The Dark Side of Nitrogen

While many of us know the importance of eating healthy food and are quite aware of our carbon ‘foodprint’, we may not understand the basics of soil chemistry, fertilizers and what is involved in growing the food we eat. As a grower for 40 years now, the interaction between soil, fertilizer and water has always held my interest and I often spend extra time in my class on Growing Herbs in Florida, going over this relationship.

Nitrogen, one of the ‘big 3’ in fertilzers, as in 10-10-10 ( N-P-K ), is a key element in the growth of our food crops, however, as agriculture has changed since WW II, natural forms of nitrogen have been replaced with synthetic nitrogen. This doesn’t come without a price.

This series on nitrogen will open up the secrets of what is behind the use of synthetic nitrogen and the true price we pay for that use. A link to these articles will remain in the right sidebar under ‘Fertile Ground’ until the series finishes. Thanks to Ed Brown, a GFF contributor for sending this article my way.