Healthy Beginnings

Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants = Healthy People

Increasing the health of your garden’s soil can have direct positive impacts on your health.

You wake up in the morning feeling groggy with a sore throat and scratchy eyes. Oh no, you’re coming down with something!

You run to the kitchen grab a big glass of OJ, an assortment of vitamins and even a probiotic. Why do we do all of these things? Because we know vitamins, beneficial bacteria and good nutrition all help humans fight off sickness and be healthy.

Well the same goes for your soil. Healthy soil provides a “buffet” of the food, vitamins and biology that plants need to also be healthy.

The more good nutrients in the soil, the more there are in plants — and with that, the more we humans get as we eat those plants. Not all soils are healthy and they need that same vitamin and probiotic boost to get them feeling good. How do you create healthy soils?

You start with rock powder minerals. In his now-famed book, “Bread From Stones,” Dr. Julius Hensel details a simple experiment in which he ground stone mineral powder and dressed the soil of his garden, which resulted in “new, more vigorous growth” in his vegetables.

Even in the poorest of soils, Hensel was growing healthy, insect- and disease-resistant plants. Nutrient-rich, natural plant growth is possible when there is a balance of minerals available for the plants to consume.

These rock powder minerals need to have a balance of micro and macronutrients, including: calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, boron, sulfur and others. These minerals should be very fine in “grind” so they can be absorbed into the soil.

Direct application of important minerals to unhealthy soil will not automatically bring the soil “back to life.” You must add the “life” along with the nutrition. “Soil life” comes through biology and amazing beneficial microorganisms that break down the minerals and help them become available to the plants.

The best biology out there is a natural humus. We’re not talking about the hummus bean paste you eat with crackers, but rather the resulting organic material of a complete composting process (properly made compost).

Humus is not a mineral; it’s the organic medium that holds all of the minerals in the soil, so your plants can access them. Beyond humus, you can increase the life in the soil by adding other microbe rich materials like worm castings and mycorrhizal fungi.

Worm castings are the definition of pure biology being the end result of the oldest composting process in the world, the stomach of a worm. “Mycorrhizae” are beneficial fungi that set up a network of connections in the soil to efficiently and effectively deliver newly added soil nutrients to the plant root. Both of these biological sources can be added to humus with a buffet of minerals.

Dan Kittredge, founder and executive director of the Bio-nutrient Food Association, also has similar views. He indicates: “Science is discovering the vast similarities between the gut and root microbial communities. Their capacity for symbiosis and harmony or depletion and disease is all based how we approach them. When the soil is full of life-supporting probiotics, the food grown there is your ally in gut health, nutrient absorption, and immune resilience.”

So, let’s increase the health of the soil, because “Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants = Healthy People”!

Please email us at info@fullcircleocompost.com or call 775-267-5305 with any questions.

Craig Witt is a farmer and soil enthusiast who owns Full Circle Soils & Compost, a Minden-based company that has plenty of locations throughout Northern Nevada. Visit fullcirclecompost.com to learn more.