How to help your soil to be teaming with beneficial soil microbes

Welcome to our March 2017 SoilMatrix Newsletter – the importance of Soil Microbes edition.
This month’s newsletter contains some wonderful surprises that arrived in my email this past week.   I want to share them with you.  The first surprise was a blog written by Donna Balzer,  an award winning television host, speaker, CBC gardening expert, consultant, and journalist.   Donna and I recently had a great discussion about the potential for using biochar as a soil amendment to improve the soil’s ability to retain nutrients and moisture and, moreover, to create a welcoming home for plant friendly microbes and fungi.   Donna’s blog includes a video in which Donna demonstrates how to inoculate your biochar to take maximum advantage of biochar’s ability to carry soil microbes to your soil.  A link to the video in Donna’s blog is available by clicking here.
The second surprise was another blog written by Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture.  In this blog, Rob provides some wonderful resources for learning more about how important it is to encourage beneficial soil microbes to move into our gardens to support plants, trees, flowers, or vegetables, to be healthier and more resilient against diseases and pests.  Click here to go to the Verge Permaculture blog or here to view a video clip included in Rob’s blog were Mike Dorion of Living Soil Solutions provides a detailed discussion on how this can all be accomplished with some basic permaculture methods.
Both of these blogs highlight the importance of the “Soil Food Web” to encourage healthy vibrant and nutritious plants.   The USDA provides a great info graphic to illustrate the various components of a healthy soil.  Notice that “organic matter” is the starting point for bacteria and fungi to thrive.   Biochar is one ingredient that can boost your soil’s organic matter in a way that stimulates these beneficial microbes to thrive.

The Importance of Soil Carbon for Healthy Plants

Spring is surely coming and no doubt you are already looking at seed catalogues and planning your gardening activities for the coming growing season. If you don’t mind me asking… What are your favourite seeds? Hit reply and tell me what you plan to grow this year. I am interested and as a thank you for reaching out to me I will send you a coupon for 50% off on your next BioChar order.  Now on to our topic about soil carbon…

As I mentioned in our first newsletter, biochar plays an important role for soils that have lost organic carbon.   Biochar also helps to maintain the organic carbon at a healthy level between additions of compost. In this newsletter I am sharing three informative links that I think will greatly add to your understanding of soil carbon: a BBC podcast, a vimeo video, and a PDF that provides further information about the benefits of biochar composting and related research references – currently a hot topic in the biochar field.  Continue reading to view these items…

Blending AirTerra SoilMatrix biochar into Memorial University Field Trials.
Read More

A Happy Soil for Happy Gardeners

If you’re anything like me (a soil geek), you are probably already looking at seed catalogues and planning your gardening activities for the coming growing season. I find the months leading up to actually planting a garden go by quickly and it takes self-discipline to stay on track to be ready for those first warm days of spring when the sunshine and soil beckon.

So what are your favourite vegetable seeds to grow in your garden?  Add a comment below and tell me what you plan to grow this year.

If you are with me on planning your garden, I’d like to share some “soil geek” stuff – particularly about how plant roots function in healthy and robust soil. Have a look at the following diagram:

Figure 1. Plant Roots, Nutrients, Moisture, Microbiology, and Soil Matrix Triangular Relationship

Understanding this relationship is important if we hope to create the ideal growing conditions for flowers, lawns, vegetables, and all of the cultivars we are hoping to grow.

Read More

SoilMatrix Garden – Summer 2016

Soil Matrix Garden – July 17, 2016

Probably one of the most rewarding activities on the planet – Gardening.   Throughout the summer of 2016, AirTerra will be featuring the SoilMatrix Garden.  Every two weeks a new photo of the garden will be posted to chart its progress.  The soil for this garden was prepared with a 10% blend of SoilMatrix biochar (by volume) with 90% good garden soil from Eagle Lake.  Blending was accomplished using a ground tarp that was pulled from side to side until the two ingredients were blended evenly (easer to accomplish with two people pulling the tarp).  Items in the foreground were planted from seedlings grown in a small greenhouse.   Items in the rows further away were planted from seed.  For example, Karin is standing beside the peas planted from seedlings, which are now standing 6 feet tall.   The peas planted as seeds are to the left in the second row of plants and they are catching up quickly!

Read More


The SoilMatrix Newsletter

Be among the first to get The SoilMatrix Newsletter

We respect your email privacy