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How vines can self-regulate

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Vines have two root systems:

  • the first one is where the roots latch on to organic matter to assimilate minerals derived from humus;
  • the second is a taproot which drops down as far as the bedrock.

Vines assimilate minerals all the way along their roots and when they encounter the bedrock, they turn it into clay.

The tree or vine (a creeper), naturally creates balance in the soil, from top to bottom, allowing it to draw in nourishment all the way along the root system and to develop above ground.
At ground level:

The branches and leaves fall to the ground and are broken down by epigeal fauna which turns them into faeces. This will then be crushed into fine components absorbed by Basidiomycota fungi which subsequently turn them into humus.

Bacteria then gradually turns the humus into minerals.

Vines have two root systems:

  • the first one is where the roots latch on to organic matter to assimilate minerals derived from humus;
  • the second is a taproot which drops down as far as the bedrock.

Vines assimilate minerals all the way along their roots and when they encounter the bedrock, they turn it into clay.
Deep below the surface:

Dead roots are eaten by soil-dwelling fauna, allowing vines to develop new roots.
The assimilation of minerals by the vine all the way along its roots enables water to be clarified before it enters the water table.
Two-way movement between ground level and deep below the surface:

Transformation of humus into a clay-humic complex

Earthworms (or anecic fauna) hollow out vertical galleries from top to bottom, thereby aerating the soil. They take organic matter at ground level to eat it, then go back underground bringing clay back up to the surface. They have a gland in their intestine which is rich in calcium (ion+). Their faeces produce a mixture of clay and humus charged with ions (-) with calcium ions (+), thereby creating the clay-humic complex. They also lighten the soil through the formation of galleries which avoids compaction.
Noteworthy facts:

  1. Organic matter should never be buried: all fungi are aerobic and if humus is buried in the soil, there is no more oxygen; the fungi disappear as does the entire resultant food chain. Therefore, ploughing should never be too deep.
  2. Chemical fertilizers add minerals, which stimulate bacteria and mineralize organic matter too quickly. Ultimately, organic matter disappears along with the fauna that feeds on the surface, including earthworms. There is no longer an exchange between clay deep down in the soil and organic matter at ground level. When the proportion of organic matter is too low and organic ions can no longer be mineralized, the chemical death of the soils ensues due to the fact that the clay-humic complex can no longer be formed. The fundamental ions calcium (+) and humus (-) can no longer bind with the clay.

Once the soils have deteriorated chemically, they then undergo physical deterioration: compaction and erosion for instance.

Use of chemical fertilizers helps kill soils.

Properly functioning soils are pivotal to sense of place or ‘terroir’ effect.

To find out more, read ‘Le Sol, la Terre et les Champs’ by Claude and Lydia Bourguignon, published by Sang de la Terre.

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