This monoculture thing has started a firestorm. Please, do not confuse
commercial agriculture with gardening. In gardening, most people are
planting a long term crop and are spending a lot of time on the condition of
the soil they use. I would bet that most gardeners leave the soil better
than when they started. Chemical fertilizers are not damaging the soil.
They may damage the environment by getting into ground water storage, and
might be significant only if you fertilize your lawn heavily. Organic based
fertilizers do leave organic residues in the soil and tend to improve the
soil. But all of this on the scale of a Hosta garden?
Some points from agriculture.
Greatest yields are almost always found in monoculture, there is no
competition. Best Hosta in should be in monoculture, but remember, Hosta
have not been bred for yield. Probably does not make too much difference.
Damage to the soil is highest due to soil loss by water erosion and wind
erosion. Plowing the fields following a planting allows erosion to take
place. Use mulch greoundcovers.
Continual use of a soil for agriculture tends to lower the organic content
as little organic material is replaced. A good gardener is always adding
organic material to the soil (again, use mulch groundcovers). Organic
growing tends to add more back to the soil than conventional agriculture.
Crop rotation is good for the soil, but makes no sense when growing a
multiple year crop such as Hosta. Undisturbed soil with an organic mulch
will actually improve with time.
Some of the highest yields in agriculture come when no soil is used at all.
The Imperial Valley in Southern California is a good example. Here crops
are grown in almost pure sand and everything the crop needs has to be added
by the farmer. This type of agriculture could not exist without chemical
I think we need to Chill Out as my daughter likes to tell me and enjoy our
Hosta gardens. Amend the soil, add fertilizer and mulch, and watch them
grow. Fight the battle for sustainable agriculture elsewhere.
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