I’m thrilled to share exciting developments at the Living Ground Project Site – the creation of a secret garden soon to be home to 54 versatile plants, thriving globally. As part of my recent mission, I’m diligently digitizing teachings on self-reliance, covering topics like Microbe Compost creation, sustainable gardening, and adding nutritional value to harvested foods.

An invaluable addition is the Live Blood teaching tool, empowering individuals to monitor their health using a simple $100 or $200 microscope. Manuals on health protocols and a comprehensive 650-page book on the 54 herbs are in the works. The first draft is complete, and I’m currently navigating the intricacies of formatting.

This digital treasure trove will become part of Living Ground’s online courses, enriching minds globally. The Project Site serves as a living manifestation of these courses, welcoming apprentices, guests, and tourists to gain hands-on experience. Our goal is to empower individuals to return to their communities, spreading wisdom and knowledge for a brighter, self-reliant future.

The new greenhouse which has just been completed will be the nursery for these 54 plants.   I have also created a card deck that will accompany the sale of any plant.  Collectors cards!    

Here is a sneak peak from The Secret’s of the Garden – Living Ground’s book….

Welcome to a walk-through of a living herbarium, a place that showcases the multifaceted relationships between microbes, humans and plants.

This book is a written version of a real garden in Southern Ecuador. At the heart of Living Ground Project in southern Ecuador, these pages come to life in a secret garden, where plants illustrate the lessons etched in their roots, stalks, leaves and petals.  This book is the written version of this garden. It is intended that plants themselves emerge as orators of this book sharing their untamed wilderness. The emphasis on “Wild” as an identity signals a resistance to domestication and control.  

The herbs planted in this book grow anywhere in the world.  This is narrative where plants and nature are given characters to convey messages about ecology, environmentalism, or the intrinsic value of the natural world.

My name is Leisha.  I intend to show you how each microbe and plant has played a role in nature’s creation, medicine, food, and culture. This written library is more than just a collection of plants; it’s an exhibit of the partnerships between people and the botanical world. I will also share the tenacity of the plants many who are considered weeds and how they have transformed the world around us and continue to be our steadfast allies.

We are Wild, the ones you cannot contain. We have no interest in being in your cultivated gardens. Rather, we eat the sun and cultivate each other, drawing on the life force energy of the dirt. Some years we ourish, creating abundance, and some years we almost fade away. These ever-returning cycles of life generating life are the way of the Wild.”

After delving into the profound wisdom Dr Elaine’s new science on the soil food web, I underwent a transformative awakening that challenged my long-held beliefs as a natural healer.  I came to a profound realization that the paths of natural health and allopathic medicine were actually taking the same approach to health and disease—their common ground being the battle against microbes.     The germ theory!    A

lthough, yes,  using natural substances is better, the outcome and the intentions are the same.   It is a war on microbes, the very essence of all life.  Since a young child, I have been a devoted lover of wild nature. Plants, both medicinal and culinary, have been companions for over 4 decades.   And, I have had culinary, medicinal and vegetable gardens for 4 decades.  The other 3  decades were in Canada were I learned the art of seasonal growing, harvesting and preserving.   Since being in Southern Ecuador, I can grow year round.  Both have had their learning curves and challenges.

Twelve years back, while hitting middle age, I took a leap and moved to the South Andes mountains in Ecuador.    Yes, it was probably a crisis time for me.   While this relocation wasn’t a part of any premeditated plan and could be seen as an impulsive response to a mid-life crisis, it evolved into a journey of discovering how to lead a life based on my own principles, free from dependence on money or societal norms. It was a raw and unromantic experience, yet I embraced this lifestyle for a duration of four years. In Ecuador, the ability to cultivate crops throughout the year doesn’t necessarily translate to easier gardening compared to Canada. I hold the belief that seeds possess an inherent timekeeping mechanism, triggered by environmental factors even in the warm and semi-tropical conditions here. Placing seeds in the soil doesn’t guarantee immediate sprouting; in fact, it might take weeks or even months for them to germinate. While the specic reasons behind this phenomenon remain unclear to me, I am gradually advancing in my comprehension of these intricate cycles.  It is a fascinating learning experience.

Most of my adult life, I have had an insatiable thirst for knowledge that led to delving into the realms of herbalism, ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy.   I don’t think there has been a time in my life when I was not studying about health and healing.  Five years ago, I embarked on a transformative journey with Dr. Elaine Ingham, becoming a certied Consultant and Soil Microbe Lab Technician.    

