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What is Soil?

What is Soil?

Posted by Grange Co-op on 1st Feb 2014

Hands in SoilSoils must be considered as a living system. An interface between soil biology, chemistry, and physics. Healthy soils have billions of microbes per tablespoon. Calcium is the predominate nutrient (Ion-atom) in soil chemistry. Manage the soil chemistry and physics and the biology naturally follows.

Soil is made up of the following categories of matter:

5% Organic Matter

Carbon- Decaying trash-organic matter- made into humic acid by microbes

  • Humus, humic acid (organic complex molecules) proteins, enzymes, vitamins, growth regulators, sugars, and amino acids to name a few
  • Natural chelater, greatly reduces leaching
  • You want all your nitrogen (ammonia) and sulfur in this form
  • You want microbes to feed on organic trash (carbon) and assimilate nutrients such as calcium, phosphate, and metals

45% Rock Minerals

Volcanic in origin - rock minerals

  • Calcium carbonate (lime), calcium phosphate, gypsum, and shells
  • Clay expanding and non-expanding, which microbes find nutrients and produce sugar
  • High ability to keep nutrients from leaching
  • Potassium feldspars - rock dusts
  • This chemistry fraction of the soil is responsible for the beginning of the whole growth process
  • 70-80% of the soil needs to be calcium dominated
  • Want 7 parts calcium to one part magnesium
  • Calcium is the queen and king of nutrients
  • Calcium Carbonate (limestone)
  • Rock Phosphate and bone meal
  • Gypsum

25% - Air

25% - Water

Building healthy soil takes time and inputs. In time erosion will be virtually eliminated. Water needs will be dramatically reduced. Insect and disease problems will be all but eliminated. After your soils are built (healthy) inputs will only be needed in order to maintain fertility. Nitrogen is the number one cause of insect and disease problems.

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