Vertical Menu Allowance


(Part Two)


            In part one of this page, we looked at what happens in a field when farmed industrially.  Here we'll consider what happens to an identical field farmed using ecologically minded, natural products and practices.  Of course this page can only be an overview and generalization: every situation demands its own scrutiny.  The principles discussed here apply equally to your garden, lawn and anything else you might grow using AGGRAND products. 

            In a nutshell, what AGGRAND fertilizers accomplish is exactly the opposite of what chemical fertilizers accomplish.  AGGRAND products build up natural systems of fertility by fortifying healthy soil biology.  They also feed the plant through the roots and leaves (foliar) directly, and they help in efforts to balance soil safely and effectively.  That's three for the price of one!  The benefits are particularly pronounced when you can keep your operation chemical free long term.  Instead of slowly spiraling downward or remaining static your field’s health will actually improve. 

          AGGRAND fertilizers will not automatically remove all your problems, and we are not implying that either.  Using AGGRAND will help remove many problems for sure and lessen your workload in some ways, but there will always be challenges, esp. for big acreage outfits.  However, it’s also much more effective, healthier, safer, and vastly more sustainable.  Take care of your land as we propose here, and it will take care of you. 


​First Steps

           A more ecologically minded farmer would try to keep the soil’s health first and foremost at the top of his thoughts.  Because his whole operation grows out of the soil it’s the one asset he cannot lose, and he knows it.  To accomplish his goals he considers the big picture and how everything works together, as an eco-system, not as individual parts.  

This farmer will likely plow most of the field this first year, but he will keep the plow as shallow as possible.  This keeps the aerobic soil biology alive, which ensures decomposition of organic matter and continuity in nutrient cycling.  In following years he will try to keep away from plowing altogether if possible. 

He will also keep interspersed strips of untouched land in his field.  There are at least two very good reasons for this.  Such plants left intact will keep beneficial fungi populations intact, which will then continue to branch out into the field each year.  The fungi are an asset worth protecting.  If he can keep away from plowing in the future he will be able to maintain fungi populations across his field, especially with the aid of cover crops that keep living roots in the soil at all times. 

And these strips can serve as hedgerows when small trees or bushes are left or planted.  This farmer is very mindful of erosion forces and will keep hedgerows (windbreaks) in at the edges of his field and even in his field if it’s large enough.  The benefits of keeping all his topsoil and fungi populations intact far outweigh the slight yield decreases that result from keeping hedgerows.  Short term greed on this will cost one much more in the end.  It takes many years for top-soil to rebuild itself, and that only happens when the soil biology is healthy. 

Maintenance of top soil and microbe populations are only two of many reasons he will keep cover crops going all year.  If he can manage it (though many cannot), he will also let the land lay fallow once in a while as this really helps the soil.  The overall point here is that the soil is a finite resource that must be managed wisely and not selfishly gorged on until all its wealth is gone.  One is considered a fool if he extravagantly spends himself into bankruptcy while devoid of income.  It’s really no different for the grower who bleeds his soil for all it's worth, perpetually depleting it without any thought of future consequences. 



           Initially, this farmer applied AGGRAND fertilizer to the soil itself, followed by foliar applications later in the season.  AGGRAND has crop guides that give more specific information, but as a general rule of thumb, foliar sprays should be applied at about a 3% dilution rate (97% water).  When applied to the soil, dilution rates can be a bit higher, perhaps up to 5% or a bit more.   A little bit of this fertilizer goes a long way.  It's better to have a few lighter applications throughout the season than one heavy application, but sometimes conditions impede.

          There is great flexibility as to when our products can and should be applied.  The best rule of thumb in regards to timing of application is to keep track of periods of particularly strong nutrient demand by the plants, while also keeping track of the soil condition in general.  This fellow sent soil samples off to our lab and will use their customized recommendations.  Since the field is fresh the analysis will likely tell him things are in fairly good shape and he won’t need as much to start as other previously farmed fields. 

Corn is a heavy feeder.  Depending on the soil analysis he might apply straight to the soil, per acre, a couple gallons of 4-3-3 and a gallon of the 0-12-0, which also contains 8% super fine calcium, for example.  He tows a tillage unit behind his sprayer and incorporates it straight into the soil, although you don’t have to till it in: it will soak in also.  A banding application two inches beside and slightly below the corn seed is another option.  Our liquid fertilizers are very versatile.  Foliar applications will follow later in the season. 