Humbled by the revelation to stop the war on germs, I rec


 

ognized that my organic gardening practices and approach to natural health were inadvertently aligned with this “germ theory” and its a war mentality. This had a profound impact on my perspective, prompting me to reevaluate my practices and embark on a journey of unlearning, seeking a harmonious coexistence with the living world.

 

In the face of an escalating climate crisis that is daily headline news,  it is obvious humanity stands at a crossroads looking at the destruction we have caused.   Perhaps, at that crossroads, we should start to understand that the micro is the same as the macro.   For me, I am more and more convinced the land beneath our feet is a soilution.

I personally feel we are going down a dark path in human history and we need to step back and consider how nature works and how we can mimic her for restoration.   And, I beleive the answer is in water and microbes.

“Although the surface of our planet is two-thirds water, we call it the Earth. We say we are earthlings, not waterlings. Our blood is closer to seawater than our bones to soil, but that’s no matter. The sea is the cradle we all rocked out of, but it’s to dust that we go. From the time that water invented us, we began to seek out dirt. The further we separate ourselves from the dirt, the further we separate ourselves from ourselves. Alienation is a disease of the unsoiled.”

― Tom Robbins, Another Roadside Attraction

Let’s admit that the traditional approach to land management (intensive agriculture, deforestation, and unsustainable practices) has led to soil degradation and exacerbated climate change.   We have destroyed the micro-life.   We have harmed Nature.  However, a new paradigm is emerging, one that recognizes the soil as a vital ecosystem and harnesses its natural power to mitigate any climate change and restore environmental balance.    We touched on this topic in Dr. Elaine Ingham’s Soil Food Web course but I discovered more when I studied with Didi Pershouse and her s teaching on the Soil Sponge.

Didi, with  Australian microbiologist and climatologist, Walter Jehne are teachers of the Soil Sponge concept and how this affects our water cycles.     In my opinion, this is ONE LARGE transformative shift in our understanding of nature and offers a promising pathway towards a sustainable future.

Reconnecting with the Soil Sponge

What is the soil sponge?   When I asked Wikipedia it added the word carbon: “Soil carbon sponge is porous, well-aggregated soil in good health, better able to absorb and retain water”

Beneath our feet lies a world teeming with life – the soil sponge. This is an intricate ecosystem of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.   These little guys plays a pivotal role in nutrient cycling, water retention, and carbon sequestration. Healthy soil, rich in organic matter and diverse microbial life, acts as a carbon sink, storing carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere as CO2.

The earth is complex and interconnected living organism. The soil beneath our feet as its vital organs. Just as our bodies rely on a delicate balance of microorganisms to function properly, so does the planet’s health depend on the thriving community of microbes that reside within the soil.  Just as the organs of the human body rely on other organs, the same applies in the soils.  We can not separate things.  It is all connected.

These tiny and often invisible creatures play a pivotal role in maintaining the carbon and nitrogen cycles. They act as nature’s recyclers, breaking down organic matter and transforming it into nutrients that plants can use to grow.   It is connected.   Plants, in turn, are the soil’s protectors, forming a verdant canopy that shields the earth from the sun’s hot rays and the relentless erosion of wind and water. Their roots, like tiny anchors, bind the soil particles together, preventing it from being swept away by the elements.

Through a process called transpiration, plants release water vapor into the atmosphere, creating a cooling effect that helps regulate the planet’s temperature. This water vapor eventually condenses into clouds, which then release rain, replenishing the soil’s moisture reserves and supporting the growth of new life.

But the role of microbes extends beyond the soil. High in the expanse of the atmosphere, reside invisible droplets of water known as atmospheric bacteria. These tiny droplets, acting like miniature sponges, absorb and hold water vapor, contributing to cloud formation and precipitation. In essence, these atmospheric bacteria are nature’s cloud seeding agents, playing a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s water cycle. They help ensure that the planet receives the life-sustaining rainfall it needs to support its diverse ecosystems.

As I deepen an understanding about the Soil Sponge, it becomes more and more obvious that a paradigm shift in our relationship with land and microbes is required.   We need too transition from exploitative practices that degrade soil health to regenerative strategies that restore and enhance soil functionality. This approach embraces the soil sponge as a key ally in the fight against climate change.

Microbes: The Heroes of Carbon Sequestration?

Microbial life within the soil sponge plays a critical role in carbon sequestration. Through a process known as decomposition, microorganisms break down organic matter, releasing nutrients essential for plant growth and converting carbon into stable forms that remain stored in the soil. This process not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also improves soil fertility and enhances plant productivity.

The Soil Sponge approach recognizes the symbiotic relationship between soil, plants, and microbes. By promoting healthy soil practices, we foster a thriving microbial community that effectively sequesters carbon and contributes to climate mitigation.

