Why is proper soil management so important nowadays?
Before we attempt to answer the question why, in our opinion, we should widely use products from processed lignite in plant cultivation, it would be worthwhile to mention the most important and most precious resource that every farmer or gardener holds in their possession – the soil. In Poland, we have less and less agricultural soil due to urban development, new roads, new huge logistic centres and other work establishments. Our soils are prevalently young, of postglacial origin and that is why they contain less humus compared to many other European countries. Additionally, bad agricultural practices have escalated the process of humus decay and therefore now our soils contain 25-30 % less of it than in the 19th century. Consequently, today the soil features low fertility and productivity which combined with low water storage leads to low crops and their sensitivity to droughts. By basing plant cultivation on soil fertility – and this is the underlying assumption of sustainable and organic farming according to directions in European policy – we must restore soil quality, which under optimum circumstances might be achieved no sooner than after 40 to 50 years. That is definitely too long to wait! We must do it much sooner, within 10-15 years, so we have to accelerate the process by leaps and bounds. However, now we know how to do it.
The spiral of loss of soil fertility
As of today, Poland has approx. 25 % degraded soil and approx. 75 % highly degrades soil, and we owe this mostly to ourselves. It is because of harmful human activity consisting in misunderstanding of biological processes in the soil and totally robbery exploitation of our soil resources that we have been doing for decades, the situation is becoming worse and worse year by year. Intensification of soil cultivation, abuse of synthetic fertilizers, especially the nitric ones, simplification of crop succession or monoculture, decrement of biomass (e.g. straw or compost), these all decrease the diversity of soil organisms and thus impede creation of humus in the subsequent years. What is more, removal of biomass from a field causes the soil microbes to decompose the humus instead of using the fresh organic matter. This leads to a vicious circle i.e. soil humus decrement causes the need to increase mineral fertilization, which in turn accelerates the processes of humus decomposition and further loss of fertility.
Merely 1,6% - this is the average content of organic matter in Polish soils acc. to IUNG (Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation)
According to European Commission standards, any content of organic matter that is below 3.5 % leads to soil stepping, while a drop below 1.7 % precedes desertification of such areas, which necessitates regeneration or reclamation of such soils. According to IUNG, the weighted value of Polish soils is merely 1.6 % while e.g. regions specialized in horticulture often do not exceed a mere 1.2 %.
Soil humus constitutes a huge storage of nutrients
Water absorption and storage
Fertile soil ensures effective storage of water (every 1 % means as much as 160 t of water per hectare) and inhibits the processes of eolian and water erosion. What is more, structural humus soil ensures absorption and storage of 85 % of rain water for plants, while for degraded soil that factor is only 20 %.
Aggregation of minerals
Humus has the capacity of storing ingredients of fertilizers which is even 800 times greater than that of soil minerals and it limits their outwashing to groundwater and increases their availability to plants. Additionally, rich soil basically improves bioavailability of nutrients.
Inadequate soil management, such as ploughing or mixing various biomass with surface layer of soil, significantly increases CO2 emission to atmosphere. Therefore, it is essential to encourage agricultural practices that facilitate increase of biomass and ensure positive balance of carbon in the soil.
Humus is formed over a long time but it can be destroyed very quickly. We need...
up to 15 years
to create the so called active humus
to create stabilized humus
+ 100 years
to create permanent humus
Chemical composition of humus is approximately as follows: 60% C, 30% O2, 6% N, 1,2% P, 0,9% S and numerous microelements. The proportion of most important macroelements in humus C : N : P : S is thus 10 : 1 : 0.2 : 0.15, respectively. Thinking globally, soil contains twice more carbon than Earth atmosphere (1500 bln t and 700 bln t, respectively ).
Our solution? Lignite!
But not every kind of it...
The first, very basic attempts to use brown coal to improve soil quality, were made in Germany and Poland over a hundred years ago. The two world wars and then the rapid growth of industry interrupted those works until 1950s and it has been only recently that knowledge and sophisticated technologies allow taking full advantage of the potential of brown coal in plant cultivation. For these applications only properly processed “young” brown coal, the so called lignite, is suitable. Lignite is found in shallow deposits of relatively minor degree of carbonization i.e. enriching organic substances with carbon. Creation of lignite deposits is a particularly complex and complicated process, depending on numerous factors such as: climate, development of fauna, presence of various microorganisms, morphology and tectonics of a given area. Practically, none of the deposits of that resource on the planet is homogenous.
Examples of carbon and organic substance contents in most commonly used fertilizers and fertilizing materials of organic origin.
The data is presented as converted into fresh mass (natural moisture) as this makes it easier to imagine the load of organic components introduced along with a specific portion of a given fertilizer. Obviously, chemical composition of fertilizers and fertilizing materials is variable and depends on numerous factors, among others animal species and age and type of litter bedding (manure), type of materials used to produce compost, lignite deposits etc.
Processed lignite contains a complex of amorphous humic substances identical as the ones present in humus – those are fulvic acids, humic acids as well as humins and bitumens whose addition to soil drastically increases humus content and permanently restores its quality and fertility. Considering merely such an aspect as solubility it seems that the most significant for broad agri-horticulural application are fulvic and humic acids. Furthermore, those substances considerably lower access of heavy metals and other harmful compounds and thus improve healthfulness of soil and plants growing therein.
Using CarboHort products
is extremely easy
All products marked with CarboHort logo come from processing of lignite and are designated for use with every species of grass, herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees present in our gardens and on our fields. They may be used in allotment gardens, crop gardens, greenhouses, nurseries, ornamental plants, orchards and berry plantations as well as on grasslands and typically agricultural crops and fields, including organic ones. Plants fertilized with CarboHort products grow in healthier, fertile soil, develop a better root system, have better access to water and nutrients and are protected against harmful elements and substances. Consequently, they grow faster, are stronger and more resilient to diseases, adverse weather, droughts and even pest.
Using products with CarboHort logo is also a great assistance to anyone who does not have extensive horticultural knowledge or does not have much free time while they would like e.g. create a practical or aesthetic surroundings for their new home, a new ornamental garden, vegetable garden or a green area. We are all striving to live healthily, surrounded with greenery, eat healthy veggies and fruit from our own garden. This is exactly what lignite products provide in an accessible way and at no risk. We all know how difficult it is to buy good garden mould or soil for your lawn that do not come from processed waste or sewage. An alternative is using CarboHort products which allow you to fertilize every, even very poor kind of soil, without the need to supply any new soil, difficult to obtain and often contaminated.