One of Acres U.S.A.’s top free resources online today is www.EcoFarmingDaily.com. This website features articles from Acres U.S.A. magazine, books and experts on all topics related to conducting agricultural practices in an economical and ecological manner.
We looked through the website data so far in 2021 to pull out the Top 5 most popular articles on soil health, and have gathered them here for your convenience. Bookmark this page, share it with others, and use it as a jumping off point for furthering your soil health education. Here we go!
1 – Humic Acid: The Science of Humus and How it Benefits Soil
By Michael Martin Meléndrez
Humic acid is a group of molecules that bind to, and help plant roots receive, water and nutrients. High humic acid levels can dramatically increase yields. Humic acid deficiency can prevent farmers and gardeners from growing crops with optimum nutrition. Conventional wisdom today ignores humic acids, though, holding that it is impossible to grow and maintain an urban landscape such as a park, golf course, or lawn without high-analysis NPK fertilizers.
This article will drill down into the details on humus. We can adjust our soil biology and chemistry and achieve better yields if we understand its characteristics. Continue reading here.
2 – Soil Fertility: 16 Methods to Understand
By Hugh Lovel
Soil fertility and sustainable agriculture practitioners know that most soils today need their health and vitality rebuilt. In times past, nature built healthy, vital soils, and there is value in copying nature in rebuilding soil health. However, we cannot afford to take millions of years to do so as nature did — we need intelligent intervention. Cultivation, grazing, composting, soil conservation, green manuring, soil testing, soil remineralization, fertilizer priorities, fossil humates, and visual soil assessment all play a role in establishing self-regenerative, self-sufficient, fertile soils.
The biological activities at the basis of self-regenerative soil fertility occur at the surfaces of soil particles where minerals come into contact with water, air, and warmth. It is at these surfaces that biological activities provide nitrogen fixation and silicon release. Continue reading here.
3 – How to Produce Compost on a Large Scale
By Malcolm Beck
When I got into the compost business, it was by accident. I made my living working on the railroad. Our farm was more of a hobby than a necessity, although it was a good place to live and raise our family. Besides the usual farm crops and animals, we raised vegetables, up to 20 acres some years, and did it all organically. Our fertilizer was lots of manure gathered from our and the neighbor’s cow pens. We always kept a few big piles around.
A visiting friend who was a landscaper spied our manure piles and pestered me until I finally sold him some. We loaded it by hand using manure forks. He paid me forty dollars for four yards. I got to looking at that money and thought, Gosh, that was much easier than spreading that manure in the field and plowing, disking, planting, cultivating, irrigating, harvesting, then going to the market and letting someone else dictate the price. Then it struck me,Why don’t I sell compost?
But I soon learned that at that time, few people, including farmers, knew was compost was. Continue reading here.
4 – Humus: What is it and How is it Formed?
By Erhard Hennig
Humus forms as a result of the complicated interplay between inorganic conversions and organic creatures such as microbes, nematodes, and earthworms. Humus formation is carried out in two steps. First, the organic substances and minerals in the soil disintegrate. Next, totally new combinations of these broken-down products develop. This leads to the initial stages of humus.
Humus formation is a biological process. Only 4-12 inches (10-30 centimeters) of humus-containing soil are available in the Earth’s upper crust. This thin layer of earth is all that exists to provide nutrition to all human life. The destiny of mankind depends on these 12 inches! Continue reading here.
5 – Soil Restoration: 5 Core Principles
By Dr. Christine Jones
Soil restoration is the process of improving the structure, microbial life, nutrient density, and overall carbon levels of soil. Many human endeavors — conventional farming chief among them — have depleted the Earth to the extent that nutrient levels in almost every kind of food have fallen by between 10 and 100 percent in the past 70 years. Soil quality can improve dramatically, though, when farmers and gardeners maintain constant ground cover, increase microbe populations, encourage biological diversity, reduce the use of agricultural chemicals, and avoid tillage.
Soil restoration begins with photosynthesis. Continue reading here.
Bonus! 6 – Soil Requirements for Growing Corn
By Dr. Harold Willis
The very most basic thing for growing really good crops is good soil. Soil that is not only high in fertility, but is alive with beneficial organisms.
The ideal soil for growing corn is deep (six or more feet), medium-textured and loose, well-drained, high in water-holding capacity and organic matter, and able to supply all the nutrients the plant needs. Of course, not everyone has the perfect soil, and corn isn’t so fussy that it can’t do well on less than ideal soil. But I will show you how to build up your soil so that you can grow much better corn. Continue reading here.
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