This represents a fundamental shift in our understanding of nature and our role within it. It moves away from the linear, extractive mindset that has dominated agriculture and land management for centuries. Instead, it embraces a regenerative approach that mimics natural processes and promotes long-term sustainability.

Regenerative land management practices, such as  applying and using microbe rich composts, reducing tillage, increasing organic matter inputs, and adopting diverse cover crops, work in harmony with the soil sponge, enhancing its ability to store carbon, regulate water cycles, and support healthy plant growth. These practices not only mitigate climate change but also improve soil health, enhance biodiversity, and increase food production.

The Soil Sponge approach offers a beacon of hope in the face of climate change. It is a observation to the interconnectedness of nature and the profound impact of soil health on the planet’s well-being.

As individuals, we can play a role in this paradigm shift by supporting regenerative agriculture, advocating for sustainable land management practices, and making conscious choices that promote soil health. By embracing the soil sponge as an ally, we can help Nature mitigate climate change, restore ecosystems, and secure a sustainable future for generations to come.    She has already figured it out.

 

 

References:
2 – Explaining how the water vapor greenhouse effect works – https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php?p=14&t=375&&a=19
3 – Walter Jehne – Cooling the Climate Mess with Soil and Water – https://youtu.be/t3rIkYUVq5c?si=HGSoE3O41YLBpBrw 
Articles:

 

Like many places in the world, our local area has experience and rash of crazy and intense fires threatening the living ground of our nature and soil.  Prevention work is important.   

One local solution is to pipe waters from our local national forest, the Podocarpus.   Living Ground feels that the solution to the fires is not to pump more water out of the rivers that are already low enough and barely support the local lands especially in a situation of drought.     This is a temporary fix that mainly addresses areas where there could be a potential fire in the future and in the long term, it will create more problems.

Why not look to Nature and how she works.   This solution is increasing the soil sponge and restoring the soil microbes.

As part of the Soil Food Web educational program, we were inroduced to Didi Pershouse.  Didi Pershouse stands as a prominent advocate and educator pioneering the work that revolves around the concept of the “soil sponge,” 

This concerpt is that healthy soil behaves much like a sponge.  The soil sponge metaphor conveys the following principles without the need for enumeration:

At its core, the soil sponge represents the capacity of well-nurtured soil to mimic the water-absorbing and holding properties of a sponge. It soaks up rainwater and irrigation, storing it within its structure, and gradually releases this moisture to nourish plants during drier periods.   What holds the water?   The microbe aggregates.

The soil sponge’s importance  extends to mitigating the impacts of fire or climate change by reducing the likelihood of both droughts and floods. In periods of drought, the soil sponge provides a reservoir of moisture that helps plants thrive even in arid conditions. During heavy rainfall, it prevents excess water from causing floods and erosion.  Double win!

A thriving soil sponge is synonymous with healthier and more resilient ecosystems. By ensuring a consistent water supply for plants, it promotes their growth and vitality.   This prevents fires.  The soil sponge’s effectiveness hinges on the soil’s organic matter content and the presence of beneficial microorganisms. Soils rich in organic matter and teeming with beneficial microbes exhibit a superior water-holding capacity, thus reinforcing their role as effective sponges.

Increasing the soil sponge means we stop tilling practices for minimal soil disturbance,.  It requires the incorporation of organic matter through microbe rich compost.   It requires cover cropping, and the avoidance of excessive chemical inputs. These practices are central to enhancing soil structure, increasing its water-holding capacity, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of nature.

Here in Ecuador we have rains for half a year and dry season the other  half.   This year the dry season seemed more like a drought.   There are two things that are very important to living soils to prevent fires escpecially in dry season or drought:

  • Increasing rainfall with tree/plant cover – increase biodiversity and biomass.  Yes, this is possible!
  • Keeping the grass greener  and longer due to larger water reserve with the soil sponge – types of grasses are important.

While we often think of plants as passive participants in the water cycle, they actually play an active role in influencing rainfall, thanks to a remarkable partnership with specific bacteria.

On the surface of plants, a unique group of bacteria live. These tiny microorganisms are more than just casual residents; they are major contributors to the complex process of rainfall. The bacteria reside within the stomata of leaves, those microscopic openings that plants use for gas exchange.  As these bacteria thrive in their leafy abode, they multiply. When conditions are right, these bacterial hitchhikers are released into the atmosphere, ready to play a crucial role in the formation of raindrops.   In the upper atmosphere, these bacteria become concentrated, leading to a transformation in raindrop dynamics. By interacting with other particles and moisture in the atmosphere, they aid in the coalescence of smaller water droplets into larger ones. This process results in raindrops growing heavy enough to overcome the force of gravity and fall to the Earth’s surface.

