Soil Biology

Online Conference Connects Soil Health to Your Health

Good Nutrition Begins On Farms and In Gardens.  Hipocrates once recognized food as the best medicine.  Of course, it goes without saying that only good food is good medicine. Food that is rich in functional vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals can support healthy body weights, combat cancer, promote sleep, and ensure a strong immune system. Today it seems like everyone is ...

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Biostimulants Boost Plant Growth in Brackish Water

Brackish Water is Toxic To Crop Plants About 97% of the fresh water on the earth is considered too brackish (too salty) for most agricultural use.  Desalination, or purification, is of course possible.  Mechanical desalination processes are widely known. But making desalination cost effective and environmentally friendly can be challenging. The National Acadamies tell us that desalination research is needed.  ...

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When do you Need a Biostimulant?

Healthy Soils Require Amendments It is unrealistic to believe you can keep farming or gardening, and keep taking nutrients out of the soil without putting something back now and then. In the late 20th century, this was done with chemical fertilizers.  No doubt, chemical fertilizers are still used today.  When properly applied,  qualified experts will argue that chemical fertilizers offer ...

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Easy Container Gardens for Growing Food or Testing Innovations

Today’s informed consumers are growing food at home to ensure that what they are consuming is both free of pesticides and rich in nutrients. These growers are quick to learn there are a lot of confusing so-called best practices for gardening, pest management, and soil amendments. No doubt, some of this confusion centers around over-anxious sales people promoting their products. ...

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Spring Gardening In New Mexico

First time gardeners may be tempted to focus on the plants they want to buy, but if you are growing a garden to feed your family, soil health and nutrition comes first.   In Episode 15 of Microbes, Minerals, and Mindsets, horticulture specialist Libby Hamilton shares tips to help New Mexico gardeners succeed growing vegetables at home. Listen to learn about ...

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Can Global Warming Reduce Nutrition?

According to a recent report in Science Advances (summarized in the Vox) increased atmospheric CO2, a key feature in global warming, can result in reduced crop nutrition.  They demonstrated this effect using rice, a staple crop that feeds much of the world.  This would seem threatening, since poor crop nutrition impacts food webs all the way from the soil to the plate.  Human ...

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Why Is Living Soil a Disruptive Innovation?

We know soil is alive.  Why do we treat it like dirt? The first lesson in the first soils class I ever took covered what soil is made of.  We learned soil contains minerals, air, water, organic matter, and “critters”.  Yes.  That’s right.  Critters.  All those little squirmy, wiggly things that live underground.  Bacteria.  Fungi.  Worms.  Insects. Those living things ...

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The Johnson-Su Bioreactor Enriches Beneficial Soil Fungi

Stop Turning Your Compost Composting offers a terrific way to culture native microbes that benefit your soil. However, there is more to a good compost than simply building a pile of manure and yard waste. Proper aeration is important to prevent overheating and to ensure that aerobic bacteria-bacteria that consume oxygen, dominate the mixture.  While there are exceptions to every ...

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Microbial Analysis As a Tool for Second Responders

2017 Will Be Remembered as a Year of Disaster The year of 2017 will no doubt be remembered for its stream of natural disasters.   From the fires in Montana to the hurricanes that struck Houston and Puerto Rico…from the earthquakes in Mexico City to the floods in Peru…we are most cognizant of the disasters striking our hemisphere.  Yet we are ...

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Humic Acids and Lignins: Prebiotics for Soil

Humic Acids and Lignins are like Prebiotics for Soil

Every grower knows beneficial microbes like rhizobia and mycorrhizal fungi can help plants produce strong, resistant, and resilient crops.  Many growers know that having the right microbes in the soil can reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  Far too many growers have fallen for the “bug-in-a-jug,” spending various sums of money on biofertilizers only to see ...

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