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Is Your Soil Alive?

By: Angelia Daugirda

Is Your Soil Alive?

Soil is the foundation of plant life.  When we feed our soil, we ultimately feed almost all life!  That means that we need to be conscious of what we feed our plants!  

Observing your soil is one of the most ancient ways to grasp how ALIVE your soil is.  Signs of healthy soil that is ALIVE… 

  • The Presence of Mycorrhizae!  Have you seen thin white strings of fungi in your soil?  These are mycorrhizae!   These powerhouses act as communicators, feeders and even manufacturers of nutrients.  They are quite amazing! Not to mention, these microcritters’ spores are coated in glomalin, which help soil structure and are storehouses of nutrients. Microcritters are your soil and plant’s best friends.  Glomalin is one of the compounds responsible for that earthy smell of fertile soils.  Mulching and adding compost is an amazing way to keep these tiny powerhouses abundant!  All OPM products contain Beneficial Microorganisms.  What an amazing way to jumpstart this process and bring your soil to life!
  • An Abundance of Earthworms Thriving!  There are more than 6,000 species and they have been the silent workers of the earth for 600 million years.  Described as ‘The Intestines of the Earth’ by Aristotle, a worm digests as much organic matter as half it’s own body weight in 24 hours.  The more organic matter there is to breakdown, the more earthworms will be present.  When you choose organic, non-toxic methods to tend to your garden, you are ensuring that the life below the surface is thriving!
  • Abundant Production!  Healthy soil produces more abundant yields and even tastier, brighter flowers, fruits and veggies.  Low production may be a huge sign that your soil is devoid of essential nutrients that your plants need to thrive.  Starving soil equals starving plants! 
  • Signs of Beneficial Insects On Your Soil Surface!  Keep an eye out for our 6 and 8 legged friends when working in your garden.  Look for spiders, centipedes, pill bugs, earwigs, ground beetles and more.  These friendly bugs keep notso wanted insect populations under control and some even eat decaying organic matter under your plants.  Not all bugs are a bad sign!  Get to know your bugs!  We are huge fans of beneficial insects and those that work hard on the soil surface!
  • Good Soil Structure!  Say what?  Dig about 6 inches deep and grab a handful of your soil.  What does it look like?  Sandy?  Sticky?  Hard as a rock? Crumbly?  Chunky? Soil that is ‘workable’ (not super compacted and hard to dig in) has space for water, nutrients and air to travel.  Without those three, our plants will struggle and it is highly likely that there is very little life in the soil.  No worries!  OPM Soluble Plant Food helps break up compacted soil.  Humic acid, along with introducing Beneficial Microorganisms and feeding your soil over 55+ trace minerals will begin the process of rehabilitating soil that has been compacted, dead, over worked, and even poisoned.  Bring life back into your soil every time to use OPM!
  • Pretty Roots!  Pull up a plant or two and even a seedling, heck, weeding is a great time to study roots.  Are they white and firm?  Mushy and brown?  Stunted?  Long and vibrant?  White roots with fine strands are healthy, a great sign that your soil is draining well and moving nutrients around efficiently.  Brown, mushy roots are a sign of drainage issues, which could mean that your soil is compacted and void of all of the essentials that a happy healthy plant need to grow it’s best.  Short, stunted roots can mean disease or root-eating pests.  It happens, we have been there too, but healthy soil ensures that these moments are the rarity.  When we balance our soil, we balance the good, the bad and the ugly!  Just sayin’, the more beneficials, the more roots, the more drainage, the more nutrients, and the less grubs, bad fungi and bacteria and disease!

Soil is not just 'Dirt' as we have heard for years.  I remember a professor telling us that "Dirt is what you find on the floors in your home!  Soil is what brings us life!"  Dead soil struggles to support life!  Living soil creates a balance of all living and non-living components.  With a lil bit of help, your soil can be ALIVE too!

With a close look and a bit of insight into what lies beneath the surface, you can learn a lot about the health of your soil and how it directly impacts your plants!

 

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