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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Soils can look like they are a homogeneous material. But in reality, soil contains solid particles of different sizes and different types. Some of the particles are minerals, and others are organic matter. There are spaces between the particles called pores. These pores may be filled with air or water. Soil is a mixture of … Continue reading What is soil made of?
You may have heard a lot about soil carbon, “storing” carbon in soil, or “carbon markets.” So, let’s look at the relationship between soil and carbon in basic terms. First, carbon. It’s the sixth element on the periodic chart. In nature, only two things are pure carbon: diamonds and graphite. However, carbon can interact with … Continue reading What is “soil carbon”?
If you live in the southeastern United States, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered wild pigs or their damage. They can live along stream beds and dig in fields or along roadsides. In the U.S., wild pigs are an invasive species and don’t have many predators. They can affect water quality, compete with native species … Continue reading How do wild pigs affect riparian systems?
Soils are a finite resource, and only renew over centuries or millennia. Soils provide many “services” to humans, yet it is largely an ignored resource. Some of the services soils provide are: Capturing and cleaning rain and snowfall,Providing structure to grow our food,Holding carbon in the form of organic matter (carbon sequestration), andProviding a home … Continue reading How do soils and humans impact one another?