Gardening has several levels. Many gardeners are content with using only the first.
Miracle Grow and the Mittleider Method have demonstrated that plants can take care of themselves, if the soil has all the minerals needed, plus proper amount of water and sunlight. You can go here to learn more about Mittleider’s method and its success all over the world. This is the first level of gardening. It is totally inorganic.
The second level of gardening involves the nurturing of microbial life in the soil to assist the plant at root level. Though the plant roots can digest the minerals on their own, they can also absorb the exudates the microbes make, which is ready-to-eat food, saving the plant a great amount of energy and time. Also, some of the microbes, called mycorrhizae, infect the roots, but in the process can increase root absorption up to 10,000 times. Since microbes thrive on carbon-based food, the use of organic material is a serious component at this level.
Plants, like their human counterparts, operate on an electrical system as well as chemical. So we also should concern ourselves with ion exchange. Whatever increases transfer of ions increases the electrical capacity of the soil. And whatever benefits the electrical capacity of the soil helps enervate the plant. There are several ways this can happen: by proper mineralization, companion planting, the use of the EGW system (involving layering different qualities of soil with a layer of rocks—see http://www.suncountrygardens.com/ ), and the use of biochar (charcoal infused with nutrients and microbial life—(see people’s experiences with this method here ), to name a few.
Studies have been made on how quickly plants can absorb nutrients. By using radio-active tagged phosphorus and potassium to view the uptake and transport of ions, a notable plant researcher Dr. H.B. Tukey found plant nutrients moved at the rate of about one foot per hour to all parts of the plant. But he also discovered that though uptake by roots is about 10% efficient, leaf efficiency can be as high as 95%. Thus was born a system dubbed foliar feeding (feeding plants through their leaves), another level of gardening. See this link for more info.
Plants have been shown to also respond to music. Dan Carlson was one of the early pioneers. Testimonials abound with amazing results of feeding plants through their leaves while certain frequencies (from bird songs) are being played. (See more here). Larger, healthier trees, bigger yields, better fruit quality, fewer insects, higher sugar level, earlier maturity, and an extended shelf life are common results.
Lighting also has an effect on plants. Using different colors of shade cloth or exposing plants to special frequencies of light can effect plant growth and response. Of course we all know plants are directly influenced by seasonal timing of light, or exposure. Some, like leafy green vegetables, prefer shady areas, while others, like tomatoes and melons, bask in direct sunlight. Light energy passing through water also seems to have a unique effect as well.
Another level, though rarely touched on in gardening manuals and courses, is the relationship plants have to the gardener’s spiritual health. The Bible makes several observations about this. The ground was cursed by Adam’s sin (Genesis 3:17). All nature groans while the earth’s stewards continue to rebel against God’s authority (Romans 8:22). Yet when people turn to the Lord, and are eager to do His bidding, the land is blessed, as well as the domesticated creatures under his care (Deuteronomy 28:1-13).
Gardening is a system by which man cooperates with Nature and Nature’s God to assist plants in their growth, production, and quality of harvest. It is designed to also illustrate how the heavenly Gardener works with mankind to make us productive and beneficial to those around us.
We have a lot to learn!