What is Healthy Soil?
Dirt and soil are NOT the same thing. Dirt is a lifeless mixture of minerals, air, and water. Soil includes minerals and air, as well as animals and other living things, and eventually their waste and/or decaying bodies.
• Is loose, friable, and well-drained
• Is approximately 45% minerals, 25% water, 25% air and 5% organic matter
• Has good structure and texture, plenty of nutrients and a pH between 5.5 and 7.5
• Has large numbers and types of organisms
The living component of soil is referred to as the soil food web and includes microscopic bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa; more complex life forms like nematodes and micro-arthropods, and visible creatures such as earthworms, insects, and small vertebrates.
The main factors that impact the health of the soil are:
Healthy soil has a good combination of all these factors; unhealthy soil has a problem with at least one of them.
What does healthy soil do?
• Cycles nutrients, making them available to plants
• Provides a healthy rooting environment
• Creates habitat for diverse plants, animals, and microbes living in and above the soil
• Minimizes leaching of nutrients into ground and surface water
• Minimizes run-off and erosion
• Maximizes water-holding capacity so water enters the soil and is available for plant growth
• Absorbs and filters excess nutrients, and pollutants so water does not carry contaminants to groundwater or surface water
• Provides a stable foundation for structures
Do you have healthy soil?
There are many indicators of healthy soil:
• Productive, good-looking plants
• Water that penetrates easily
• Soil that is easy to work
To better understand what’s happening beneath your feet, Get to Know Your Soil!
A SOLUTION TO CLIMATE PROBLEMS IS IN OUR SOIL