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Time to Celebrate Earth — Dirt!

4/22/2011 9:58:26 AM

Tags: Earth Day, Eliot Coleman, healthy soil, Heidi Hunt

It’s Earth Day 2011. What a great time to celebrate Earth — or more specifically soil — that wonderful multifaceted, life-giving material that nurtures the plants we rely on and, by extension, nurtures our very lives. Without healthy soil there wouldn't be giant organic carrots whose winter sweetness gives candy a run for its money. Without healthy soil we wouldn't have lush grass for cows to feed on, to provide us with rich whole milk and all its possible incarnations. Without healthy soil — well — the world and all in it would be less healthy.

On this 41st Earth Day (and 41st year of Mother Earth News), no one is better qualified to talk about Earth and the food that grows in it than Eliot Coleman — farmer, author and healthy-soil champion. Here’s Eliot’s take on healthy soil from Grist, an environmental news website.

Now — go out and play in the dirt and celebrate Earth Day!


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Post a comment below.

 

Wade Mann
7/20/2011 7:56:23 PM
Can anyone name anything that we use that does not come from planer earth- I have just thought of one- sunshine. Can anyone name any others

Wade Mann
7/6/2011 8:26:48 PM
Australia is about ready to tax carbon production and it has upset a few people in this country as they say it will increase the price of food and petrol and will lead to job losses. With any luck this will not happen, but I myself think that it is a very sad indictment on the human race that we can spend thousands and thousands of trillions of dollars destroying the planet just to keep up our unsustainable lifestyle and we are asked to pay a bit of money to try and fix the planet most of us throw a turn and refuse to do it. Because if we don't start fixing the planet and putting it back into balance we will not have a planet that can sustain life. I always blame the patriarchal society we have had for the last 2000 years. Having male egos running the planet has not worked. We need to go back to a gentler matriarchal society and start nurturing Mother Earth and Stop destroying her. Cheers Wade Mann WE CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT OUR MALE GODS BUT NOT WITHOUT OUR MOTHER EARTH

Wade Mann
6/26/2011 7:04:23 PM
The breakdown of soft tissue organic matter releases lots of nitrogenous nutrients which can put plant growth out of balance and to put it back into balance you have to add carbon. Sources of carbon are wood, such as sawdust, bones, as well as ordinary old hay. Hay releases 75% carbon as it breaks down. Sawdust is good as it releases 2/3 carbon and has got over 60 other nutrients in it. It is a good idea to put carbon into the soil but we have got to keep it there and the best way to keep it there is to produce more humus and soil. The carbon will be retained in the soil because every particle of soil has a micro-organism attached to it and it is these organisms that will keep the carbon and other nutrients in the soil. We can survive without our male Gods but we cannot survive without our Mother Earth. Cheers Wade

Wade Mann
6/22/2011 7:33:16 PM
In regards to our planet earth it is being put out of balance at the moment. We are putting too much carbon into the atmosphere and we are also putting too many nitrogenous nutrients into the soils and water ways. We are supposed to have the carbon in the soil and the nitrogen in the atmosphere. All this excess nitrogen is causing algae growth everywhere and the carbon is causing global warming but it can all be easily fixed. Soil works on 30% nitrogen and 70% carbon but this can change with the temperature as the nitrogen cycle is affected by atmospheric temperature. If it is cold it works slower and if it is hot it works faster. There are lots of sources of nitrogenous nutrients such as soft tissued organic matter, these include grasses, manures and vegetable scraps. So if you have a garden bed with an oversupply of these types of organic matter you will have lots of disease and leaves getting eaten by insects.

Wade Mann
6/1/2011 7:33:21 PM
In regards to soil- it is the medium that retains all nutrients and makes them available for plant uptake. All plants get 94% of their cell building requirements from the atmosphere- this is carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The 6% of nutrients that the plants get from the soil is what determines their health and vigour. Soil is a living organism- every particle of soil has a micro-organism attached to it. In one teaspoon of soil there is over 10 billion micro-organisms. As a soil scientist said back in the 1930's- soils are not soils. Soil is a very complex organism, but if you keep it in balance and allow it to breathe, you can grow any plants such as fruit and vegetables without getting insect attacks and without needing any sprays to keep diseases away. Mother Earth was doing it this way long before man came along and started mucking things up. When I say this to people I am always told that insects rat anything and my reply is if that was the case we would have no vegetation left on the planet.







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