Transplanting spinach seedlings with TAI WĀNANGA TŪ TOA students

In our third organic farming session, we transplanted almost 1,200 spinach seedlings. We expect these leafy greens to be harvested at the end of March and the beginning of April.
In preparation for this session, we investigated the question of how plants get their nutrients and how we, as farmers or gardeners, can find out what and how much to feed them. One way is that we can offer plant nutrients in the form of mineral salts that can be absorbed as soon as they are dissolved by the water in the soil. This is very precise, fast, and enables us to be more independent of temperature conditions. Another option is to apply organic matter, such as mulch, compost or manure. Although this method requires the nutrients to be broken down into minerals (which takes time and just the right conditions), before the plants can actually utilise them, there is one major reason to choose this approach: it helps the organisms in the soil to thrive and build up the soil fertility. Looking at the natural nutrient cycle, we saw that every organism receives in order to give, and benefits some other organism. As farmers, we want to blend in with this cycle of giving and enable the natural processes to work better, rather than disrupt them by trying to maximise our profits.

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