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Dynamic Gardening Part 2 – Soil Composition

by Michael King March 15, 2017 3 min read

The Importance of the Biological Terrain, Soil Composition and Humus Soil Depth on Plant Growth

Effects of the Biological Terrain, Soil Composition & Humus Soil Depth on the Development of Plants

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
In this year's garden I found sunflowers to be an excellent gauge of soil health. I learned a great deal about how successful I was at improving my soil's quality from observing how tall the sunflowers got, how many flowers the multi-flower versions produced, how large the seed head of the single flower versions got, and whether or not the sunflower was able to hold up the weight of the flower(s) without falling over (indicating the presence of adequate silica in the soil).

Below are a few pictures which demonstrate the sunflower's ability to visually display the health of your garden soil.

Most of what you will see below are volunteers from a layer of compost/worm bin material added between layers of our new garden soil blend. All three photos below were taken on the same day, and all three sunflowers were volunteers in the garden from either birdseed (the 3rd photo) or last year's sunflowers that were placed into my compost pile (found in the new garden soil).

The first picture is actually our youngest sunflower volunteer (it took us most of the summer to build up our garden soil again, starting from scratch, so volunteers were exposed to the surface soil at different times).

This sunflower is an example of getting it right in all three areas responsible for soil health: biological terrain, soil composition, and humus soil depth (close to 18 inches). The flower reaches 11 feet in the air and holds close to 50 budding flowers throughout its infrastructure (common to the species). The stalk is over 2 inches in diameter revealing the high silica presence in the soil (from Silica Rich Clay and Liquid Gold) and the leaves are broad, shiny and healthy. Destroyer insects are not drawn to a healthy plant grown in deep, nutritious, microbially rich, humus soil.

11footsunflowersep2010

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.

sunflower-moderate-soil-2010r

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!

granite-sunflower-2010 

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!

Related Articles:

Soil-Based Organisms and the Human Microbiata

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

Michael King

Michael King is a Life Enrichment Consultant, a natural intuitive, a researcher of Nature's most powerful healing resources the world over, the author of "Detoxify, Nourish & Build - Three Essentials for Vibrant Health" and the Vital Health News Updates - a periodic newsletter documenting the most life-building natural resources on the planet. Michael is also an advocate of sustainable gardening, environmental responsibility, and an architect of ways to increase global food production.



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