What started out as a little blog about jujube trees has grown and evolved somewhat, and far past its original scope of ‘just’ the tree!
While most posts have not been specifically about the jujube tree, they’ve still been relevant and covered a broad range of topics in botany, soil, water, microbiology, some agricultural chemistry, and most recently, nutrients and toxins. Driven partly, I have to admit, by my own particular interests, but also with the hope that at least some posts stirred interests you may not have known you had, or revealed some unknown fun fact, or which helped you understand your own trees (and gardening) better.
I’d be the first to agree that coverage of these has been disjointed and modular in places. This is definitely a problem when writing about multiple scientific topics across several fields, as this compartmentalised approach in no way reflects the complex nature of the world around us. Yet this approach is also the only way to grasp the fundamentals by which the whole can then be seen.
For example, knowing that air is 78% non-reactive nitrogen is a fundamental concept in atmospheric chemistry. But knowing this doesn’t even begin to understand the nitrogen cycle in any way. Understanding the nitrogen cycle in turn requires knowledge of (different) fundamental concepts from a multitude of other fields such as atmospheric physics, soil chemistry, soil biochemistry, plant biochemistry, and plant physiology. Piecing the nitrogen cycle together didn’t happen overnight!
Understanding any scientific subject in depth requires knowing how to piece all these fundamentals together, just as the nitrogen cycle was pieced together. Even university graduates still need years of experience and exposure to other fields outside their expertise before they can see the greater picture within their own field. (And great science is often done by multidisciplinary teams.)
Writing this blog has also brought home for me that the more I know, the less I really know, as covering one topic simply raises a whole bunch of questions about more. Many professional scientists dedicate their entire careers to learning more and more about less and less as they answer question after question that comes up — and the world is a better place for it when these true experts make it possible for other scientists to join their own dots.
This new From Soil to Fruit — How Does Everything Fit Together? section is my attempt to join all the compartments I’ve written and will write about, into one ‘this is how it works from beginning to end’ guide that hopefully helps people see a greater picture themselves. I’ll begin where I left off, with plant nutrients in the soil, and explore more deeply their interactions with soil and how they become available to plants. From that I’ll explore how roots actually take up these nutrients, and where those nutrients end up, and why. From that, how a plant grows, flowers, and fruits because of these nutrients.
So we’ll be covering plenty of soil science, microbiology, botany, biochemistry and physiology along the way — status quo in other words! Those posts will still be posted into the appropriate categories as already done, it’s just that this particular section will be the ‘how it all fits together’ place.