By Mike Serant
So simple. Without healthy soil we don’t exist, soil is the foundation of civilization. All Earth life forms, from microbes to humans, are carbon energy beings sharing the same planet, same atmosphere, same water, same gravity, and same energy source. We are all connected. To have true health all parts of life must be in good shape.
No matter who we are – landscape professionals or farmers or gardeners or humans on this shared planet – we must always take care of our home Earth and build good lives for us now and in the future. Primary to this is soil health. Anything we do that degrades the soil ultimately harms us. This is why chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides should never be used. They always contaminate, pollute, destroy soil life and effect us humans directly and indirectly.
Fortunately the Organic movement is strong and growing more powerful every day. Organic foods for example are the hottest trend in America and are growing by 12.5% every year since 2009. There are now millions of us leading by example, teaching others, creating dynamic farms, building the most beautiful of landscapes and connecting on a very personal level with all of creation.
Easy to Go Organic
First recognize that soils and plants have inseparable symbiotic union. Healthy soils will produce healthy plants that yield abundance and beauty. You can’t have healthy plants without healthy soils.
Second, recognize that when we say healthy soils we are referring not only to oxygenated, aerobic soil structure but also to the abundance of beneficial microorganisms (microbes) that should exist in all productive soils. The famous adage ‘Feed the Soil, Feed the Plant’ means that whatever we apply to the soil should feed the soil microbes and the plants too. We want our soils to be teaming with beneficial bacteria, fungi, nematodes, protozoans and micro-arthropods. Through the amazing work of Dr. Elaine Ingham, The Soil Foodweb, started in the mid 1990’s, we now know of the incredible work that the ‘invisible to the naked eye microbes’ do to grow and protect plants.
And we now know that plants give up to 80% of their manufactured photosynthesized food through the root system to directly attract and feed the microbes. The plant feeds the soil microbes and the soil microbes help the plants grow and protect them from diseases, pest insects and weeds. So ‘to the soil do no harm’. This is easily done with Organics and can’t be done with chemicals. Right away we see that only Organics follows Natural Law. By working with Mother Nature rather than against her life becomes much easier, more productive and less expensive. Often we hear people claim that Organics are more expensive than chemicals. That simply is not true. Organics are always less expensive than chemicals. True the cost of Organic fertilizers (food) is more expensive but in just a years’ time Organic operations are 25% or more less costly than chemicals. We get these savings from reduced watering, less plant problems, more nutritious foods, increased safety and reduced liability.
Building Healthy Soils
For a well-managed soil system and therefore productive plants, constantly add organic matter as a food source for microorganisms and to improve soil health and structure. Return crop residues, lawn clippings and add as much Humates, mulch and compost as you can. The minimum benchmark for good soils is Organic Matter at 3%. At that level you have enough energy to sustain a healthy population of microbes. Organic Matter is carbon; carbon is stored sunlight and is the building block of life. Only use quality Organic fertilizers, mulches and composts. There are a lot of deceptive ‘Organic’ products coming into the marketplace because of market growth. Read the labels as you would in buying your own food.
Lastly, if you do nothing else, grow your foods Organically and buy only Organic foods. The amount of nutrition in Organic foods in contrast to chemically raised foods is startling. And with Organic foods you won’t be consuming the nasty chemical pesticides that are causing us so much mental and physical illnesses.
Restoring a healthy soil following hurricanes
When our lawns and gardens have had a traumatic event it’s important to help them recover as quickly as possible. The soil microbes and plants need immediate nutritional boosts to replenish the energy they lost during the high-stress incident. Humates provide several immediate benefits for soil including detoxing the soil, removing excessive salts, draining the soil, feeding the indigenous microbes, and bringing critical oxygen into the soil.
Live Better, Create a Healthier World…Go Organic.
Mike Serant is creator and manufacturer of MicroLife and has dedicated his work career to educating professionals and homeowners alike to the great advantages that only Organics can bring to individual lives and society in general. Mike regularly teaches Organic lawn and garden care throughout the state.