Soil Biology

Fungal Rich Compost Supports Vigorous Plant Growth

Fungal superhighways operate underground to decompose minerals and nutrients from soil and deliver them to plants.  For this reason, fungi are powerful, yet too often overlooked additions to plant production.  Many industrial agricultural techniques damage these fungal communities, resulting in less than optimal crop yields, reduced crop nutrition, and increased need for agrochemicals.  As a result, many organic farmers, and even ...

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What Exactly is a Biological Soil Crust?

Soil Crusts are Tiny Communities that Can Help You Build Healthy Soil Did you ever walk out in the desert following a rainstorm?  If so, you may have noticed a thin black or green layer  on the surface of the soil.   Of course. you may have noticed a sprinkling of dry, black powder on the soil surface on a sunny day too, ...

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Growing Organic Blackberries in the Desert Requires an Emphasis on Soil Microbiology

Who says you can’t grow blackberries in the desert?  South of the Organ Mountains, near Vado, New Mexico, soils are characterized by heavy calcium carbonate (aka caliche) deposits on or near the surface.  This caliche becomes sticky when wet, binding together to form an impervious, concrete-like layer that water cannot easily drain through. The natural soil pH is between 8 ...

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