The Sky and Earth - a Union We Overlook at Our Peril

Farm in Upstate NY - photo Jan Johnsen

I often write about creating beautiful outdoor environments to lift our spirits and enhance our wellbeing but we cannot be comfortable if the health of our planet is deteriorating.

We talk about restoring balance to the earth. This starts with the soil. Once the soil is revitalized the atmosphere and weather will correct itself.  

Here is why: the sky and earth interact.

In other words, droughts come from poor soils, pollution and other inharmonious activities on the ground. Fix the soil and the droughts and storms will subside. 



So start with fertilizing the soil - this does not mean applying more soluble nitrogen fertilizers loaded with anhydrous ammonia or nitrates. Doing this to plants is like feeding them amphetamines. Reliance on poisons to grow our food is one of our major problems right now. 

Changing this practice will help our atmosphere greatly. But it is not a quick process so we better start now.


At this point you may be skeptical but think of it this way- ammonium and urea-based fertilizers that we use to grow our food crops are susceptible to loss as ammonia (NH3 ) gas, especially when left on the soil surface. Ammonia gas from fertilizer has a negative effect on air quality and human health. Where are many of our crops grown? In the San Joaquin valley of California.  Here is a photo of atmospheric NH3 over the San Joaquin Valley in 2008 (measured by the IASI satellite). It shows the most concentrated area of NH3 in the air in red.  That was many years ago...guess what happened to California since then?
San Joaquin Valley, California - Harmful Gas emissions from Nitrogen fertilizers

 If you want to know more about this - click here. 

Healthy soil is a teeming world that contains a symbiosis of fungi, minerals, organisms and more. Root structures interact with these ingredients to elevate levels of certain nutrients. It is an interacting and amazing network.

For example, legumes such as beans, alfalfa and peas bring oxygen to the root tips and release oxalic acid. They affect lime levels, nitrogen and more in the soil (cation exchange, etc. its complicated). Legume's beneficial activity is augmented in the presence of certain crop roots that exude carbohydrates, like corn or sugar cane. 


You can see this in full force in the Four sisters method of crop planting used by the Native Americans:  corn, beans, squash and sunflower. 

  • The corn is deep rooted, mining the soil for minerals and exuding carbs to the soil, 
  • Beans 'fix' nitrogen and  elevate the lime 
  • Squash covers the soil to prevent weeds, 
  • The sunflower's stems, leaves and pollen contain phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. They can be composted in the soil to help keep it nourished.  
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Add to this, composts, compost tea, rock dusts or pulverized quartz and seaweed or kelp and the soil will start to sing. 

This is vastly different from using soluble fertilizer that releases harmful gas to the sky - 

we should be building a matrix in the soil that is alive and healthy.

So Governor Brown,  please address the state of agriculture in California asap 

and the skies will rain upon the earth once again.









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My one day Class Wednesday April 16 in NY - Jan Johnsen