Soil is the foundation for all plant life. One tablespoon of healthy soil contains millions of bacteria, yeasts, molds, fungi, and other microbes.
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Organic matter in the form of compost and mulch feed the soil microbes. It also increases soil porosity, workability and moisture-holding capacity. Increasing your soil organic matter by only 1% can hold more than 20,000 gallons per acre of additional water in the ground. This increased water holding capacity can help your grass, plants or crops survive longer dry spells with less stress.
Composting your food and lawn waste is one way to boost organic matter and life in your soils. Using wood and straw mulch around your trees and shrubs is another way to increase organic matter. While worm castings and compost teas can boost soil life.
Chop & Drop your weeds and mulch plants, that helps too!
See these forward thinking farmers share how taking care of their soil improved animal health, increased profits and resiliency.
Meet Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis - heroes and innovators! These ranchers now know how to regenerate their soils while making their animals healthier and their operations more profitable. They are turning ON their soils, enabling rainwater to sink into the earth rather than run off. And these turned ON soils retain that water, so the ranches are much more resilient in drought. It's an amazing story that has just begun.
It's not just ranchers either. Soil health practices such as cover crops and no-till can result in an economic return of over $100 per acre for corn-soybean farmers!
Storing more organic matter/carbon in the soil can possibly even fight climate change, read more from Civil Eats.
With benefits such as these it's no wonder Soil Health is the next big trend:
A new idea: If we revive the tiny creatures that make dirt healthy, we can bring back the great American topsoil. But farming culture — and government — aren't making it easy.
Soil Health: The Next Big Trend Turf Magazine
Integrating biologicals into your program is smart, simple and cost-effective.
Builders strip topsoil off developments to build roads, driveways and homes, but some fail to return it, said John Swanson, a conservationist at Polk Soil and Water Conservation District. "People are left with a rock-hard, compacted soil that builders roll the sod right on top of. It doesn't absorb water much better than concrete," he said. "Homeowners are left with a yard that's not very healthy." The Des Moines Register
We can do things to fix this such as deep-tine aeration, compost addition and supplemental biologicals. If you are building a new home ask your builder about amending your soil prior to sod or seeding. Also avoid working wet soils and consider stepping stones or pathways on high traffic areas to avoid compaction. More tips can be found on our post about the Good Neighbor Iowa program. Abundant Design can help with any of these and more.
Have a great Fall week!