The significance of this microbial contribution to rainfall cannot be overstated. It reminds us that the natural world is a web of interconnected relationships, where even the tiniest beings can have a profound impact on the larger processes that shape our environment. So, the next time you witness a refreshing rain shower, remember to thank not only the clouds but also the microscopic bacteria that made it possible.

Soilution

When soil biodiversity is compromised, as indicated by Living Ground’s findings locally, it can have far-reaching consequences. The health of plants, animals, and even humans depends on the intricate relationships within the soil. Loss of diversity and fungal biomass can lead to soil degradation, reduced agricultural productivity, and increased vulnerability to soil erosion.

Reestablishing the soil microbiome is an essential step in addressing these challenges. Techniques like compost tea and extract applications, cover cropping, and reduced tillage can help restore microbial diversity and fungal biomass.   And, of course, education for our local residents especially about how fire destroys the soil microbes. These approaches not only benefit the soil but also promote healthier plant growth and enhance the overall resilience of ecosystems.

The reason the mountains are drying and fires are raging is multifaceted but it is ultimately a result of the management practices of the land over the last decades or century. The problem is endemic thus so should the solution be.  There are many areas in the world that have much much less rainfall than the Vilcabamba area and they are able to harvest it and make use of it all year long. The fires are not a symptom of a lack of rain; they represent the damage that has been done to the landscape. Bringing more water from outside sources (such as our precious National Podocarpus park) will not solve the problem, only temporarily hide the issue.

Improving soil aggregations

What is soil aggregation ?

Arrangement of primary soil particles (sand, silt, clay) around soil organic matter and through particle associations. This arrangement increases the amount of air space in the soil and offers room to store water.

Soil aggregation is directly related to the soil’s ability to hold water. The soil aggregating of the pastures in the mountains is extremely low and this greatly reduces its ability to capture and hold rainfall. So even if it does rain all that water washes down the hill into the river causing flooding and taking precious minerals with it. By improving soil aggregation we can help infiltrate water, this will help the grass remain greener longer and also provide the rivers with a slow release of water that can last through the dry season.  This is called the soil sponge.   This would help make the most out of each drop of water that we get over time and during the dry season

Encouraging Perennial Grasses

Because of the past cycle of fires the soil on the mountains has been damaged. High temperatures on the surface kill the biology living in the soil surface. This reduced biology encourages annual grasses that dry up in dry season and provide most of the fuel for the fires.    Perennial grasses invest more into the soil then Annual grasses simply because they have a long term strategy. They help improve soil aggregation through feeding the microbes if they are present.  Also, Perennial grasses are generally better and more nutritius feed for animals too.

Alejandro Carillo Chihuahua desert creates his own rain.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANZNt8LXM6o

Fungi in the Soils

Fungi or mushrooms are an integral part of the soils and major contributors to the aggregation of soil. They serve many functions to help against the fire.

Fungi play a major role in the improvement of soil. Their function is to create Macro aggregates.  Mycorrhizal fungi are major partners to plants and offer a host of benefits if they are present in the soil. These benefits include:

  • increased nutrient uptake (especially phosphorus and micro nutrients)
  • protection from diseases of the roots
  • they can provide water to the plant in case of drought.
  • Due to the improved nutrition the plants are more resilient to disease and are also more nutritious to the animals that graze them.

Fungi also provide another benefit to soils. A cubic centimeter of soil can contain as much as 1km of fungal strands. Fungal strands are very strong; some species can be as much as 17x stronger tension strengths than steel. This characteristic will help prevent landslide and erosion of the already thin soils of the mountains.

Water Harvesting

Rain water retention basins on top of mountains to collect water in the rainy season for use in the dry season is another good solution.  This can serve a double purpose to increase the productivity of the grazing grounds in the mountains as well as keep the grass green. 

This an Indian NGO that has a contest every year for villages to create the most water harvesting structures and results have been staggering. In a very short period of time they are able to restore their water cycle and go from deserted landscape to lush and productive agricultural land.

https://readtheshift.com/the-water-cup-%F0%9F%8F%86-how-a-competition-is-solving-indias-water-crisis/

Reforestation incentives
Planting trees at the top of the mountains to help increase soil aggregation increase water retention and provide a source for the rain causing bacteria. However, we also encourage you to watch this video that will challenge the current view of reforestation.    Perhaps we should observe how Nature does it as she has more experience than us humans  https://youtu.be/qW_opcoW8Ts?si=phMjZwcGNSgcZcWD


Conclusion

We believe that the money, effort and time required for any fire restoration project could be better used at restoring the soil and landscape.    Living Ground has the microbes and the ability to be a part of any restoration/rejuvenation project.  Living Ground’s commitment to sustainable landscaping and design extends beyond individual projects. Their work serves as a reminder of the critical importance of nurturing and revitalizing the soil microbiome in our local area and beyond. By doing so, we can contribute to the long-term health of our environment and ensure a more sustainable future for all.

