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how feeding plants can lead to fragility including pest attraction and disease.  RSS feed

 
charlotte anthony
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caused by too much (NP)K whether chemical or organic, which leads to disease and pests in the plants.

i have been talking for years about how too much feeding of plants (whether organic or chemical) leads to pest attacks and diseases. it is great to finally see the mechanism where that happens written out. many people believe that it is not possible to over feed plants with organic material but this is not true as this shows.

also when the plants are in disequilibrium they are no where near as healthy. mabe the brix index is a way of telling if the plants we are eating are in equilibrium.

this is from regeneration of the soil by claude bourguignon and there is a whole lot more good stuff in this book.

normally when the plant takes up potassium from the soil solution and brings it into the membrane, it immediately releases another unit of potassium into the cell sap. the plant has no regulatory system for the uptake of potassium. if you put a lot of potassium in the cell the plant is unable to regulate its uptake and absorbs high quantities of it. consequently you have a lot of positive charge on the membrane. to be sure to have this you have to put in a lot of phosphorus because potassium is pumped b ATP which uses phosphorus. so if you put more phosphorus a lot of potassium gets pumped into the membrane. then when you put a lot of nitrate in the soil, when you put a lot of nitrate in the soil, what happens? the concentration of nitrate inside the cell increases a lot. on the electric side there is no problem as there is a balance: the plus charge of potassium is compensated by the minus charge of nitrate. the big problem however is on the osmotic side. an atom alone has no osmotic charge. it has no salty reaction. but a molecule like nitrate has a high salty concentration and thus has an osmotic force. owing to this the plant is obliged to bring a lot more water inside the cell. we call this turgor pressure. so the plant becomes full of water, extremely fragile and susceptible to attacks of disease, bacteria and so on. then you have to use pesticides. in the end what happens is that you eat plants which are in disequilibrium.

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Guerric Kendall
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Can I ask why extra water is considered to increase susceptibility to insects and disease? Many mulch methods such as the ruth stout or Back to Eden type gardening use lots of organic matter and work very well. In fact I've heard Paul Gautschi of the B2E method mention insects not liking the extra water contained in them and preferring the dryer crops of other gardening methods instead since they have a greater density of food/cellulose. Regardless of who's right, clarifying the reasoning would be appreciated.
 
Willie Shannon
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Location: Southeast TN
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I love Paul's method, but all that is mentioned in B2E isn't the real world. In one breath paul says they don't like his plants because of the water and in the next breath says he plants extra for the bugs to have food too...Nothing scientific in his hypothesis.
 
Guerric Kendall
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Hm, I must have missed something before, as I'd never heard of him planting extra for insects too. Also, it would likely have been noticed on Thatnub's videos of Paul's plants on youtube, or there would be some mention from someone who's been to his place in the past. In any case, until there's a scientific explanation for it causing disease or increasing pests, it's one person's word against another.
 
Tim Malacarne
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It's way over my paygrade, but it makes sense that over-feeding anything could be problematic.
 
charlotte anthony
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some good thoughts on this thread. Yes Paul says his plants have more water. I am a chiropractor and seem to remember reading stuff about intracellular water vs. extracellular water in humans. I suspect the mechanism here might be the same. So the "too much water" is in an unhealthy place and Paul's extra water is in a healthy place. A problem with science: Living organisms are very complicated.

the mechanism for uptake of "too much water" is from Claude Bourgourgon (who is an agronomist) at the start of this thread in his book Regeneration of the Soil. He is somewhat of a cowboy which means he makes generalizations which are in english or human speak and deliciously outrageous, but obviously in layman's terms. like everything scientific i only go along with it when it matches my own observations. so what i see with overfed plants whether organic or chemical is huge green (lush) plants. i read that the actual cell sizes are larger with these plants. I have friends who have by mistake put too much manure and or fertilizer on their plants and they tell me the plants dry out and die. what most gardeners/farmers do when the plants dry out is give them extra water. The watering schedules for most chemically fed plants requires a lot of water (4-5 times the water required for nonchemically fed plants.) In India where i am where water is becoming a gigantic problem in most of the country, this extra water requirement from chemicals is crucial. It makes sense to me that all of these are related, increased cell sizes, plants that do not have negative feedback mechanisms for too much NPK, uptaking too much of N P or K and then needing additional water. To me it sounds like they would be vulnerable to attack from diseases or insects. This agronomist speaks of it and plant diseases and insect problems are rampant with the use of chemicals. of course there is also the issue of hybrids selected for quick growth and good use of chemicals.

another thing related is the brix testing for sugars in plants. plants that are organically or chemically grown tend to test as a 5. permaculturally grown plants might test at 30 showing much more nutrition.
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