Once applied, AGGRAND fertilizers will immediately be set upon (within the first 24 hours) by the soil’s biology, which will “fix” it in the soil.    Moreover, the brown sugars added to our natural fertilizer are an added boost to the soil biology…vastly increasing their numbers.  Microbes gobble this fertilizer up!  It will never leach, volatize or toxify the soil.  Our fertilizers contain no harmful chemicals and virtually no salt.  This is the exact opposite of salt-based, synthesized fertilizers, which often do as much harm as good. 

            Because our fertilizers fortify soil microbes and multiply their numbers (not destroy them), they will continue mineralizing nutrients in the soil for your plants all season long.  Natural nutrient cycles & fertility continue unabated.  AGGRAND aids these cycles.  Moreover, if you have specific needs, you can form your own custom spray regime for your crop, mixing them together as the need calls for. 

AGGRAND's calcium and phosphorous come in extremely fine ground particle sizes. The result is very fast soil ingress and rapid plant utilization, esp. as a foliar application.  This is especially helpful in more depleted soils during colder spring temps, when plants need these nutrients at start-up but the soil biology is too sluggish (or damaged) to mineralize it fast enough.  Ground up limestone brought in from the quarry is great as a long term bulk soil amendment, but it takes years to incorporate into the soil.  AGGRAND can help when your plant needs nutrients right now



AGGRAND products simply shine as foliar sprays.  Even dilution rates as low as 2-3% are a shot in the arm for hungry plants and give good results.  When you can’t feed the plants via the soil fast enough, with AGGRAND it’s easy to feed the plant and take care of any deficiencies very quickly.  If your plants have *immediate* needs the soil cannot provide, AGGRAND products warrant serious consideration.  Since our natural fertilizer is a complete and full spectrum product your plants will get everything they need in the forms needed: not as some synthesized isolate of N, P or K, but the whole package of macro & micro nutrients plus much more besides.  That which washes off the plant ends up fertilizing the soil and feeding the roots and soil biology…nothing is lost or wasted.  Remember: AGGRAND is the real thing, not a synthesized copy. 

Foliar treatments are always beneficial but even more so if used during key periods of growth when nutrient requirements are highest, such as startup, early bloom and fruit set and maturation.  Corn is a heavy feeder so this farmer chose to supplement his initial soil application with two foliar applications: the first when the corn is around 10 inches (one gal. per acre of 4-3-3 mixed with a quart of 0-12-0), and the second when about two feet tall (one to two gal. per acre of 4-3-3 and a quart of 0-0-8 per acre).  If he waits much longer the corn could grow too tall for his equipment, but it’s useful to delay the last application as much as possible to place it closer to tasseling.  If he could get one more foliar application put on somehow around tasseling time, either aerially or via irrigation, that would help too.  It all depends on the plant and soil needs however, so this is only a loosely given spray regime here.  Only soil and tissue analysis can give the full picture, though soil analysis is usually enough. 

Every crop, every field is different.  If he was growing beans in this healthy soil he could have gotten by using a third of the nitrogen he needed for corn.  If he strip planted beans with corn, the corn would need less nitrogen also, for example, because the nitrogen fixating beans would supply some extra nitrogen to the corn.  A quality, thorough soil analysis comes highly recommended as the pre-eminent means to fully inform you of your fields’ specific needs.  If you wanted to get even more in depth, plant tissue analysis can be used to determine the plants specific needs.  


If you are considering using these products the best advice I can give is to do all in your power to keep your inputs as natural as possible, or else you will be undermining your own success.  Some guys use our products mixed in with their chemical sprays, and this will still help your plant as a foliar, but it’s less than ideal and will never yield maximum results because AGGRAND can’t strengthen and aid the soil biology your chemicals just wiped out.  In addition, many herbicides function by chelating specific nutrients, and will thus render those nutrients in our fertilizers unavailable.  