 

 

 

The success of your garden begins with one fundamental factor – its soil and the microbes. This ensures a flourishing garden.  Living Soil Yum is our latest, tested all natural product to help our soils, plants and humans.  It is a mixture of our Microbe Grown Compost Humic and Fulvic Acid, Azolla, Comfrey, Yarrow, and Nettle.   Next to our Microbe Compost, this is your garden’s best companion. It will elevate soil structure, nutrient accessibility, and plant resilience, all contributing to vigorous growth and top-tier, nutrient dense produce.

We are soil geeks and we love the microbes.    During our training with Dr Elaine ingham, she challenged us, the students, to create special recipes to increase biology in our BioComplete (TM) compost piles.  All students embark upon experiments studying and counting the microbes with our microscope.   Our goal is to increase the good guy biology.

Nic and I also are getting to know our Ecuadorian soils, the challenges we all face with soil restoration and we are finding solutions.    From our land, we hand picked precious plants high in mineral and nutrient contet.    We took our best and most diverse Microbe Compost and we made a blend that is amazing. 

We checked it in the microscope and we were pleasantly surprised. PUT CURSOR ON PHOTO FOR EXPLAINATION! 

This amazing blend is a supercharge for your garden’s vitality,!   The ingredients are Microbe Grown Compost Humic and Fulvic Acid, Azolla, Comfrey, Yarrow, and Nettle.   This is a haven for beneficial microbes .  When you add water, the spores and cysts will wake up!   The microbes, btw, are the ones that break down organic matter, releasing nutrients and safeguarding plants from pests and diseases.  Let’s look at the benefits.

Humic and Fulvic Acid

These acids are very complext compounds that science has not yet figured out.  These intricate organic acids form over millions of years through the decomposition of plants and animals. While their precise structure remains a mystery, their crucial role in soil health and plant growth is undeniable.   It is also beneficial for humans too.   It is interesting to note that fulvic and humic acid supplements are not regulated by the FDA, yet!   I suppose they cannot regulate something they can not understand.   That is good news for us!    .   I drink our compost extracts and teas for these acids.  Yes, I do!   I have a microscope to ensure only the good guys are home!

What does these complex molecules do for soils, plants and humans?

For the soil and plants:

  • Helps to transport nutrients into plant cells
  • Improves the soil’s structure and drainage
  • Chelates minerals, making them more available to plants 
  • Increases the water-holding capacity of the soil
  • Helps to detoxify plants from heavy metals and other pollutants
  • Helps to suppress soil-borne diseases 

For Humans:

  • Supports immune system function
  • Promotes detoxification of heavy metals and other toxins
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Enhances nutrient absorption
  • Boosts energy and athletic performance
  • Supports skin health
  • Supports wound healing
  • Supports gut health 

Azolla:   

This nitrogen-fixing fern enriches the soil with crucial nitrogen, supporting plant growth and optimizing water retention. Azolla is a versatile and beneficial soil amendment that can improve soil fertility, crop yields, and pest resistance. It is a rich source of nitrogen, organic matter, and it has been shown to suppress some soil-borne pests and diseases. Azolla is a fern that can also help to improve water quality by providing oxygen to aquatic ecosystems.   

Comfrey:

We comfrey both for its’ benefits for humans (bone knitting) and as a chop and drop in our gardens and pasture.   Comfrey is a nutrient-rich herb, delivering essential elements such as nitrogen, potassium and calcium. 

Yarrow:

Known for its soil structure-enhancing capabilities and deep-reaching roots that break up compacted soil. It also provides valuable nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and calcium.  Yarrow is not native to Ecuador but our stock in the garden is growing happily.  

Nettle: 

Ah, the beautifil and yet dangerous nettle!   She is a favourite on my list of nutritive herbs.    She adds  iron, magnesium, potassium, and silica, reinforcing plant cell walls.

Such an amazing blend!   We are excited!

The Benefits of Our Soil Amendment

Improved Soil Structure
Our soil amendment enriches the soil’s structure by introducing organic matter and beneficial microbes, resulting in better drainage, aeration, and water retention.

Enhanced Nutrient Accessibility
It elevates nutrient availability by unlocking nutrients from organic matter and enhancing the soil’s capacity to hold them. The outcome? Quicker growth, increased yields, and superior-quality produce.

