Is it possible to grow crops without adding water or fertiliser at all? According to French market gardener Marc Mascetti, it is.
Marc Mascetti’s 17-hectare clay soil plot in Marcoussis, France is extremely dry as a result of the drought affecting large parts of Europe. Despite the drought, Mascetti still managed to grow, pumpkins, beans, tomatoes, onions and more, according to this article on the The Connexion website. And he did that without irrigating of fertilising them.
According to Marc Mascetti, the secret is to nourish the crops with the moisture found below the surface-level soil.
He begins preparing the earth in winter, allowing weeds to grow, mixing them with organic waste from his harvest and burying the blend underground to be consumed by worms.
“Microorganisms will transform everything that I buried into fertiliser and moist organic matter, which the plant can use,” he said.
Then, when there is some rainfall, he works to turn over the soil so that the surface moisture is trapped underground.
“We must try to make crops understand that we are not going to give them anything to drink from the surface and force them to form a root system which goes deep underground.”
According to him crops should know how to cope on its own. Instead, they have become lazy. He adds that a vegetable which is not given water will remain small but will be concentrated. “It will be nourishing. It is better to produce little but well than to produce a lot and throw away half of it.”