The Living Soil is Your Most Valuable Resource

Living soil? Is soil really a living thing? Well there are certainly times when it seems to have a mind of its own. It is certainly a complex and dynamic ecosystem - every bit as bio-massive and bio-diverse as any rainforest or reef, just invisible to our eyes!

Many textbooks talk about soil as a "Medium for Plant Growth". This view is certainly correct, but is this really all there is (or all we need to consider). If our objective is to achieve sustainable farming and organic soil enhancement, then we should be prepared to deal with things like the ecological succession of the food web in your living soil and take more of an agroecology-style approach to farming.

As your personal Dirt Doctor, it is my job to help you improve your understanding of organic soil enhancement; show you how to use tools like fish emulsion and superior livestock management to better manage the agroecology of your farm. Doing this will also help you combat global warming through more sustainable agriculture.

From a Global perspective, the living soil is one of the Earth's secondary Life Support Systems. Worldwide there is more Carbon held in soil than in Fossil Fuels. There are even some estimates suggesting there may even be more Soil Carbon than Mineral Carbon (fossil fuels, limestone, chalk, etc.)

The Living Soil is also a vital part of the Global Water Cycle that helps regulate the climate; as well as being a processor for all mineral nutrients that cycle through the biosphere.

Most farming activities (if not carefully managed) can result in a net loss of Soil Carbon. Given the size of the Global Carbon Pool, it has been suggested that only a small percentage loss (Globally) could add more CO2 to the atmosphere than all fossil fuels combined. This is especially true when considering that a warmer and drier climate will itself result in a loss of soil Carbon.

The problem we face is that the process of improving soil function will naturally lead to a progressive decrease in farm input spending - something that commercial interests cannot afford to promote.

As a dirtdoctor (Agronomist) with more than 30 years experience in all aspects of farming, I am especially dedicated to those farm enterprises that are most reliant upon superior management of the living soil. If you operate a pasture based farming system, long-term tree or vine crop (nut grove, orchard, vineyard, etc.) or agro-forestry system, you will find plenty of good independent information here.

Also, due to the importance of developing the agroecology and bio-diversity of modern farming systems, those involved with Permaculture and other 'Polyculture' systems will find The-Living-Soil.Com to be a valuable resource.

I also have a real interest in little known crops and the development of new crops from undomesticated wild plants and animals, so just because your ideas seem a bit unconventional that's no reason to be shy, let me know what you are trying to achieve and I will be happy to help.

Over the years I have worked with many unusual enterprises, including Buckwheat, Wasabi, Japanese Ginger (Myoga), Truffles, Capers and Saffron. I have also been involved with more well established (but often still poorly understood) enterprises like Asparagus, Alpacas, free-range egg production, viticulture, Garlic, and so on. So if you have been having trouble finding someone to help with your special project, please let me know.

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