Tag Archives: soil food webs

Episode 3-Keeping Soils Healthy Through the Winter

Are You Tending Your Soil Microbes as Winter Approaches? As the days are getting shorter and the weather’s getting colder, it’s tempting to put your farm or garden soil on the back burner, so to speak, and start thinking about: how to store all the produce you just harvested who to invite over for the holidays or how to get ...

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Understanding Food Webs

Image compares and contrasts food chains and food webs.

What exactly is a food web? Nearly a century ago, the ecologist Charles Elton introduced us to the concept of food chains –linear series of links that shows how food, which provides the environmental currency of nutrients and energy, moves through an ecosystem. No doubt you’ve seen illustrations of food chains.  These often begin with some kind of plant, like ...

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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.  ...

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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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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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On Solar Powered Nitrogen Factories

  Recently, I was invited into a discussion on the potential for “solar powered nitrogen factories”. The dialog dealt with using legumes and grasses as cover crops to increase soil fertility. This is of course, a great strategy which farmers are adopting at large scales. As the cover crops grow, they release sugars that feed soil microbes, nitrogen rich amino ...

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