Have you ever wondered how important ants are for agriculture and soils? They do not get much credit for their contribution towards our planet Earth. Moreover, many people dislike them. Don’t we? We certainly don’t appreciate them in our homes – or on our picnic tables! Imagine a situation where you are in a corn … Continue reading What do ants and soils do for each other?
I’ve heard that soil microbes are living in Antarctica. How can that be?
The polar regions of the globe are often very cold for the most of the year. In the dead of winter, these environments can experience air temperatures well below -50° F! The coldest temperature on record (-128° F) was measured in Antarctica in 1983. Soil with a permafrost layer beginning at 60 cm near the … Continue reading I’ve heard that soil microbes are living in Antarctica. How can that be?
What happens to soil in winter? Does everything die?
Soil is essential to life. One reason is that soil protects plant roots, animals, and microbes from freezing in the winter. As air temperatures drop below 320F (00C), water within the top layers of the soil will eventually freeze. This is commonly known as the frost layer. So, while you think that once the ground … Continue reading What happens to soil in winter? Does everything die?
How can soils help with climate change?
Soil can help with climate change by storing carbon through a process called “carbon sequestration.” However, the amount of carbon soil can store depends on choices made by farmers and other landowners. The choices farmers make—the crops they grow, whether or not they plow (till or no-till), and the amount of fertilizer they use—can influence … Continue reading How can soils help with climate change?
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?
Is it true bacteria live in the soil? Isn’t that bad?
The greatest number of living creatures in soils is those you can’t see with the human eye. Although small, the activity of these organisms is vital for life as we know it. There are more microbes in a handful of soil than there are humans on the earth. Microbes, like bacteria and fungi, depend on … Continue reading Is it true bacteria live in the soil? Isn’t that bad?
What types of animals live in the soil? Why is soil condition important to them?
There are many different types of animals that live in the soil. Soil is a living, dynamic resource. It helps grow food, fiber, and fuel. However, none of these processes can truly be carried out without the help of animals. For example, gophers, turtles, burrowing animals, and insects all live in the soil. Soil condition … Continue reading What types of animals live in the soil? Why is soil condition important to them?
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?
What type of soil is good for a foundation for buildings or houses?
In both cities and the countryside, selection of sites with the best soil is an important engineering decision in the building process. Whether you live in a house, condo, or apartment, your home is connected to the soil. Your school, the building where you work, the stores you shop in—all of them are built on … Continue reading What type of soil is good for a foundation for buildings or houses?
Why do farmers use fertilizers?
A large sprayer applies nitrogen fertilizer to a field. The equipment is assisted by technology that optimizes the application of fertilizer—using it only where needed on the field. This reduces cost to the grower. Photo credit: Bill Raun Soils naturally contain many nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, and potassium. These nutrients allow plants to grow. … Continue reading Why do farmers use fertilizers?