The biological terrain refers to the balance of microbial life, vermiculture (worms), pH, and active nutrients within a soil (or a human body for that matter), along with levels of pollution orcleanliness.
Soil composition, which is a more narrowed definition of the terrain, referring to the balance of humus matter, clay, sand, earthen minerals, and othercomponents essential to the growth of plants.
Depth of soft humus-rich soil before hitting a clay or granite-type hardpan is another component affecting soil health by limiting or lengthening the ability of roots to reach the greater depths for nutrient access.Observations from our 2010 Garden Experiment
Here is an example of a sunflower grown in soil that contains a moderate amount of biological additives, a mixture of poor soil and beneficial mineral/nutrient additives, and a shallow humus soil depth (less than 8 inches) before hitting a decomposed granite base. Even though this sunflower sprouted long before the one pictured above, it is just now beginning to flower. These less than ideal conditions promoted slower plant growth, later blooming and a thinner stalk. Even though the plant is healthy due to the few biological and mineral additives, the shallow humus soil depth and poor original soil composition deterred its development.
Below you see an example in which all three components responsible for soil health, the soil's biological terrain, composition, and humus soil depth, were ignored, being grown in pure decomposed granite (a volunteer from winter bird seed). The shiny object at its base is a quarter. For some reason my camera would look right past the tiny frail flower to the larger background for its focus, so the image is not very crisp, but the point is clear - soil quality matters when it comes to growing quality plants and produce!
Clearly, the biological terrain (bacteria, fungi, worm presence, pH, etc.), the soil composition (mineral/nutrient content, humus/clay/sand, etc), as well as the soft humus depth available for extended root development play significant roles in the growth rate, size and health of a plant.
Many blessings of health and success,
Enjoy the simple gifts from Nature!
Dynamic Gardening Part 1 - Vermicomposting
Worms in Your Soil are the Prime Indicator of Soil Health
Dynamic Gardening Part 2 – Soil Composition
The Importance of the Soil's Biological Terrain, Soil Composition and Humus Soil Depth on Plant Growth
Dynamic Gardening Part 3 – Build Your Soil
How to Build Your Soil for Maximum Plant Health & Production
Dynamic Gardening Part 4 – Worm Castings
Worm Castings & Red Wrigglers – Your Garden's Best Friends
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