Now we know that the soil is a large, living organism. Through the use of fertilizer we are disrupting this organism.

What can we do to grow healthier plants without the aid of artificial agents? After the initial introduction of artificial fertilizers, crop yields went up spectacularly. The population expanded and a lot of food was grown. No one worried about the condition of the soil. The fact that plants were getting sicker and disease had to be fought with increasingly heavy resources was seen as normal. This situation continues today. 

So all seems well. Yet it is apparent that more and more land is being exhausted. Yields are declining. In many arable regions the problems are bigger than ever before. When fertilizers first hit the market, the agricultural land had enormous resilience. Fertilizer was expensive at the time and therefore used sparingly. The organic matter content of the soil was high. Now agriculture has become dependent on fertilizers.

This problem is completely ignored by both suppliers and the pharmaceutical industry. Another misconception is that of humus. Organic matter is often called humus. This is incorrect and leads to many misunderstandings. Compost is not a humus and does not contain humus. Humus is formed very slowly through soil life. Compost is organic matter and is incredibly important to the soil. In fertilization, humus is extracted but not returned to the soil. The use of fertilizers has led to soil containing almost no humus. 

To date, we work with 16 elements in fertilization. Water, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide are not considered here. But in a full analysis of plants, much more elements are found. Science has confirmed that plants need at least 21 elements. Fertilizers do not contain these 21 elements, thereby depleting the soil of vital nutrients. As a result, plants fall ill from malnutrition. 

In several surrounding countries it has long been customary to supplement the shortage of trace elements in the soil with rock dust, or stone flour. This is the finely ground sawdust from the quarries. There is an increasing knowledge on stone flour and its application to repair soil life. Improving the soil with stone flour is a good way to supplement deficits we don’t even know exist. This notion is still somewhat ridiculed today, but it might very well be a solid beginning in restoring the natural balance of our agricultural lands.”

We welcome feedback.

Pius Floris
Plant Health Care BV
Industrieweg 5g 5262 GJ Vught Netherlands
+31(0)73 6562695 office
+31(0)651328508 mobile

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