Introduction to Building Better Soils
What you'll learn
- Understand the relationship between soil health, plant productivity, and nutrition.
- Name the 5 soil components that make up a healthy soil.
- Carry out qualitative, on site assessments of soil texture and structure.
- Identify the 16 classic, and 18 contemporary mineral nutrients recognized as essential for plant health
- Make practical decisions about when to run soil chemistry tests.
- Understand why scarcity of a single nutrient may limit plant growth, even when other nutrients are abundant.
- Reasons for measuring and managing soil cation exchange capacity (CEC) and pH
- Why researchers are exploring soil redox chemistry as an indicator of soil health.
- Basic interest in growing plants (farming, gardening, etc.) or building soil for environmental restoration.
Healthy soils are an important key to clean environments and nutrient dense food production. As such, healthy soils support the sustainability and the profitability of any farm. Healthy soils also support the sustainability, health, and prosperity of any society.
In this course, I will introduce basic principles about how soils work to clean the air and water around us, and to produce nutritious food.
This course targets beginners, and does not dive deeply into the complexity of soil microbiology, chemistry and physics. Rather, I seek to help home and market gardeners, hobby farmers, and growers with minimal scientific training understand those basic parameters they can monitor to ensure their soil is producing healthy crops.
Participants will be shown the 5 key components of soil, and how each component influences overall soil health.
They will learn how to assess soil texture, improve soil structure, and manage soil minerals, organic matter, and microbiology to ensure that soil quality and crop nutrition improve.
I avoid making any but the most general recommendations about additives that can be used to improve or restore soils. Because the course reaches growers in vastly different natural and regulatory environments, it is important to stick to general principles that apply almost anywhere.
Who this course is for:
- Farmers, Gardeners, and other Growers seeking to understand basic soil chemistry, biology, and health principles.
- Farmers, Gardeners, and other Growers who want to optimize soil health in order to reduce the need for synthetic inputs.
- Growers interested in maximizing production.
- Students or entry level agricultural, horticultural, or natural resource professionals.
- Science teachers seeking real life applications for basic soil ecology information.
Dr. Mary Lucero spent more than thirty years as a research professional examining plant and microbial interactions in complex ecosystems.
From this work, she has concluded that microbial communities determine the health of all living systems. They also provide a framework for restoring soil health, crop nutrition, food security, and general health and wellness.
Today she enjoys sharing information that helps people utilize microbial communities to:
-restore nutrition to crops and soils
-build food security
-improve human health
-clean toxic environments
-build sustainable and prosperous communities