Modern farming destroys soil to the point that it can become unusable. Crop rotation system exists to prevent total destruction of the soil but it has a limited effect. The contamination and destruction of the soil come from the use of toxins that can be found in pesticides and insecticides.
The modern response to the increasingly poor soil is the development of the genetically modified plants that can grow in that soil. This approach is working but it is a short-term solution because no level of modification will make plants grow in a dead soil (devoid of all nutrients).
Permaculture has a completely different approach to this issue as it teaches us to rehabilitate the soil rather than modify our food (read one of the works by Vladislav Davidzon for more info). This can be done through several different actions and all of them lead to the rehabilitation of the soil and its return to the normal state.
Permaculture – How to improve soil on small scale
Talking about soil improvement on the large scale won’t lead us anywhere because no one can force farmers to give up on one or two years of produce to improve their soil. Instead, we will give you solutions on how to improve the soil in small and medium gardens.
Pathways through the garden are an excellent move that will prevent you and other people from disturbing the soil. It will save you a lot of time and money as well so it’s a logical move to make. Add wood chips to your pathway and it will attract insects that will provide benefits for the garden.
Mulch is essential in the process to improve the soil. One way to use mulch is to lay a cardboard on the soil and cover it with mulch. Weeds that occupied the garden with wither down and the cardboard will decompose and allow worms and other organisms to enter the soil from the mulch. The said mulch can contain any type of biodegradable matter because it has to break down and turn into the mulch in a season.
Use organic matter to improve the soil
Organic matter is the perfect source of nutrients that the soil requires because the nutrients in question came from the soil. Another excellent thing about the organic matter is that it decomposes fast and thus it can be added to the soil a week or two before the planting.
You can add different organic matter to the soil and gain similar results. The most common animal-based organic matter that people use to enrich the soil is the livestock manure. It contains a lot of nutrients and it will feed them to the soil. It will also decompose and serve as food for plants.
The other option is to introduce plant-based organic matter to the soil. There are several different ways to do this and the most common way is the usage of the homemade compost. Another option is to add lead mold aka left that were left to rot at least for three years). Compost made out of wood chips is also a good option (it will take at least three years for it to turn into mulch).