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Soil Health! Tips for achieving living soil.
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Soil Health! Tips for achieving living soil.



Tips For Achieving Soil Health

Soil is a complex system vital to all walks of life, from humans to microorganisms. Without it, living organisms would have no source in which to grow food or raise animals. To truly be greener and more sustainable for the health of our plant, we must focus on soil health.

Achieving healthy, living soil doesn't have to be complicated. Soil health involves a lot of microbiology, chemistry and biology. But a basic knowledge will go along way in creating a soil rich in microbial populations and free from common pathogens.


1. Ditch the Chemicals
Chemical inputs are not only harmful to the living organisms within soil, recent research has also shown the harm on human health when repeatedly exposed. Inputs such as synthetic fertilizers can strip the soil of important nutrients.

Microorganisms form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots that is vital for both of their survival. Plants secret sugars and other waste that feed microorganisms, in return microorganisms cycle nutrients into plant available forms. When synthetic fertilizers are added, plants no longer need the symbiotic relationship they have with microorganisms.

Soil in peak health is teaming with living organisms, the soil works as a self-purifying and self-sustaining ecosystem.

Foliar sprays soil health chemical-free inputs organic gardening teraganix
This results in little need for added inputs including; pesticides, fungicides, or chemical fertilizers. If you must use inputs for pests, be sure to use organic and stick to all-natural ingredients.

2. Organic Matter Brings life
We all know soil needs organic matter, but do you know why and the benefits it provides? Organic matter generally makes up a small portion of soil, with most only containing 1 to 6%. However, organic matter may be the most important part of living soil and effect almost all soil properties.

Organic matter can be split up into living, dead, and very dead material each with its own job within the soil. Living consists of microorganisms, roots, insects, worms and larger animals make up 15% of the total organic matter. The living, being the most important, break down plant residues, manures and the dead/very dead materials.

The dead material is also very important in creating a living soil. Consisting of dead microorganisms, insects, worms and plants this material is easy and quick to decompose and provides the main supply of food to the living. In addition, the dead provides organic chemical compounds that help bind the soil particle together, increasing structure.

Lastly is very dead material. More difficult to decompose, the very dead generally makes up the humus portion of soil. Because of its chemical structure, this material is generally hard for organisms to use. This creates essential nutrient storage that can be slow released to plants. By slowing drainage, decreasing compaction and holding onto plant available nutrients, humus is an important part of organic matter.

Cover crops act as a "green manure" or green compost. Grown to maturity and then returned to the soil, cover plants add all natural nutrients and organic matter. For example, Alfalfa makes for a great cover crop by absorbing N2 from the atmosphere and storing the nitrogen as plant available forms in its root nodules.


3. Use Cover Crops
Many have heard the benefits of cover crops for agricultural farming, but did you know cover plants can also help benefit your home garden. Some of the toughest work in your garden can be accomplished by getting the help of other plants.

Cover crops act as a "green manure" or green compost. Grown to maturity and then returned to the soil, cover plants add all natural nutrients and organic matter. For example, Alfalfa makes for a great cover crop by absorbing N2 from the atmosphere and storing the nitrogen as plant available forms in its root nodules.

Gardens can benefit from cover crops in a variety of ways;

  • Pest Control by attracting predatory insects that eat aphids and other pests.
  • Weed Control by providing little room for weeds to grow
  • Water Control by slowing run off and increasing pore space for infiltration and natural aeration.

4. Tilling is Not Necessary

No-till has become popular in the agriculture and gardening world for many reasons. For one, tilling generally breaks up the soil and decreases the soil structure. This can lead to compaction, poor drainage, or erosion. By practicing continuous no-till you can reduce erosion by 80%.

Second, no-till can improve the microbial health of the soil. Soil microorganisms influence the soil heavily and aid in soil structure. When left to naturally breakdown organic matter in the soil, such as roots, there should be no need to till. In fact research has shown that prolonged tillage can damage microbial population and significantly decrease beneficial enzymes.

5. Ensure Proper Moisture

Moisture is key when it comes to plant growth and soil health. Too little and you're left with dry, compacted soil and stunted plant growth. Too much and water logged soil is a breeding ground for disease. The good news is once you follow the above tips, moisture becomes less of an issue.

Increasing the soil health and structure and focusing on organic matter full of living organisms will allow the moisture content to fall into place. Organisms such as microbes, worms, insects and plant roots mine the soil for nutrients. This creates pores throughout and allows proper infiltration. In addition, all organisms secret some waste that ends up acting as a glue to hold soil particles together. Lastly, organic matter has a higher capacity for holding plant-available water.

Research with growers and TeraGanix have shown water usage can be decreased simply by focusing on soil health and microbial populations.

6. There are Never Enough Microbes
Once you have healthy and living soil, it is important to maintain high microbial populations and continue to provide organic matter and nutrients. Applying EM-1® Microbial Inoculant will increase the populations of yeast, photosynthetic bacteria, and lactic acid bacteria. This will speed up decomposition of organic matter and ensure your plants have plant available nutrients. EM-1® also encourages the growth of local beneficial bacteria to increase populations even further.

EM Bokashi will provide your soil with nutrient-rich fermented rice bran full of antioxidants and minerals. The added Malibu compost provides high-quality organic matter to maintain soil structure and moisture control.

5 Ways Microbes Improve Soil Health

  • Beneficial microorganisms help increase soil fertility by fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere into forms that plants can use. This process of nitrogen fixation improves soil fertility, allowing plants to grow more efficiently.
  • Microorganisms also help break down organic matter, such as dead plants, into simpler forms that plants can more readily absorb. This process of decomposition helps to improve soil structure and increase the availability of nutrients for plants.
  • Beneficial microorganisms also help to protect plants from disease-causing pathogens. Microorganisms produce various chemicals that are toxic too pathogens, helping to suppress disease outbreaks and keep plants healthy.
  • Microorganisms also help to improve soil drainage and aeration by creating cavities in the soil. These cavities allow water and air to move freely through the soil, improving its quality and allowing plants to access more oxygen and water.
  • Beneficial microorganisms also help to reduce soil erosion by binding soil particles together. This increases the soil’s stability, helping to protect it from wind and water erosion.



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