Humus: A Substance or a Living System?

by Herwig Pommeresche

In this breakthrough work, the independent German-Norwegian explorer of soil life, graduate permaculate designer and graduate engineer Herwig Pommeresche shares his lifetime of research into humus. His entire career has focused on the theory and practice of humus management in gardening and farming. Digging deep into a myriad of little-known research papers, he compares their findings with the usual conventional methods.

He found we have an inadequate understanding of the mechanisms by which plants absorb and process their nutrients. Our conventional model is that plants only get nutrients in the form of water-soluable salts, hence common conventional fertilizers. Fertilization methods in agriculture and horticulture have been based on their model, which the author calls "mineral model", since the mid-nineteenth century. They largely have not been questioned since then despite the problems they cause.

But there are also works by scientists - decades deep research - which have found a completely different form of plant nutrition. Plants can, in simple terms, by "eversion" of their fine root cells take larger food particles and transport it inside the cell. They can also take up large molecules and even entire cells - and this is what's interesting - even in living form, a process known as endocytosis, a phenomenon long known in zoology and microbiology. Too little is known in zoology and microbiology. Too little is known that this is also practiced by higher plants. Understanding plants nutrient uptake and the role of humus in the process will put modern agricultural practice to the test.

Herwig Pommeresche offers an ecologically oriented understanding as a check to the still prevalent chemical-technical agricultural system. He discusses the agrarian cultural achievements of exemplary prehistoric peoples as well as the most important findings of modern biologists and agricultural experts who have done pioneering work in this field.

Copyright 2014, 2017, 2019 softcover, 263 pages

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