What is the current research about soil additions to help soil biology?

Improving soil health on farm fields integrates the three types of soil management: physical, chemical, and biological. Physical management includes how farmers use their equipment on fields – tilling, harvesting, etc. Chemical management involves the timing and choice of fertilizers, manure, and other additions. Soil biology is the next frontier being researched for optimizing soil … Continue reading What is the current research about soil additions to help soil biology?

What is a dead zone?

As the name implies, “Dead Zone” is an area with no living beings. When a dead zone occurs within a waterbody, that zone has no aquatic life. Dead zones can be found around the world. They are a problem for coastal waters, bays, and lakes. The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, and is … Continue reading What is a dead zone?

How does soil moisture impact our lives?

Soil moisture is key to understanding the land's surface and all the activities that occur there, both seen and unseen. These include agriculture, hydrology, weather, and human health, to name just a few. But first it is important to understand what soil moisture is. Soil moisture is the available water contained within the matrix of … Continue reading How does soil moisture impact our lives?

What do nutrients do for plants?

If a plant decided to go on a diet, you know, to keep its plant-like figure, what do you think it would choose to be as healthy as possible? It turns out that plants, like humans, rely on essential nutrients to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So, what’s the plant equivalent of a protein … Continue reading What do nutrients do for plants?

What are controlled-release fertilizers?

Many of us who enjoy gardening or grow plants in pots on the balcony use fertilizers that are characterized as “enhanced.” They may have descriptions like “improved nutrient uptake,” “6 months feeding” and “feed and forget.” We use the fertilizer to provide extra nutrients to the plants we grow.  But what makes these products enhanced fertilizers … Continue reading What are controlled-release fertilizers?

How can homeowners recycle grey water?

Here in California – and in many parts of the world – water scarcity is a way of life. Thankfully, most of the water that we use indoors can be safely reused for outdoor irrigation and toilet flushing. This is called grey water. Grey water is used water from sinks, showers and washing machines. It … Continue reading How can homeowners recycle grey water?

What is struvite and how is it used?

Phosphorus is one of the main “ingredients” for healthy plant growth. Plants get phosphorus from the soil. And much of this phosphorus is applied to farm fields in the form of fertilizers. The major current source of phosphorus, which comes from rock, is running out. Plus, it must be mined, and then chemically converted and … Continue reading What is struvite and how is it used?

Why do landslides happen?

A landslide is made of mud and other earth materials that fall down a slope, usually after a period of heavy rain. When buildings or other infrastructure balance on soils that cannot effectively capture and react to precipitation, landslides may occur. The weight of the water and the steep incline push the mud and dirt … Continue reading Why do landslides happen?

What are blue, green, and grey water?

One of the most precious resources on earth is dwindling, and its decline affects the lives of everyone on earth. Its scarcity is costly in economical, biological, and ecological terms. It’s not oil, but a resource even more precious – water. Though we may see water frequently, not all of it is available for animal … Continue reading What are blue, green, and grey water?

Soil formation of the Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site. They are an archipelago of nineteen islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean and are part of Ecuador. The Galápagos are known for theie extreme isolation and unusual animal life, with rare species inhabiting the islands. The soils of the remote Galápagos Islands were not well studied, … Continue reading Soil formation of the Galápagos Islands