Resistance to Pests and Diseases
Strengthening plants, making them more resilient against pests and diseases, ultimately saving you time and money on treatments.

Promoting Plant Growth and Development
By supplying the essential nutrients and beneficial microbes, it paves the way for robust plant growth.

Applying Our Soil Amendment

To reap the benefits, dissolve 1 tbsp in litre of pure (non-chlorinated) water.   This can then be dilluted once again or give each plant a little drink.    Mix well and apply immediately to your plants and garden.   You can also ncorporate it into your compost pile to expedite and encrish the composting process. For optimal results, use it every few weeks throughout the growing season.   Even better, purchase our Aged Organic Matter (mixto) and blend!

Revitalize Your Garden! 

Boost your garden’s well-being and witness it thrive like never before.

 

 

When contemplating the wondrous process by which plants convert sunlight into sustenance, it’s a reminder of the vast diversity of life.  Much of our world is on fire!   Some is natural and some is not!   It has caused a fear of fire as something we most stop and prevent.   

Sun is fire.    Plants utilize this fire for food.   Basically we can say that plants are fire eaters.   This understanding, transcending our human-centric perspective, touches our hearts more profoundly than our rational minds. The realization that plants and flowers are born from the radiant energy of the sun invokes a deep sense of wonder. It’s in our hearts, not our intellect, that we truly grasp this miracle.

Wildfires are often seen as destructive, but they are also a natural part of many ecosystems. Fire helps to recycle nutrients, control pests, and promote the growth of new plants.

Humans have a long history of using fire, but we have also learned to fear it. We do everything we can to prevent wildfires, even though they are necessary for ecological balance.   Fire can destroy and give birth.    Sometimes, when we interrupt the natural fire cycles of the Earth, we throw the ecosystem out of balance.

Many flowers adapted with fire.  They teach us that it is possible to survive and thrive even after a devastating experience. They remind us that fire is a natural and necessary part of life.   The adaptation of certain flowering plants to thrive in fire-prone environments is nothing short of remarkable. Take, for instance Wild Hollyhock which I am attempting to grow in my garden.   In the wilds, this plant used the heat of fire to trigger its seeds to germinate. These seeds are like memory-keepers, preserving the ancient wisdom of survival in extreme climates. What can we, as humans, learn from these eons of plant-gathered knowledge?

These “fire-following” flowers not only survive but thrive in the aftermath of a fire. The reduction in competition and the release of nutrients from the ashes create fertile ground for their growth. This ability to seize opportunities in the wake of fires is reminiscent of the success story of early flowering plants over 100 million years ago.

After a fire, these dormant “fire-flowers” burst into a riot of colors, symbolizing the resilience of life. They seem to respond to the devastation of the wildfire with a fiery passion of their own, ushering in a new cycle of life in a display of breathtaking beauty.

Other fire-adapted plants, such as fireweed, arnica, fire poppies, and fire lily, also exemplify the tenacity and adaptability of life in the face of fire. Purple Coneflower, known for its strength, becomes even more resilient when it survives a fire. It conveys a message of strength and resilience, reminding us that we are part of this Earth and possess the power to overcome our fears.

The history of angiosperms is intertwined with fire. Angiosperms are flowering plants.   Paleobotanists have unearthed evidence of ancient angiosperms preserved in charcoal residues, showing that fire has played a surprising role in preserving the oldest of flowers. These early angiosperms adapted to reproduce more quickly than their predecessors, enabling them to thrive in newly disturbed environments. They evolved more efficient photosynthesis, transpiration, and growth, which contributed to their dominance.

In the geologic record, a “high-fire world” existed during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, where oxygen levels were higher, temperatures were warmer, and vegetation was abundant, providing ample fuel for fires. This fire-filled world facilitated the evolution and success of flowering plants.

In our culture, wildfires are often seen as destructive forces to be avoided at all costs. However, in nature, fire is one of the four fundamental elements, alongside water, air, and earth. It’s essential for ecological balance and has been a part of our human history for millions of years. We have a symbiotic relationship with fire, whether we realize it or not.

Yet, in modern times, we’ve become increasingly focused on suppressing wildfires, disrupting natural fire cycles, and altering ecosystems. This prompts us to reflect on the consequences of interfering with the natural order. Fire, in its various forms, serves as a cleansing force, removing what is no longer needed and opening space for new life to flourish. Just as the fire-follower flowers recall their origins, we too can learn from these natural processes.

