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Feeding our Food  (page 3 of  3)
More Food  Facts
Besides being a source of nitrogenous matter, out of which we are constructed, why else are green plants food for us, and how did they get that way?
Not only do we get most of our matter from greeen plants, we also get much of our energy from green plants. For us to have energy we also require water (which may come from green plants) and aerial molecular oxygen. Plant carbohydrates, plant fats -- and plant proteins too -- plus water and oxygen, enable us to have energy for contructing our matter, and for whatever else we use energy for.

In order to assemble nitrogen atoms, and other atoms, into the material of green plants, green plants need enrergy. Green plants get energy from aerial carbon dioxide, water, and light -- they make carbohydrates from these, in which energy they use for contructing their matter -- and doing whatever else they use energy for -- is stored. Their bilogical process of synthesizing carbohydrates is called carbohydrate photosynthesis. Green plants convert stored carbohydrates into energy (the process of doing this is called respiration) as needed. They convert carbohydrates to fats. Then they convert fats back to carbohydrates. The same carbohydrates, and fats, that plants use for their own energy, can be usurped by humans, and used for our energy.  This means that  these natural carbohydrates, that we use, are properly described as being synthetic carbohydrates. Plus humans can also derive energy from proteins -- after first converting them to fats and carbohydrates.  I'm not sure if plants can convert their proteins to carbohydrates and fats, and use them for energy.

Manurial Definitions:

  • manure  something you spread over soil, or mix in with it, for the purpose of increasing the nutrients available to green plants grown in the soil, or for the purpose of otherwize improving the quality of soil for growing green plants in it. Manure can consist of decomposing plant matter, pulverized minerals, decomposing animal tissues, animal excrement, or combinations of these. Industrially-produced plant nutrients are also often referred to as being a kind of manure. Some of these materials are considered suitable for "veganic" cultivation, others aren't.
  • manurial application  manurial application of materials Placing any material or materials on the soil or mixing it in with the soil, for the purpose of improving the soil in some way. See the definition of manure. Usage: A manurial application of ground limestone at the beginning of the season helped adjust the soils pH balance.
  • compost  a kind of material consisting of mostly plant matter that is in advanced stages of decomposition, and decay by decay organisms. Compost can be spread over the soil or mixed in with it. It is traditional to describe it as being a kind of manure, if it is used this way. 
  • green manure  green plants grown, farmed, for being eventually used as a manure, or a manure consisting largely of such green plants, in various stages of decomposition or in the form of  mature compost. Green manures, while still alive and growing, may be turned directly into the soil, to improve the soil and add nutrients to it, or may be cut down, or pulled out, and composted elsewhere.
  • animal excrement manures  animal excrement, after being allowed to decompose further once it has been excreted, has been used as a manure. However animal excrement is only one kind of manure. See the definition of manure.
  • So by now you should know that the terms manure, and animal excrement used to improve soil, are not synonymous. Animal excrement is only one of the various materials that are used manurially.

    Excrement adds off-flavors
    It has long been observered that the soil that plants are grown in affects the flavor of the plants, and that to some extent, the aroma and flavor of certain soil additives can be smelled or tasted, to a certain extent, when the plant grown in that soil is eaten. Many farmers have asserted that soil treated with cow excrement produces plants which tastes better than soil treated with chicken excrement. And this assertion is not generally challenged by anyone who has performed taste tests. Most people can taste the faint, but distinct echo of chicken manure, in the flavor of plants that have been grown in soil treated with a lot of chicken manure.

    People who taste plants grown in soil treated with industrially produced nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, generally assert that these substances do not add any "off" flavors to the plant. They also tend to assert that plants grown in soil that has been treated with a great deal of compost made from fall tree-leaves, and various green manures such as legumes and grasses, tend to have a flavor that has more "interest" and "character." The flavor can depend upon the kind of green manures used.

    If you take some of the same materials that a cow would eat, and instead of running it through several cows' gastrointesinal systems, instead of using cows' gastrointestnal systems as a compost bins, you can simply let the material  decompose in a pile, or piles. This is a tool for veganic gardeners. What advantage is there to running the material through a cow's gastro-intestinal system first? What disadvantages are there to running it through cow's gastro-intestinal system?

    Advantages to using cows' gastro-intestinal systems in place of plain wooden compost bins

  • The cow supports a microbial population in its gastro-intestinal system that speeds the rate at which the material decomposes.
  • Cow excrement has a greater concentration of microbial life which causes the excrement to continue to decompose at a faster rate, even after it is excreted, than compost formed in a bin would decompose.
  • This microbial life will also help other materials in the soil that it has been added to, to decompose faster.

    Disadvantages to using cows' gastro-intestinal systems in place of plain wooden compost bins
  • The microbial population in a cows gastro-intestinal tract is less like the microbial population of garden soil than that of compost formed in a simple compost bin.
  • The microbial population in a cows gastro-intestinal tract is more likely to have microorganisms that are pathogenic to humans than the microbial population of compost formed in a simple compost bin.
  • The cow removes some nutrients from the material for its own use, thus preventing those nutrients from being added to the soil.
  • The cow concentrates certain toxic materials in its excrement, so that they will be at a much higher concentration than similar materials would be, in compost formed in a compost bin. These materials, if they are then added to the soil, can be taken up by plants grown in the soil.
  • Decompostion that takes place too fast, in soil, can interfere with plant growth. So if the amount of  animal excrement one adds to soil exceeds a certain amount, it becomes harful to one's garden. As long as bin-formed compost is fully mature, there is little likelyhood of any problems being caused by adding  too much compost to soil. In fact you can grow many plants directly in plain mature compost, without any other soil. Plain well-rotted cow manure is not likely to support much plant growth, if it supports any at all.
  • More on excrement in soil.
    The Earthly Origin of Commercial Materials Educational Organization
    Where does food come from? (page 3 of 3)
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