Are Poor Soils Holding You BACK?
My Story - DCG to Rich Soil in Months
Clay = High in Minerals, Excellent at Bonding, Retains Water
Sandy = Well Draining, Easy to Inoculate, Accepts Water Readily
Silty = Easy to Work, Makes Rich & Fertile Soils
Clay - Can Repel Water, Can Resist Aeration & Movement
Sand - Can be Devoid of Organic Matter & Life beyond Pioneer Species, Can be Highly Alkaline, Can Move On its Own
Silt - Can Wash or Blow Away, Easy to Erode, & Easy to Use Up the Nutrient Bank
The Missing Ingredients in all of this are Organic Matter & Soil Life
You can make good soil out of pure sand, silt, or even clay, you just need enough organic matter and the correct biology present. Dr. Elaine Ingham has proven this as have others.
How is it Possible? What can I do?
Grow & Chop & Drop the plants that accumulate the nutrients and biomass that your soil and needs to accomplish the goals you have for that site.
What to Grow?
C4 Grasses for C&OM - Explosive? Carbon Sequestration Kings, Carbon = Organic Matter
Legumes & all Nitrogen Fixers for Nitrogen (& Biomass - cowpeas = high C&N)
Mustard for Phosphorous & Potassium (pioneers = brassicas partner with actinobacteria which acts a lot like fungi)
Daikon Radishes - Aeration, N Scavenge & Release, & Phosphorous
Peas & Fava Beans - Winter cover & N&C
Comfrey - OM - Minerals? More like Protein, Fiber & Mucopolysaccarides which would call in large numbers of soil life in to break down. Duke’s Phytochemical database doesn’t show them as Dynamic as other plants. Every plants accumulates a spectrum of nutrients that fluctuates with its environment and genetic parentage. Comfrey isn’t “bad” but it isn’t what many have made it out to be: it doesn’t have those hyper deep roots and there aren’t more nutrients deeper - most nutrients are found in the top 6-8” of soil.
If you have what looks like good soil color and some organic matter but are lacking minerals like in Missouri, you may find you still are having issues. You may need to bring in a few things. For one, fungi and bacteria in the soil trap and hold minerals and keep them cycling, so make sure your soils have a thriving soil foodweb economy.
Minerals (Kelp, Seaweed, Fish Emulsion - avoid mining minerals)
Machines (Farm-scale Chop & Drop, Planting, & Harvesting, or you may need to rip/keyline the site before you can really affect great change to the soil - you may need swales)
Animals - Animal pressure can dramatically change a site in ways not possible through work with a machine or even by hand. Holistically managed grazing can transform many sites that do not respond well to human interaction.
You could DIY everything with a shovel, seeds, and time. That’s what I did in Central Valley California with 140F soils, DCG granite that was bullet proof, & constant animal pressure. It’s possible.
Depends on your diligence. In areas I compost tea’d, swaled, and mulched heavily, it was months, but in other areas further away from my zone 1 it took a couple years to reach the same level of change.
Start Today: get the right seeds & prep the soil the right way this year!
Grow Abundantly, Learn Daily, & Live Regeneratively,