However, there is one combination we must strongly warn against.  Do not mix AGGRAND products with Glyphosate!  The Glyphosate will chelate all the positive cat ions in the fertilizer.  The two will largely cancel each other out and you will waste a lot of time and money for nothing.  For much more detail on the agricultural and health dangers inherent with this nasty chemical, read the Glyphosate page.  Try to wait at least three weeks after Glyphosate application before applying AGGRAND fertilizers.  Better yet, try to avoid using Glyphosate altogether if possible. 

 Make sure you follow instructions, or at least come close!  Some guys just like to mix it up as they see fit.  They often do so at the wrong rates and in other, less than ideal ways and wonder why they didn’t see the results they hoped for.  AGGRAND products are very different from conventional fertilizers and have their own protocol to follow.  If you have any questions on proper use, please ask and I’ll be happy to help.  AGGRAND products are very effective if used correctly and especially if used within natural systems.  

​Transitioning to AGGRAND

If your field or garden has been chemical free for years and healthy, you will have no transition period with AGGRAND.  If your soil is beat-up or depleted from years of hard use or chemical inputs it will need higher amounts of AGGRAND initially.  It might need additional inputs also, such as bulk calcium, etc.  Such fields often need time to re-establish healthy soil biology and transition to natural nutrient cycling and fertility.   During that period you will likely need to gradually wean your field from chemical usage while simultaneously increasing your AGGRAND amounts.  This could take several years.  If glyphosate was used extensively it could take longer still.  Synthesized Ag chemicals can take a long time to break down, though we know other ways to help with this as well. 

During this transition period you also need to focus on balancing the soil’s chemistry using soil analysis…also vital.  You must rebuild the soil’s natural systems of fertility (soil biology) and get the soil into a state of chemical balance.  Both are needed.  Microbial inoculants may be very beneficial during such transitions as well.  Transition won’t happen immediately, but perseverance will earn you your prize in time, and eventually your fields can recover and your AGGRAND usage will start to taper off as natural systems of fertility get into full swing again.  

Avoid the chemical industry’s false hope of "the instant fix.”  For starters, it can’t offer a “fix” at all, but only a bandage.  Also, quick & easy now usually means slow and difficult later…there are no free lunches here no matter what they tell you.  Do it right.  Address the *causes* with AGGRAND and not the *symptoms* with chemicals, and over time your results will become more lasting.  Good things are worth waiting for.  Use AGGRAND on healthy soil and you will enjoy the triple benefit of feeding soil, microbe and plant all at once, naturally and efficiently.  A win-win-win situation! 


​Different Methodology...Different Outcome

This farmer chose to use conventional, untreated seeds.  They’re hard to locate these days but they can be sourced with effort.  As a bonus, he might even be able to use his is own harvest seeds to plant crops in the future, which offers the added benefit of breeding plants best adapted to his locale.  He also won’t need to worry about infringing on seed patents, or terminator technology, or being beholden to the seed companies, etc.  Self-reliance is a very satisfying thing, especially when the prices keep going up. 

He also refrained from using all the sprays most farmers use.  A lot of growers laugh at this idea, especially those with big acreage, and ask “how can he keep on top of his weeds and other problems then?”  More on that below.  The point here is that he’s not adding a toxic load to his soil with the use of treated seeds or any of the other agro-chemicals on the market.  He’s keeping his soil healthy and at the same time is striving to get his its chemistry into a balanced state through the use of annual soil analysis.  He also saves a lot of money on chemicals this way. 

​A Biological Approach

There are other helps one can use when trying to farm or grow more ecologically, besides fertilizer.  There isn't space to explain them all, but allow us to suggest one for your benefit here; the others will be passed on to customers looking for more.  A superb biological to use throughout the season is compost tea, which is a derivative and extension of compost.  Quality compost is great stuff but it's not so feasible for larger operations perhaps because of the amounts needed and at times, questions of quality control.  Before we move on, however, understand the real benefit of compost.  It's not merely a great fertilizer.  It is that, but the real and largely unknown value of quality aerated compost is that it's a treasure house of beneficial microbes which seed your soil and plants.  Microbial content is the biggest benefit of quality compost. 

Properly brewed compost tea is a much more convenient, versatile and concentrated use of the beneficial microbe content of quality compost.  Compost tea is not taken seriously by most today and that is unfortunate.  It doesn't take a lot of quality aerated compost tea to gain great and numerous benefits.  It must be actively aerated, and there is a definite science and art to doing it right with a corresponding learning curve.  However, when done right its microbial flora can even be customized to suit particular crop types and scaled to any size.  It's inherently flexible.  Quality compost tea is loaded with zillions of diverse beneficial aerobic microbes which seed and inoculate everything they touch. 

