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The secret to richer, carbon-capturing soil? Treat your microbes well. Imagine if someone invented machines to suck carbon out of the atmosphere — machines that were absurdly cheap, autonomous, and solar powered, too.

The secret to richer, carbon-capturing soil? Treat your microbes well

Wouldn’t that be great? But we already have these gadgets! They’re called plants. The problem is, plants die. So there’s one hurdle remaining: We have to figure out how to lock away the carbon in dead plants so that it doesn’t just return to the atmosphere. This has left people scratching their heads. Clive Kirkby was one of those government agents urging farmers to leave dead plant residues in their fields.

As he was proselytizing, Kirkby began to bump heads with an agronomist named John Kirkegaard. This made Kirkby crazy. “I’ve been returning the stubble to the ground now for six years, and it’s just not going into the soil,” Kirkegaard told him. Kirkby knew that there must be some mysterious quirk of this topsoil ecosystem that was thwarting him. The idea that drove Kirkby was elegant in its simplicity. Soil. Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids and a myriad of micro- and macro- organisms that can support plant life.


It is a natural body that exists as part of the pedosphere and it performs four important functions: it is a medium for plant growth; it is a means of water storage, supply and purification; it is a modifier of the atmosphere; and it is a habitat for organisms that take part in decomposition and creation of a habitat for other organisms. Soil is considered the "skin of the earth" with interfaces between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.[1] Soil consists of a solid phase (minerals & organic matter) as well as a porous phase that holds gases and water.[2][3][4] Accordingly, soils are often treated as a three-state system.[5] Overview[edit]

Soil. An important factor influencing the productivity of our planet's various ecosystems is the nature of their soils.


Soils are vital for the existence of many forms of life that have evolved on our planet. For example, soils provide vascular plants with a medium for growth and supply these organisms with most of their nutritional requirements. Further, the nutrient status of ecosystem's soils not only limit both plant growth, but also the productivity of consumer type organisms further down the food chain. Figure 1: Most soils contain four basic components: mineral particles, water, air, and organic matter. Organic matter can be further sub-divided into humus, roots, and living organisms.

Soil Structure & Composition. Sunday, 06 June 2010 07:35 The Plant Lady Living Matter Mostly in the top 4" of the soil.

Soil Structure & Composition

Good guys & bad guys...but large volume & diversity control the trouble makers by making it a competive environment for resources. Soil and Health Library. Soilcomposition. How to Assess Soil Composition. The health of garden plants depends on the soil's composition — the proper balance of mineral pieces, organic matter, air, and water.

How to Assess Soil Composition

Knowing the type of soil you have can help you choose techniques to enhance its good qualities. The best garden soil should have proper balance of minerals, water, organic matter, and air. The relative amounts of clay, silt, and sand particles determine your soil texture: Clay particles are microscopic and flat. Silt particles are more angular and larger than clay but still microscopic. 8 Steps for Making Better Garden Soil.

Starting to build a new garden isn’t difficult.

8 Steps for Making Better Garden Soil

Most people begin by going out into their yards with a shovel or garden tiller, digging up the dirt and putting in a few plants. Following the organic and natural methods, add a little mulch or compost, and you’re well on your way to make good soil for your homegrown vegetables. But in the long run, the success of your garden depends on making healthy garden soil. The more you can do to keep your soil healthy, the more productive your garden will be and the higher the quality of your crops. Testing Your Soil pH Without a Kit.

I’m always looking for quick tips to make my gardening chores easier.

Testing Your Soil pH Without a Kit

I ran across a couple of gardening hacks about testing your soil pH without a kit and I thought I would try them out and see what I need to do with my garden. Let’s do a little kitchen chemistry! But first… Why do you care if your soil is alkaline or acidic? Knowing your soil pH is the key to understanding if essential minerals will be available to the roots of your plants. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “if you live in an area with alkaline soil — which has a pH above 7.0 — you have two options. Build Million Dollar Garden Soil - Life Is Just Ducky. It’s not pretty to look at, tasty to eat, or a juicy tidbit to tell our friends, but without it you can kiss the hopes of a great garden goodbye.

Build Million Dollar Garden Soil - Life Is Just Ducky

Building Fertile Soil - Organic Gardening. I Love My 4X4 But...

Building Fertile Soil - Organic Gardening

Cam finds getting around in the country, especially in the winter, so much easier with his 4X4 truck... Soil Amendment, When and What to Add to your Organic Vegetable Garden Q&A workwithnature. Soil Structure & Composition. "Weeds" as Soil Indicators. What Should I Do?

"Weeds" as Soil Indicators

By Phil Williams Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 9:19 AM The types of “weeds” that grow seemingly spontaneously in your garden are telling you valuable information about your soil and microclimate if you care to listen. There are certain “weeds” that appear when the soil has been degraded to rehabilitate the soil back to life, or simply as a protectant cover when we leave the soil bare, and open to the elements. These unappreciated plants do all the hard work to make their home eventually no longer suitable for themselves. Plantain If you have hard compacted soil, expect “weeds” with strong taproots to show up to bust up the compaction. The Importance of Carbon in the Soil. Tolerate drought better. Organic matter acts like a sponge, soaking up extra water and releasing it when needed.

Grow larger and more vigorously. Plants grown in soil with abundant organic matter receive a slow release of nutrients all season. Resist pests and disease. Healthy plants are naturally resistant to pests and disease. Understanding the Soil. Quotes from Understanding the Soil Processes Most of us will agree that the soil is the major natural resource available to mankind. Yet it is and has been abused by us to the point of self destruction. Many past civilizations have perished due to their abuse of the soil (like Mesopotamia and the Mayan civilization). Why didn't anyone stop the destruction? The soil destruction process takes time and the changes in each generation are "small" so no one cared-and most of us still don't. The soil in which we plant crops today has been self perpetuating for millions of years without man's help.

Types of humus in soils. Humus occurs in soils in many types, differentates in regard to morphology and fractional composition. Your Garden’s Soil pH Matters - Organic Gardening. Właściwości gleby - jak zbadać glebę w ogrodzie. Właściwości gleby w naszych ogrodach są jednym z najważniejszych czynników decydujących o możliwości powodzenia uprawy. W zależności od naszych potrzeb, a raczej od potrzeb roślin które chcemy uprawiać, możemy wpływać na jakość i żyzność gleby w naszym ogrodzie, m. in. stosując odpowiednie nawozy i metody uprawy. Zobacz jak zbadać glebę w ogrodzie aby ocenić jej właściwości i przydatność do uprawy roślin, a nastęnie dobrać odpowiednie metody uprawy i nawożenia.