The Flaming Vegan

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Why Are Monocultures Bad?

Why Are Monocultures Bad?

This type of farming goes against any form of traditional crops and growing food. The main technique is to replant the very same crop species in the very same field, with no other type of plant whatsoever. This is the basis of large-scale farm corporations that have been trying to control our food sources for decades. And, with the quantity of technology used – such as chemical fertilizers – the practice has become common, often usurping organic farming.

However, there are many downsides to this form of plant growing. Reusing the exact same soil, instead of rotating three or four different crops following a pre-determined cycle, can lead to plant pathogens and diseases. They adapt to the soil and attack the crops and the quantity produced eventually decreases. Furthermore, using pesticides and herbicides in the same field can have the same effect – the soil becomes used to it, thus needing other types or stronger insect and weed killers.

Afterwards, the use of these chemical products damages the land by infiltrating itself in the soil and, at times, is dragged by rainwater into the nearest body of water. Depending on where this land and water are located, wildlife that drink from it end up consuming these harsh killers and any life that made the body of water its habitat is affected – at times heavily – by the same products. If this body of water is a lake or river used for a city’s drinking water, then humans know an increase in cancer rates in that area.

With time, the land’s mineral value also begins to decrease. The quantity of food produced is, of course, impacted by this: we can produce less and of lesser quality this way. Eventually, the land will be depleted of all its minerals, and although this can take decades, the damage is irreversible. Even grass will refuse to grow there, and the farm needs to move to another location.

The answer to this craziness is to develop bot organic and permaculture farming, using ancient but tried, tested and true techniques of planting crops. Organic consists of using only natural pesticides and crop rotations, and permaculture tries to mimic the natural environment that these plants typically grew in before human intervention, which means that the plant will grow to its full potential by cultivating it in its preferred environment.

 

Leave a Comment

  1. Daniel Garcia
    Daniel Garcia
    Vote #2. As you know, I'm trying to plant 1000 papaya trees. One of my main problems is what type of pesticide to use. Can you recommend an organic pesticide for papayas?
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    1. SnakeWitch
      Sorry - wouldn't be able to tell you. The farm I was on for a couple of months didn't use pesticides at all, including for their papaya trees and all they did was wait until they fell to the ground on their own. They only had two, and I think it was more for biodiversity's sake then to actually grow them for food or profit (well - they never sold any, anyways). The papayas were always fine, too. I never took the time to study types of pesticides...
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      1. Daniel Garcia
        Daniel Garcia
        Thanks anyway, it's going to be a problem for me, as I've observed them in our existing fully grown papaya trees.
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  2. kristo
    kristo
    voted! strangely enough I attended a portion of a permaculture conference yesterday. I've heard that monocultures are no-good, but this article is eye opening! thank you for sharing this information :)
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    1. SnakeWitch
      You're welcome!
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  3. Veganara
    Veganara
    Voted. Great blog. This was a real eye-opener for me (I must admit, I didn't know what a monoculture was until I read this!) Why do a lot of them not do the traditional crop rotation these days? I don't know much about farming but with crop rotation I think you leave one field "fallow" (i.e. no crops) every year, to give it a chance to rest, as it were, is that right? I suppose with monocultures they don't do that, because they are losing money on crops if they don't use all the available land at all times! They are being very short-sighted though, as they are exhausting the soil this way, as you point out.
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    1. SnakeWitch
      I've read somewhere - don't remember now, unfortunately, because it would've been useful - that the time limit for typical soil is 50 years with this sort of abuse. It is VERY short-sighted when you know this. And yes, the crop rotation is generally with one year to rest, as you say. I forgot to add that in my article!
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  4. Anita Vegana
    We are both speaking of harmful farming, but mine is a lot more controversial: Why Are Illegal Drugs so Harmful For the Environment? Vote if you like my article, please.
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