How are oysters farmed – and what’s the effect on subaqueous soils?

These days, oyster aquaculture is stirring up the conventional definition of agriculture. But exactly how does one grow a crop of oysters? More specifically, how are soils involved in this underwater process? Let’s start by outlining a few key concepts. “Aquaculture” is the farming of aquatic plants and/or animals for food. Oyster aquaculture has a … Continue reading How are oysters farmed – and what’s the effect on subaqueous soils?

What’s being done to restore wetlands?

Wetlands are fun places to get muddy, enjoy the outdoors, and listen for birdsongs. They provide important habitat for wildlife, and for recreation. You’ve likely seen wetlands on the fringes of lakes, on river floodplains, along the coast, and anywhere else where water accumulates on the landscape. Wetlands are found at the intersection of earth/soil … Continue reading What’s being done to restore wetlands?

How are soil microbes affected by fertilizer in soils?

There isn’t a simple answer to this complex question – but my research hopes to shed some light on this important subject. The key to answering this question starts with understanding that all soils, microbes, and fertilizers are unique. Different farms – or even areas within a farm – may have different situations. Interactions between … Continue reading How are soil microbes affected by fertilizer in soils?

Deepwater Horizon: what will the future bring?

Disasters like Deepwater Horizon create long- and short-term effects. Our past two blogs have covered what happened immediately once the crude oil arrived on the shores of the Louisiana wetlands. This blog will look at how those wetlands recovered, and where things stand 10 years later. The good news is walking along the shoreline now, … Continue reading Deepwater Horizon: what will the future bring?

How did Deepwater Horizon’s spill affect the coastal soils and wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico?

April 2020, is the 10th anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We are dedicating this months’ Soils Matter blogs to the topic of the wetlands and soils, how scientists helped determine and solve some related issues – and where the wetlands are in their recovery. British Petroleum’s Deepwater … Continue reading How did Deepwater Horizon’s spill affect the coastal soils and wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico?

Great American Prairies – the most endangered ecosystem on earth?

When people think about endangered or threatened ecosystems, often the Amazon rainforest or the Great Barrier Reef come to mind. And, they are important. There’s another, less well-known yet very important ecosystem that’s endangered – the Great American Prairie. Prairies and grasslands are some of the most endangered (and least talked about) ecosystems on earth. … Continue reading Great American Prairies – the most endangered ecosystem on earth?

Can soil microbes adapt to different climates and regions?

From the equator to the arctic, life forms have adapted to their particular climate and regional conditions. In steamy sub-tropical estuaries, mangrove forests dominate the landscape. They bridge the salt- and fresh-water worlds. In northern Canada and Russia, the evergreen trees of the taiga forest endure incredibly cold winters and long periods of almost complete … Continue reading Can soil microbes adapt to different climates and regions?

What is biofumigation and the connection to soil health?

Back in 2012, while working for Cornell Cooperative Extension, I was facing a conundrum. Much of the east coast had experienced widespread floodwaters in 2011, after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. These storms greatly affected valley farmlands with major flooding. These wet conditions spread a nasty, tenacious soil-borne fungal pathogen that produces a crop … Continue reading What is biofumigation and the connection to soil health?

How much compost is enough for my garden?

Adding compost to a garden is a good idea. But, like most things in life, is it best to do it in moderation? To answer that question, you need to understand what you are adding and why. Compost can help your soil structure and soil health, and make it easier for healthy roots to grow. … Continue reading How much compost is enough for my garden?