Soil Structure Aerobic Zone This is the part of the soil that is alive and active with over 1 million microbes in every spoonful. A compaction of 300 - 400 psi is the limit of pressure that a plant feeder root can push through the soil and the limit for beneficial aerobic microbes. Aerobic bacteria (microbes) take Nitrogen out of the air.
Anaerobic Zone Anaerobic soil is usually tight with a compaction greater than 400psi. CO2 (Carbon Dioxide – useful to plants) becomes CO (Carbon Monoxide – which is poisonous). Not much can grow here. Some “weeds” work to remedy this anaerobic zone. For example, Canada Thistle roots can push through soil compacted to 800psi.
Particles Hydrogen (pH): pH is the measure of acidity to alkalinity of a substance on a scale from 1 (acid) to 14 (alkaline). The perfect pH of soil for optimimum growth is 6.4,which coincidentally (or not) is the ideal pH of urine of a healthy human. pH changes throughout the day, the week, and we can drive ourselves crazy trying to montior it. For good soil health, balance the elements and the pH will automatically balance itself. If the soil pH is very high, this generally reflects Potassium (K) and Magnesium (Mg) in excess, a Phospherous (P) deficency, and low sulphur(S). To remedy use gypsum (CaSO4). Don’t use CaCO3. If the soil pH is a bit too high, there is a lack of microbes which are acid producing.
Electrical Conductivity A spark is essential for good plant life. Roots rely on this low level charge (small amounts of salt) to move water in and out of their structure. Bad Sources of Energy:
Over application of fertilizers
Fresh cattle manure
Irrigated water (in some areas)
Areas with high ground water
Pesticides (high to ridiculously high)
Good Sources of Energy:
Water based life (microbes)
The Best Soils in the World are: 1. Volcanic Soils – These soils are freshly recycled / reconditioned material from the Earth. They contain a full spectrum of minerals that range from the major elements – to secondary elements – to trace minerals including rare earth elements - A super source of nutrients to nourish plants. 2. Soils Rich in Calcium – These soils are highly productive. The problem with Calcium though - it is leached out of the soil with percolating water (irrigation and rain). Therefore in areas of higher rainfall, Calcium needs to be managed. 3. Soils Teaming with Life (Microbes) – In the soil, Microbes live off sugar (typically from the plants). They use the energy from sugar to digest the rock minerals, and when they die, these minerals become available to the plants. Soils #2 and #3 are available to everyone! When a soil gets super healthy, the earth worms disappear! Let me explain ........... Earthworms are great soil builders, but once the soil gets to a certain state, microbes are more effective at maintaining and building the soil. The aerobes (aerobic microbes or bacteria) in the soil convert everything possible into protein molecules. This is because they absorb mineral energy and chelate (link) it into their bodies' amino acid structure, just like the human body links mineral energy from food into usable amino acid chelates. As the aerobes feed and function, they deposit excrements and when their life cycle is complete, leave their body parts behind. This activity and cycle:
makes the soil quite gummy since these products have a mucoid texture. This gummy-ness prevents erosion.
are nature's way of preventing plant food from leaching away.
holds nutrients in a useable form for the plants.
When the soil is active (healthy) to the MAX with aerobe activity, they take over the full load of soil building and the earthworms are no longer needed, so simply move on.