Microbes and Soil Health

– Healthy soil is the key to high yields, nutrient density, pest reduction, and pH and mineral balance. 
– Healthy soil makes healthy plants. 
– Healthy plants can resist and repel pests.
– Healthy plants can even tolerate 1-3 more degrees of frost than less healthy plants.

I recommend that you test your soil and follow organic recommendations.  See the soil test lab suggestions below.

But remember…applying mineral fertilizers does no good without a healthy soil food web.
You can build a diverse soil microbiome to provide you ecosystem services and save on fertilizer input costs.

Use tools like compost tea, compost, worm compost, commercial inoculants, cover crops, and sprayed nutrients.  How?  By checking out the posts, download free information, watch the video, and buy compost tea and composting worms in the SHOP.

Learn More About Microbes and Soil Health

Test Your Soil

Author Ellen Vande Visse TEST your SOIL 1. Why? To know your soil’s chemistry pH levels (acidity or alkalinity) and adjustments NPK needs (nitrogen, phosphate, potassium) Ca, Mg, and trace element needs Proportional needs, that is, how much of what, or application rates. 2. Avoid expensive guesswork. Too much fertilizer can be as detrimental as too little. You could severely alter your soil’s mineral balances. This will lower yields and attract pests. Imbalances can take years to correct. 3. Where to obtain a soil test: For a conventional NPK and pH analysis, your local Cooperative Extension Service provides more accuracy than a home test kit or a greenhouse test. For a more complete analysis of your soil, including CEC, organic …

Test Your Soil in the Fall

Author Ellen Vande Visse Test your Soil In The Fall Autumn is an Ideal Time Get a jump on spring. Do a soil test in the autumn. September is a great time to find out what nutrients your soil needs for the next growing season. Why? You’ll avoid the usual 2-week wait of spring soil tests. You can use the recommendations to calculate quantities & purchase the soil amendments you’ll need. Ta DA! You have your supplies ready to apply with no delay in the spring. Here’s how to collect a sample. Collect representative samples of your soil from several areas in the garden/field in a clean container. Mix well. Then extract 2 cups and place in a labeled Ziploc …

Soil Testing Services

Author Ellen Vande Visse SOIL TESTING SERVICES Esp. for organic, ecological, & regenerative agriculture Your local Palmer Farm Research Lab, UAF has been closed permanently as of March 2016 ********** The labs listed below are ones I recommend. They specialize in ecological agriculture and holistic soil health. They provide sustainable growers more comprehensive test results and recommendations than the Cooperative Extension Service test did. Cost range is around $45-75; wait time is 1-2 weeks at the most. Once you start testing your soil, I recommend you stick with one lab through the years. Crop Services International, Inc. 29246 Lake St, Marcellus MI 49067 Organic soil tests and consulting, comprehensive list of organic soil amendments, including mycorrhizal products, Bio-dynamic Field Broadcasters, …

7 Keys for Developing Wonderful Soil

Author Ellen Vande Visse 7 Keys for Developing Wonderful Soil While maximizing your farm’s carbon sequestration Sequestration is THE secret for developing highly structured soil. Paul Schneider, Jr. AG-USA Adapted from http://www.ag-usa.net/7keys.php Key 1 – Limit cultivation When soil is tilled, it disrupts all soil life forms, especially mycorrhizal networks. Mycorrhizal networks effectively : Sequester carbon, and Acquire and deliver nutrients to plants. Therefore, no-till or minimum tillage works best. Key 2 – Keep the ground covered When soil is left bare, soil structure declines because soil aggregates break down. Aggregates are soil particles bound together to create air gaps. Without benefits of these aggregates: the amount of organic nitrogen available to the plant is limited microbial growth is hindered …

High Brix Gardens

Author Ellen Vande Visse High Brix Gardens Huh? Whassat? What’s “brix,” anyhow? Brix is a quick scientific measurement of the sugar levels of your vegetables and fruits. Brix is measured by squeezing 2 drops of plant juice on a cigar-sized instrument with a prism. You read a scale that tells you the sugar content. The bigger the brix number, the more plant sugar within. Who cares? You do, for two reasons. First, brix is your mid-summer report card. This is the composite measure of your adeptness at providing your soil and crops what they need for maximum resilience, vitality, pest and disease resistance, trace mineral content, and a healthy balance of macro-nutrients. Second, brix determines whether or not you can …