The Apple that Jack Ate – The Nutrient Trail

Part I – Has

This is the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that jack ate 31

This is the tree that grew the apple that Jack ate.
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These are the roots that pulled in the nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that Jack ate 35

This is the mycchorizal fungi that formed the nutrient highway that connected with the roots that pulled in the nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that Jack ate 36

These are the worms and the mushrooms and all the other little critters that added nutrients to the soil that the mycchorizal fungi transported along the nutrient highway that connected with the roots that pulled in the nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that Jack ate 37

This is the organic matter* that the worms  and the mushrooms and all the other little critters fed on before they added nutrients to the soil that the mycchorizal fungi transported along the nutrient highway that connected with the roots that pulled in the nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
*Compost, leaf litter, kitchen scraps, etc.
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This is the farmer that added organic matter to the garden that the worms  and the mushrooms and all the other little critters fed on, who then added nutrients to the soil that the mycchorizal fungi transported along the nutrient highway that connected with the roots that pulled in the nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that Jack ate 39

Part II – Has Not

This is the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that jack ate 31

This is the tree that grew the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that jack ate 34

These are the roots that couldn’t find any nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that Jack ate 35

This is the soil where neither mycchorizal fungi, worms, mushrooms, nor other little critters didn’t live, which didn’t connect with the roots, which couldn’t find any nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
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This is where the organic matter should be (but isn’t) that doesn’t feed the worms that don’t live here where the mycchorizal fungi no longer live, which didn’t connect with the roots, which couldn’t find any nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that Jack ate 41

This is the farmer that tills his soil and doesn’t add organic matter to the soil and allows the soil to leach away more and more each year because he doesn’t cover it and protect it with mulch, and the soil becomes hard and depleted of nutrients, where the worms and mushrooms and all the other little critters don’t live, where the mycchorizal fungi no longer live, which didn’t connect with the roots, which couldn’t find any nutrients to give to the tree to put into the apple that Jack ate.
the apple that Jack ate 42

The Nutrient Trail

I got my degree in Dietetics. I learned all sorts of stuff about nutrient chemistry, food science & chemistry, the workings of the digestive system, nutrient absorption, the body’s nutrient needs, etc. But I didn’t take a single class on where those nutrients come from.

Huge oversight, in my opinion.

Until I married my husband, who has a degree in plant science, and we became serious gardeners, I didn’t really think about the soil nutrients that ultimately make it into our food… or not.

Plant will add as many nutrients to their leaves, flowers, and fruit as they can. But if they’re grown in poor soil, and the nutrients aren’t there to be gotten, they’re not going to magically appear in your food.

You can still grow a carrot, an apple tree, potatoes, corn, etc. in poor soil. There will likely still be some nutrients there. But not much. And unless you add compost and other organic matter to the soil each year, and start building up the soil, your soil will only become poorer and poorer.

Want to know more? Watch this fabulous film:

Back to Eden

Picture credits: Jack, Apple, Tree, Mycchorizal Fungi, Compost, Farmer, Dry Soil

Summary
Article Name
The Nutrient Trail - The Apple that Jack Ate (a story)
Author
Description
Plant will add as many nutrients to their leaves, flowers, and fruit as they can. But if they're grown in poor soil, and the nutrients aren't there to be gotten, they're not going to magically appear in your food.
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About Anni

I'm a wife and homeschooling mom. I love gardening, studying (yes, really), going on walks, listening to audio books, hiking, cooking, and reading. And I'm passionate about nutrition (I got my BS in Dietetics at university).

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5 Responses to The Apple that Jack Ate – The Nutrient Trail

  1. Benny Roberson April 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    The movie “Back to Eden” was the highlight of my day. I am a backyard gardener [about 40' x 30']. I live in Northwest Arkansas. I have potatoes up about 6 inches high and have wheat straw mulching them, a first for me. I plan on mulching my garden with wood chips and other compost starting immediately. I have been gardening somewhat all of my life on small scale, now 69 years old.
    This has to be the best I have ever seen, read or been told of. Thank you so much for the video.

    bigben

    • Anni April 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      I’m glad it was useful. :) We learned a lot.

  2. Mandy Lee @ Fostering Nutritioin April 29, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    This is awesome! What a terrific visual. My children loved it. We also are learning to garden and the fruit of our labor is continent on how well we treat the soil. Thank you for this perfect set-up for children to understand. Oh and the movie I actually own. It is a brilliant idea…just don’t use pine tree chips like we did for the first garden:-) It’s too acidic.

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