Plants lack vigor, insects damage and destroy them, “I have a black thumb” …. etc.
Soil loses minerals with every harvest. Gases like nitrogen and carbon are readily available to plants and microorganisms in healthy soil. Minerals such as calcium, potassium, boron, molybdenum and many, many more are not replenished in any normal way. Rock powder is the only practical way to get the trace minerals back in the soil. That and a little supplemental calcium via oyster shell flour restores the ancient mineral balance in the soil.
Decomposing organic matter is also a crucial part of a healthy soil ecosystem.In the early phases of soil rehabilitation, truckloads of organic matter make up for what has been lost in recent history. When time is on your side, as in a maintenance mode, cover crops can serve that purpose.
Understanding the world that plants inhabit enables the gardener and farmer to grow healthy plants without pests and without pesticides.
Working WITH nature instead of against her produced the cover crop of oats, bell beans and vetch whose sole purpose was to help improve the soil of my orchard and, coincidentally, provide a lovely layer of organic mulch that provided a nice, soft landing when the fruit began to fall from the trees. The cover crop not only captured nitrogen and carbon from the air with the foliage you see above ground, its roots took the air a dozen or more feet below ground to build an impressively healthy soil. THAT is the key to healthy, pest-free growing.
I can help build a healthy soil and plant ecosystem for you too. Pictured below is a much younger, proud-of-his-soil, 6′-tall Ted Dunlap with his cover crop of oat, vetch and bell beans towering over him.