Top navigation

Soil Health

vicia-villosa-848658_1920 

Green Manure

by Robert Kourik

You say you want to garden all-naturally, but the closest source of animal manure is many miles away? Then green manuring might be for you. Green manuring is the process of tilling fresh green plants into the soil to help make it drain better and allow it to hold onto more moisture, with an added bonus – the plants, as they decay, act as a readily available fertilizer. Green manuring is also pretty darn close to free fertilizer – discounting the cost of a few seeds and plenty of elbow grease. Learning how the natural cycle of decomposition works means you’ll know exactly what part of the cycle to influence, how to speed up the natural processes, and how to improve the soil in either the short or the long term.

***

Each author appearing herein retains original copyright. Right to reproduce or disseminate all material herein, including to Columbia University Library’s CAUSEWAY Project, is otherwise reserved by ELA. Please contact ELA for permission to reprint.

Mention of products is not intended to constitute endorsement. Opinions expressed in this newsletter article do not necessarily represent those of ELA’s directors, staff, or members. 

Continue Reading
flowers-1174127_1920 

What Is Soil Health?

by Robert Schindelbeck, Aaron Ristow, Kirsten Kurtz, Lindsay Fennell, and Harold van Es

In general, soil health and soil quality are considered synonymous and can be used interchangeably, with one key distinction conceptualized by scientists and practi­tioners over the last decades: soil quality includes both inherent and dynamic quality.

Continue Reading
Header option 

The Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan: Overview & Survey

by Keith Zaltzberg and Jim Newman

In the Fall of 2020, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is scheduled to release the Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan (MA HSAP). This ambitious plan seeks to protect and build the economic and ecological resilience of the Commonwealth through exceptional soil stewardship. The MA HSAP is unique in that it considers all major land use types, including forest, wetland, turf and managed greenspace, highly impervious built landscapes, and agriculture. The Plan will recommend improvements to existing policies and programs, guide land use planning, identify research needs, support land managers in advocating for and adopting best management practices, and work in tandem with the state’s climate resilience goals.

Continue Reading
Paths Need Stepping Stones to Minimize Soil Compaction 

Lighten Up: Avoiding Soil Compaction

by Maureen Sundberg  

In March, crocus pop up from a warm spot in the garden while snow and ice patches still cover the lawn and beds. You’re anxious to get out into the yard, but that melting snow and ice has saturated the soil. Your best course of action? Stop yourself.

Continue Reading
 

Keep Carbon in the Ground

A Scientific Exploration of Climate Change and Soil Health by Dr. Kristen DeAngelis Soils rich in carbon are healthy soils, but climate change and poor management practices threaten to degrade soil carbon stores and in turn, degrade soils. In this article, I’ll present a brief overview of the current scientific understanding of why keeping carbon…

Continue Reading
 

The Art of Lawns at Chanticleer

by Scott Steinfeldt Chanticleer is a public garden located in Wayne, Pennsylvania. It is a garden of pleasure and learning, relaxing yet filled with ideas to take home. As the home of the Rosengartens, Chanticleer was beautiful and green with impressive trees and lawns. Most of the floral and garden development you see today has…

Continue Reading
 

Maintaining and Increasing Carbon in the Managed Landscape

Conference Session Review by Alexis Doshas Garden designs that not only fulfill the desires of the client but also support and maintain optimal soil health translate into improved carbon sequestration and storage. M.L. Altobelli of Greenery in Motion Garden Design has years of experience with sequestering carbon in beautiful gardens and shares what she’s learned…

Continue Reading
 

Practical Tips for Fertilizers and Amendments

Feeding the Soil While Stabilizing and Sequestering Carbon by M.L. Altobelli My goal, always, is to develop healthy soils that can persist beyond the current owner and landscaper – soils that help to maintain diversity at all levels of the living community.  I do want to make clear that I am not a soil scientist…

Continue Reading
 

Book Review: Mycorrhizal Planet

Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility By Michael Phillips Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017 Soil Biology is Nature’s healthcare system. One of man’s greatest mistakes was believing the natural world needed us to create bounty or to heal itself. Michael Phillips shows us that…

Continue Reading
 

The Science of Soil Biology during Drought: ELA Conference Takeaways

Session review by K. Miho Connolly The year 2016 was characterized by precipitation amounts well below average, coupled with record high temperatures. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 54% of the Northeast was in “moderate, severe, or extreme” drought conditions on December 1, 2016, after eight consecutive warmer-than-normal months (NRCC). Despite a slightly wetter than…

Continue Reading
ELA