[NAFEX] Re: "contaminants" | chemical "purity"

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sun Apr 24 12:35:07 EDT 2005

On Apr 18, 2005, at 10:38 AM, David W Hausmann wrote:

>   I felt it
> would be better to have chemically equivalent material and therefore 
> the
> proper nutrients, similar to adding lime, rather than using compost 
> with
> all of the biological contaminants possible due to animal 
> "contributions"
> of one form or another.  With [an extreme, I know, but...] mad cow
> disease, bird flu, etc., etc., I felt give me good old chemically pure
> and relatively or completely biologically inactive fertilizer any time.

Healthy soil isn't sterile -- one could say that sterile soil is the 
opposite of fertile soil. Properly made compost is full of beneficial 
organisms, that should encourage and add to the beneficial organisms 
naturally in your soils. Many synthetic fertilizers are caustic, and 
may damage the beneficials.

Soil full of healthy beneficials is less likely to have pathogenic 
(harmful) microorganisms, as the beneficials usually crowd them out. If 
you kill off the beneficials, you may well leave an excellent breeding 
ground for the pathogens.

The beneficials will also improve your soil tilth. If you kill off all 
the organisms (micro and macro) in your soil, leaving a "biologically 
inactive" situation, your soil will turn into a compacted rock-like 
mass or into sterile sand. It's the healthy biological activity in your 
soil that keeps it able to hold nutrients, and the right mix of water 
and air. Soils with less organic matter dry out faster, flood more 
easily, and are harder to work; as well as harder for roots to 

You shouldn't, of course, dump raw manure straight on the lettuce; and 
organic standards prohibit this.

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly

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