Friday, August 30, 2013

Breaking Hard Soil with Fermentation

Natural Soil Improvement and Recovery

The food scraps that you throw away after dinner could be the secret to restoring life in your dry, cracked and seemingly inhospitable soil. Through food waste composting, an organic gardener or farmer can break up tough ground, encourage active soil life, increase air flow and revitalize the nutrient content of soil long thought to be a lost cause.



Fermented food waste reintroduces organic matter to your garden or farmland, making it one of the most simple and economical methods of soil improvement. While your hard soil may have difficulty retaining soil, food waste can make up for this shortcoming. Most plant roots make their home in the top six inches of soil, and will thrive once a generous covering of organic matter is added to the ground. The moisture retention of the food waste and the eventual growth of deeper roots will become two of the most important factors in breaking up your hard soil.

More importantly, fermented food wastes provide a haven for microbes that your soil may currently be missing. Is your hard soil made up mostly of clay? Even better. The small particles that make up clay soil provide enormous surface area for soil microbes to occupy. Once introduced to the tough ground by fermented organic matter, soil microbes begin digesting some of the minerals there and converting them into nutrients that boost plant growth, weakening the soil’s resolve. Their excretions bind soil aggregates together, loosening their composition and increasing aeration. Other soil life, such as worms and beneficial nematodes, can be introduced once the moisture, roots and microbes have begun their work, creating larger channels for aeration and converting even more of your forbidding soil into life-giving nutrients.

Much of the dead, tough soil in our country once supported plant life. Harsh pesticides, irresponsible irrigation methods, synthetic fertilizers and the death of microbial life has led to barren ground that will not support vegetation without responsible farming and gardening methods. Fortunately, these conditions are reversible. By using fermented food wastes to restore the organic life that artificial chemicals have taken away, you can easily restore your soil and starting growing vigorous healthy plants that will bring pleasure, and maybe food, to your home.

1 comment:

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