How do soil microbes affect soil health and nutrient availability?

Soil is essential to life. That’s why we hear more every day about the microbes that inhabit soil1. What many don’t realize, however, is that those microbes are related to the emerging field of “soil health.” Microbes also affect how soils are tested in laboratories. This topic has captured the attention of farmers, scientists and … Continue reading How do soil microbes affect soil health and nutrient availability?

What is “Farm to Table” and why is it important?

Before your next meal, think of this short grace: “In back of the bread is the farmer, and in back of the farmer is the mill, and in back of the mill is the wind and the rain and the farmer’s will.” The connection between people and our food is known as Farm to Table. … Continue reading What is “Farm to Table” and why is it important?

Is it true that some medicines come from the soil?

We’re not taking soil pills as medicine! But, it is true that some of our modern medicines have their roots in soils. As explored in a previous Soils Matter post, soil is full of biodiversity. One gram of soil contains 100 Many medicines have their roots in soils. million to 3 billion bacteria and 100,000 … Continue reading Is it true that some medicines come from the soil?

What does soil health have to do with my health?

The nutrients you get from eating vegetables comes from soil! Credit: Mary Beth Adams Healthy humans indeed need healthy soils! Healthy soils grow healthy, nutrient-rich foods. The calcium in your broccoli comes directly from soil. Wheat kernels contain protein that the wheat plant made with nitrogen present in soils. If the soil is deficient in … Continue reading What does soil health have to do with my health?

Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks?

Question: Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks? Answer: People love to be outdoors, and soil is an important contributor to a good outing, whether you are hiking, mountain biking, painting, or just enjoying nature. But humans can have significant impacts on the soil. When … Continue reading Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks?

What’s the connection between sports and soil?

Most of us don’t think much more about soil in connection to sports, other than that we need to wash “dirt” from our clothes. But soil is critically important to a variety of sports – it provides for safe, exciting fun! It’s not just individual sports but thousands of folks enjoy sports more because someone … Continue reading What’s the connection between sports and soil?

Can plants be used to clear toxins from soil?

Question: I've heard of some plants being used to target and remove specific toxins from soil. Is there a list somewhere of the plants that can be used for these purposes? Answer: There are highly specialized and exceedingly rare plants that are able to grow on metal-contaminated sites by taking the contaminants up into plant tissues. They … Continue reading Can plants be used to clear toxins from soil?

What happens to toxins in compost and soil?

Question: What happens to toxins in soil? More specifically, when I compost my banana peel, I know there is a small amount of Thiabendazole, Imazalil, Azoxystrobin, Myclobutanil, and probably a half dozen other pesticide/fungicides on it. I have to imagine that these end up in the soil. Photo by szczel (www.flickr.com) Do these things break … Continue reading What happens to toxins in compost and soil?

Do soil bacteria cause produce recalls?

Question: When there is a produce recall, e.g., because of Salmonella on cucumbers or E. coli on tomatoes, do these pathogens come from soil? This is an extremely difficult question to answer, as each food contamination event is unique. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) most food contamination events (91%) are … Continue reading Do soil bacteria cause produce recalls?