When (gently) applied to the soil and your plants as a foliar this rich brew is extremely useful in removing dysbiosis in systems by allowing the "good guys" to out-compete the "bad guys."  It's miscreant control at its best!  Actively aerated compost tea also initiates a host of secondary beneficial inter-relations and actions between microbes and also between plant and microbe, which strengthens and fortifies your plants and helps fight off pathogens.  It can be used on gardens, cereal, oil or any other cash crop, orchards and berries...virtually everything.  Actively aerated tea is completely natural, safe, extremely beneficial, can never be over applied and has no harmful side effects whatsoever.  It almost sounds too good to be true, but it isn't.  It's God's wisdom at work and it performs wonderfully.  Moreover, once you have your own equipment set up it's basically free.  

Unfortunately a holistic, biological approach is not the norm these days.  The first knee-jerk reaction among growers when things get too wet, for example, is often "quick, spray fungicides!"  This is true whether we're talking wheat to beans to apples.  How many consider there may be a reason why fungus and rot takes off so quickly in fields and orchards that are sprayed every year for these things?  What if you used natural systems to work for you instead of killing them off?  It is a far healthier approach and effective long term.  The instant, silver bullet approach employs a potent chemical fungicide which will probably work *right now,* but it damages system health and further predisposes your crop to the very pathogenicity you're trying to curb.  In contrast, plants that participate in fighting off pathogens actually receive many positive health benefits.

For example, research has revealed that many plants can literally "hear" the chewing sound an insect makes when gnawing on its leaves (in contradistinction to background noise).  This causes a healthy plant to mount a chemical response to deter the feeder.  The chemicals released aid the plant but also happen to be some of the most beneficial phytonutrients known for human consumption.  A few holes in the leaves don't look so bad in this light.  In healthy soil with mycorrhizal communities present, plants can actually intercommunicate on a chemical level through these fungal networks and prepare a response to the threat even before it hits!  In healthy fields, pests can't simply walk in, park it, call over their buddies and have a big feast on your plants.  They have to range far and work for their food.  Not to over simplify, but the fact that some mono-cropped fields can get completely wiped out by a single pest is very telling of the overall condition of the soil and crops.  

For further insights into using biologicals, which work well with AGGRAND, there is a knowledgeable orchardist we came across (no affiliation) in the wet state of New Hampshire named Michael Phillips.  He wrote a superb book called The Holistic Orchard that showcases the many benefits of a biological, organic approach to growing.  It's especially good reading for orchardists.  There is a big learning curve, true, but nothing good comes easily.  All the orchardists around us say you can't grow organic apples and rock fruits here because it's too wet, yet here's someone who does it in even wetter conditions. 

​A Bright Outlook

Compost teas and other, even easier to use but equally potent natural products we know of work great by themselves and superbly when used in conjunction with AGGRAND Natural Fertilizers because they also bolster natural systems and operate within their parameters.  They don't bludgeon biological systems into conformity to the archetypal industrial "assembly line."   They co-operate productively with nature and make you an ally of the soil's underground market, not an enemy: an inherently superior approach.  This is common sense working for you.  The purpose of this site is to help educate, and knowledge is power.  Be encouraged to know that there are often safer, wiser and more affordable options to be found when you search for them. 

The ecologically minded farmer tries to keep all his biological systems healthy and working for him holistically.  It is immensely satisfying to him that he is not responsible for any of the health and environmental issues you read about in "part one" of A Tale of Two Fields because he chose to eschew conventional methods, including GM plants and their partner chemicals.  Through the use of soil analysis, cover crops, full spectrum "whole food" fertilizers from AGGRAND, the optional use of quality compost teas and other natural products, he is able to bolster his soil's health and provide for every nutrient need of his plants.  His crops will do very well in resisting pests, disease and pathogens.  That's not to say they are impervious to them, but they will do very well in spite of them without all the toxic rescue chemistry.  There is good reason for this, explained under the "germ theory" section on the Soil Biology page. 

