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Soil Health

 

The Soil We Grow In

by Bruce Fulford For most of my first two decades, I grew in rich farm soils in southeastern Pennsylvania. The gently sloping hills and flood plains were potassium rich-soils of weathered rock and clay that had for millennia incorporated organic matter from native vegetation, crop residues and farm animal manures. By the time my brother…

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Feed the Soil; Feed the Plants

by Mike Murray We all have to eat. In a forest, leaves fall and enrich the undisturbed soil. Bacteria and fungi decompose the litter and provide nutrients to the trees. In a residential garden bed that has been turned over, dug up and may not have such good soil to begin with; things might not…

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Start with the Soil

by Steve Phillips As members and supporters of the Ecological Landscape Alliance, we likely have an awareness of the importance of ecology. But do we truly have an understanding of our interdependence on it? We hear the term “regenerative agriculture,” but how does that scale to our everyday lives? As the days of Victory Gardens…

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Soil as a Living System

by Leslie Jones Sauer Soil wears its problems on the surface. Where trampling or high rates of decomposition prevail, the litter layer and topsoil are entirely absent. Until recently, the annual leaf fall in the woodlands of Central Park typically did not accumulate or even persist from one year to the next. With no litter…

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Ground Rules: Soil Health in the Urban Landscape

by Chuck Sherzi, Jr. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nature never hurries….” The same, I might add, holds true for the soil. Since I can remember, I have always been fascinated by soil. It was an interest that motivated me to study plant and soil science at the University of Massachusetts and later on to…

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Mulch Composition and Potential Benefits

by David Ropes What more can be said about the benefits of mulch in the developed landscape? In her wonderful 2007 article “Impacts of Mulches on Landscape Plants and the Environment – A Review,” Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott from the University of Washington lays it all out, citing relevant data from 145 different sources to validate…

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Report from Soil Biology School

by John Rice One of the things I love about winter is that I get to meet with scientists, professors, and researchers and learn more about the ever-changing landscaping world. To use the tools, the microscopes, etc. that they have and to see the microscopic world is just fascinating.

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Eco-Answers from the Pros: Sustainable Soil Mix

I am a landscape designer with a maintenance crew working on Martha’s Vineyard. We are reviewing our Specifications to update to sustainable practice. I have previously specified for soils to be used for backfilling plants and filling perennial beds a mix of Earthlife Compost (3 parts), peat moss (2 parts), and sand (1 part). Is…

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