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Seven Billion...And They All Need Food!

So, there are now seven billion humans on our Spaceship Earth, eh?  As with all numbers that large, it's hard to relate but I swear most of them were on the I-15 Freeway when I drove to San Diego a couple days ago.  A few billion more and we may have to go back to actually growing corn to eat.   It's fairly easy to see the pressures that a rapidly-growing planet population are creating, coupled with climate changes that threaten to shift and disrupt agricultural zones.  Toss in concerns about the sustainability of chemically-fertilized soils, depletion of ocean fisheries,...

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Fall - Time To Replenish Gardens

For most northern-climate growers, the season is winding down.   However, what is done to the soil this fall will have a lot to do with how plants perform next spring and summer. I view fall as the most important time of year from a soil-improvement perspective.   In nature, trees shed their leaves and annual grasses die. Over the winter months, all this organic matter decomposes and replenishes the soil for next year's growth. It's recycling on a massive scale, and allows plants to thrive without humans adding fertilizer.   The home gardener or market grower can easily copy...

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If It Ain't Broken...?

Back when I was just a pup in my mid-50's and struggling to get a new soil biology company off the ground, I exhibited at agricultural trade shows up and down the west coast and was invited to be a speaker to several farm groups.   I suppose you could be charitable and call this a valuable learning experience.  I had grown up on a large farm in Oregon's Willamette Valley, so I could speak farmer OK.  I mean, it wasn't like some slick city kid wandering out into a rural environment for the first time.  I even knew that...

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When Adding Spores Makes the Most Sense

Growing plants with an emphasis on soil biology (instead of chemistry) calls for a different perspective.  Instead of the grower attempting to provide all the "food" for plants, the goal is to introduce/develop large populations of soil organisms that are natural plant tenders and feeders.  Then after this is done, it becomes a matter of maintaining conditions that favor those organisms - "tending the little herd" if you will.   Biological methods, essentially advanced organics, require more effort and some patience to set up, but once established those living soils are extremely simple to maintain and highly productive.   Previous...

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Is Great Soil Worth All The Effort?

There's almost always an easier way to do most anything.  Paint an old chair with a brush or use a spray can?  Look up words in a dictionary or just use spell check?  Cook or have a pizza delivered?  Really now, does a homemade pie taste that much different than a perfectly acceptable one from the grocery store?   Does a fresh fish that you have caught yourself taste all that much better than a frozen one - and don't forget to factor in the price per pound for gear, bait, boat rental, travel, etc.? There is always a trade-off between...

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