Dr. Chad Hanson is a research ecologist and the director of the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, located in Kennedy Meadows, California. He has studied fire ecology in conifer forest ecosystems for decades, and his work has helped to shed light on the importance of natural fires in these ecosystems.

In his presentation, “Smokescreen: Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save Our Forests and Our Climate,” Dr. Hanson discusses how fear, arrogance, and greed have shaped the way that people view wildfires. He argues that these misconceptions have led to the mismanagement of wildfires, which can have negative impacts on forests and the climate.

Dr. Hanson’s work is closely aligned with the information shared about fire-adapted flowers. Both topics highlight the regenerative power of fire and the need to address misconceptions and misinformation about fire.

The interplay between fire-adapted plants, the ancient wisdom encoded in their seeds, and the role of fire in the evolution of flowering plants is a testament to the intricate dance of life on our planet. Fire, though often perceived as a destructive force, holds within it the potential for rebirth and renewal, a lesson we can all embrace as we navigate the challenges of life. 

Surviving a fire, being reduced to one’s bare essentials, and emerging anew, can be seen as a metaphor for personal growth and transformation. It’s a reminder that, despite the fear and destruction associated with fire, it can also foster new beginnings and offer a fresh perspective on life.

Fire is often seen as a destructive force, but it is also an essential part of many ecosystems. Natural fires help to rejuvenate the landscape, clear out dead and decaying matter, and create opportunities for new growth. This concept is closely related to the discussion about fire-adapted flowers that thrive in post-fire environments.

 

Death is the ultimate mystery, but did you know that our bodies are home to trillions of microscopic friends that help us function during life? These little microbes break down our food, produce vitamins, and keep us free from infection. But here’s where it gets really interesting – after we pass on, these dudes are just getting started!

When our hearts stop pumping, the bacteria dive into action, digesting the body from the inside out. And let’s just say you’ll want to cover your nose!

But there’s more. As our remains decompose, the bacteria and their fluids seep into the soil, mingling with a whole new crew of microbes. It’s a Wild West showdown, but the newcomers win the day. DNA clues show that they thrive outside the human body, turning our mortal remains into the building blocks for new life – including essential nutrients like nitrogen.

So next time you take a walk, take a moment to appreciate the little heroes that keep us weird and wonderful, even after death.

Here is Dr Carlos, a local coffee farmer and year one for this coffee farm!   Dr. Carlos Iñigues is a doctor of Ecohydrology and is the co-owner of Vinka coffee farm in Loja province, Ecuador. We provided soil tests, created a comprehensive soil report, and sold him our unique (microscope tested) microbe-rich compost and compost extracts.  

He rated 89% with the Coffee Association. 91% is considered World Class.

BTW..this was supposed to be a case study. However, when R Carlos saw the results, he stopped the case study to microbe his entire land.
The Living Ground Project provides land, farm and homeower Consultancy Services to revive soil and land.
Microbiology soil testing, microbe-produced compost, extracts and teas. Our upcoming education center that will impart knowledge about microbes and health.  Good soil/terrain is the foundation of all health. We have the knowledge and tools to help you regenerate & transform your land into a food forest, while increasing the nutrition and health of all plants and living organisms.

 

 

This is not just compost!   This is carefully crafted, microscope tested Microbe Compost!    We ensure all the good guys are home!    We do not filter our compost as we care for the good guys!   Many do not understand the difference between our Microbe Compost and regular compost.    I will share that Nic and I studied and perfected this process over 4 years with Dr Elaine Ingham (soilfoodweb.com)     It is a science and an art!   The beautiful thing is a little goes a long way if the “terrain” is healthy.   The “terrain” in soil is the organic matter.   That is why we also create aged and treated organic matter for our clients.    And, here in Ecuador due to our heavy rains and HOT sun, organic matter is important regardless to feed the microbes and protect the soils.   

We do not recommend fresh wood chips.   Fresh wood chips need to be off-gased to remove the “anti” (against) compounds that are in the trees used here for wood planks (pine, eucalyptus, cedar, etc).    Over time Mother Nature will deal with this…but it is like going one step forward and two back.   Fresh wood chips also remove carbon (and nitrogen) in the beginning.   Again, over time it will give it back.   But why go back?    