Farming this way really works.  Another real world example of ecologically minded farming in operation is found here with this rancher [pdf] who's having phenomenal success with his crops and animals while remaining completely free of all GM technology, synthetic fertilizers and all other chemical inputs except herbicide which he applies once every few years, and that too will be phased out soon.  It can be done!  It's already being done, as this successful cash cropper [pdf] also demonstrates, and with education and perseverance you can do it too.  


​Weed Control

            This topic is outside the scope of this website, but we include it since it compliments a natural system where AGGRAND is used and could possibly help you.  Perhaps the single greatest headache for farmers, especially those who shun herbicides, is weed pressure.  The perpetual development of herbicide resistance means the chemical operation is not free from this either.  There is no easy solution to the weed problem; it will always remain a proverbial, and literal, "thorn" in our side. 

Ever escalating toxicity is not the answer and is going to backfire badly one day for everyone involved.  In fact this is already starting.  One possible and promising alternative is a newer method that has started to take off in the last decade called “organic no-till.”

With “organic no-till,” farmers grow cover crops for many good reasons, including future weed control, but instead of using glyphosate for desiccation (die-off), which only hastens the process of drawing glyphosate directly into the seeds of our food crops, they employ huge crimper/rollers on their tractors which flatten, crimp and kill the cover crop.  A seed drill with heavy duty coulters punches through the trash to plant the next crop.  It’s still being perfected and has some issues to be worked out, but it’s a method that holds much promise and is worthy of consideration. Depending on which cover crops are employed, with organic no-till you can gain the following benefits:

  1. weed control,
  2. a rich return of organic matter, esp. with root-heavy crops like grasses, etc.,
  3. complete elimination of erosion,
  4. a perpetuation of extremely beneficial fungi populations,
  5. complete elimination of toxic inputs,
  6. huge increases in microbial bio-diversity and numbers,
  7. large increases in earthworm populations,
  8. greatly enhanced moisture infiltration and retention,
  9. vastly improved soil biology health overall,
  10. improved soil structure and tilth,
  11. healthier and more nutritionally dense crop growth, 
  12. fuel savings.


​Concluding Thoughts 


           This second hypothetical farmer here will enjoy great results his first year and this will continue into the future, notwithstanding the variations that affect every farm year by year.  He’s not poisoning his farm with agro-chemicals!  Most importantly, his soil will not fall into the pattern of slow but steady decline but remain healthy.  Every year he will keep the green manure (cover crops) going and he will continue to base his customized AGGRAND applications on quality soil analysis, so he can rest confident in the knowledge he’s getting the best custom fit he can for his operation.  Perhaps best of all, he goes to sleep every night feeling great about what he’s doing! 

          Today many growers ridicule the notion of organic or natural farming as if an impractical, romantic ideal.  Yet 100 years ago virtually everyone was a natural farmer, and it worked well for those who stayed on top of their game.  And today there are ecologically minded farmers obtaining stupendous results while eschewing the conventional model.  It works when one understands the principles and puts the work into it.  

          Most growers today are so addicted to their chemical inputs they couldn't farm without them anymore if they wanted to!  They’re trapped.  They destroy their land, biodiversity and farming options with large scale mono-cropping and its associated spray regime, while giving billions each year to the agro-chemical industry.  They set themselves up for trouble.  At the same time, big industry politics and money are trampling the smaller, more ecologically minded family farms into the very soil they're trying to protect.  They're being sold out for 30 pieces of silver by government agencies which are beholden to the chemical lobby.  If we're going to get serious about investing in our future, we must give our smaller family farms and more ecologically minded producers a fair shot at success too. 

          It’s understandable how our current system got rolling 75 years ago, but we know better now!  With our experience and ever expanding knowledge, safe, healthy and sustainable cropping can be done far better today than ever before.  Let’s learn from history and do our part to facilitate change.  There has never been a better time.  AGGRAND offers fantastic front line options to help you do just this.  Natural fertility founded on healthy soil communities begets everything good that happens above.  Chemicals give a lot but they take a lot too.  AGGRAND only gives, and that bountifully!  It gives to your soil ecology.  It gives to your plants through root and shoot.  It gives to our health, our environment, our children and our future.  

 Why not give it a try?  "Grow Up" with AGGRAND!

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