Tagged with "Soil health"
The Buzz on Biochar
Biomass charcoal (biochar) has become a soil health buzz word, but what is it exactly? Biochar is a carbon-rich solid material left over when organic matter (like wood, dry leaves or grasses) are burned at an extremely high temperature in the absence of oxygen – a process called pyrolysis.
For use in gardens and landscapes, biochar should be added and mixed with your compost or potting soil before it is applied. The porous surface of biochar provides habitat for beneficial microbes that thrive in compost, protecting them from predation and drying while providing carbon for their energy needs. It also helps to retain soil moisture, minerals and nutrients for plant health and adds structure to sandy soils.
One great feature of biochar is that it remains in soil for hundreds and potentially thousands of years. Go ahead and add some biochar to your compost and soil mixes – it even helps sequester atmospheric carbon, PRFCT all around!
Get the Dirt on Lawns from our Expert
The growing season is finally underway and you can forget endlessly searching Google and YouTube or trying to get the right information out of your garden store associate...
Our PRFCT expert Paul Wagner will be on site at Bridge Gardens every Tuesday from 3-5PM to answer all of your lawn and land care questions and provide sustainable, organic and chemical-free solutions for every landscape need.
From now through October, take advantage of this incredible free resource and learn how to have a beautiful, safe and healthy lawn that supports biodiversity as well as your needs. Let our soil expert guide you in the creation of your own PRFCT personal nature preserve!
36 Mitchell Lane, Bridgehampton NY 11932
This opportunity is brought to you by Perfect Earth Project, Peconic Land Trust and Greener Pastures Organics.
The Living Dead
If dead standing timber it isn't going to fall on your house or car, leave it. In a state of decay, the tree is still a great home for the living, providing shelter to a multitude of wildlife from microbes and fungus to birds of prey. As it slowly disintegrates, it will feed the soil beneath.
Eventually the old tree will just fall over, continue to rot and provide habitat for ground-dwelling creatures. Remember, encouraging biodiversity is part of what makes a PRFCT place: each inhabitant has a role in a nature-based system. Removing biomass from your property is removing the food that your landscape has provided for itself. (And it's better than anything you can buy in the store!)
Maybe you've seen beneficial nematodes for sale at your local organic gardening center. Or heard about nematodes attacking the roots of your neighbor's tomatoes. What's the difference? And what are nematodes, anyway?
Nematodes are round, threadlike organisms that eat organic material—from bad bugs and bacteria to plant roots—in your soil. Like the bacteria in our bodies, soil nematodes can be helpful or harmful, depending on the type and number present. A healthy balance of nematodes is key to the health of your soil's ecosystem.
• Break down soil nutrients so that plants can easily absorb them
• Eat pests like grubs, bad bugs, and fungus
• Harmed by synthetic fertilizers and pesticides
• Eat plant roots
Want to make your soil friendly for beneficial nematodes? Make sure it is well-aerated; nematodes need plenty of space to move around. Kicking the chemical habit and adding compost to increase organic matter will help balance your soil's biology. When your soil biology is healthy, the less-desirable nematodes—and other pests—will be kept in check naturally.
Photo credit: D. Kucharski K. Kucharska / Shutterstock
What is a 3-, 4-, or 5-step lawn program? A series of products labeled 1-3 (or 4 or 5) that are sold to be applied month-by-month throughout the growing season. They are all-in-one mixes designed to treat a range of typical lawn problems. They usually contain synthetic fertilizer combined with synthetic pesticides—various weedkillers, fungicides and insecticides, depending on the month. Some mixes also contain grass seed.
What’s the problem with multi-step programs? Not only are they packed full of the worst kinds of chemicals, but they are treating your lawn for problems you may not even have. Like going to the doctor and getting medication for every known health condition, just in case.
Multi-step programs offer short-term solutions with long-term consequences. The lawn may green up temporarily, but the fertilizer and chemicals will eventually pickle the soil. Excess nitrogen from the fertilizer can leach into nearby water bodies, contributing to algal blooms. And who wants to walk across a lawn covered with chemicals?
Photo credit: Wulf Voss / EyeEm / Getty Images