CT NOFA's Organic Advocate
By Bill Duesing
The more we understand about soil, the more important how we treat it becomes.
New understanding and recent research point the way to more fertile soil, healthier crops and healthier people, as well as to a strategy to slow down climate change and adapt to the increasing deluges and droughts it brings. This knowledge may even help us produce better flavor in our crops - a more distinctive terroir or sense of place1.
The focus of this latest research is the rhizosphere, the incredibly active zone around plant roots that is filled with carbon-rich substances given off by roots and with the innumerable organisms - bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes and arthropods - attracted by those substances and organisms.
The best advice for obtaining these benefits: Disturb the soil as little as possible and keep it covered with a diversity of growing plants.