Compost Care Instruction:
  1. This compost is alive. It is filled with beneficial microorganisms and must be cared for if not used within 3 days.
  2. Keep the compost out of direct sunlight, UV causes damage to micro-life, store Indoors at ambient temperature.
  3. Extreme heat or cold can change the microbial environment. 
  4. Moisture is important to micro-life. Use a spray bottle or mist nozzle and chlorine/chloramine free water to keep this small amount of compost moist. Mist the top as necessary to keep the moisture at a level when the material sticks together in your hand, like chocolate cake would if smashed into a ball.
  5. Overwatering can lead to anaerobic conditions, if you ever feel you have gotten the material too wet, just spread it out a bit and make sure oxygen can get to all parts of the compost. If the material becomes completely dry remoisten slowly to avoid overwatering.
Instructions for a  Compost Extract:
  1. Use a paint strainer bag or compost tea bag add  (2-3lbs) of compost inside the bag and then using a 5-gallon bucket as a vessel for water make the extract by moving the bag of compost around in the water. Agitate the material without smashing or grinding the compost.  We like to gently massage the compost.   You will see the water turn a dark chocolatey color as you extract.   This is fulvic and humic acid – a complex compound that is amazing for health (human and soil)
  2. Apply the extract evenly on the soil around the plants you are focused on.
  3. Application rates can vary greatly depending on the goal. For a very strong extract you can use up to three pound per gallon, for a very light inoculation as little a 20 pounds per acre can be used.
  4. Dilute as necessary for covering the space needed.   
  5. Again, it is imporatant your soil has Organic Matter (OM).   Living Ground provides aged and microbe treated OM for this purpose.    OM is food for the microbes and, here in Ecuador, it is important as a mulch to protect the soils from hot sun and heavy rains.

We are very proud of our Microbe Compost and want to help our clients understand why this is so very important for health of the plants and humans.    Please visit our story to order or contact us!    We are happy to arrange a taxi or pick-up.

And, remember, we also offer soil testing to determine the microbiology in your soil.    We are training our local staff to be able to do this for our community too…which is very exciting!

Soil Squad

 

Most realize that Compost is a mixture of organic materials that have been decomposed by microorganisms. It is a valuable soil amendment that can improve the fertility, structure, and water retention of soil.  Most do not realize the difference between organic compost, obone (manure) and Microbe Compost.  Here we explain the difference and why Microbe Compost is so important….

Microbe compost is made using a science process that encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms.   Our aim is to remove all pathogens and enhance the environment for the benficial organisms.   We liken this to a probiotic!    Just like in the human microbiome, these microorganisms help to break down organic matter more quickly and efficiently than in regular organic compost.    We often say we are not making compost we are farming microbes.   And, we get to determine how our compost is with the microscope.   This is an important tool of our work.

Regular organic compost is made using a more traditional method that does not specifically target the growth of beneficial microorganisms. This type of compost can still be beneficial for plants, but it may not be as effective as microbe compost.   Also, it takes much longer and in the process may be home to many bad guy microbes.

Obono is pure manure and does contain pathogens most of the time.  Manure also is like the chemical fertilizers as it forces plant growth with Nitrogen.    A big beautiful plant may appear that is air, water and nitrogen and little else.

Here are four key differences between microbe compost and regular organic compost:

  1. Microbe compost is like a probiotic. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial for the gut. 
  2. Microbe compost is more potent. Because microbe compost is made using a process that encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms, it contains higher levels of these microorganisms than regular organic compost. This means that microbe compost can have a more immediate and noticeable impact on the health of plants and soil.
  3. Microbe compost is more versatile. Microbe compost can be used for a wider variety of purposes than regular organic compost. It can be used to improve the fertility, structure, and water retention of soil, as well as to suppress plant diseases and pests. Regular organic compost is typically used for improving the fertility and structure of soil.
  4. Microbe compost is more sustainable.  It is mimicking Nature.  It is ensuring life “pro-biotic” literally means “pro life”

Organic Matter OM

In addition to microbe compost and regular organic compost, we also offer specialized Organic Matter.  Our OM is like a Prebiotic.  It feeds the microbes.

Living Grounds OM is a blend of woody materials that is aged and sprayed with microbe extract.   Most wood chips contain “anit-fungals” so the aging process is very imporatant.    Our OMis similar to microbe compost in that it contains beneficial microorganisms, but it is less potent. Organic matter is a good option for improving the structure and water retention of soil, but it is not as effective as microbe compost for improving the fertility of soil.

Which type of compost is right for you?

The best type of compost for you will depend on your specific needs and goals. If you are looking for a compost that is effective, versatile, and sustainable, then microbe compost is a best option. If you are looking for a compost that is less expensive and easier to make, then regular Organic Matter is a good option. And if you are looking for a compost that can help to improve the structure and water retention of soil, then both Microbe Compost and OM is a good option.

It is important to note that organic compost is not always safe. The process of making compost is not always monitored closely, so there is a chance that pathogens could exist in the compost and quite often do.    These pathogens can be harmful to plants and humans. It is important to test compost for pathogens before using it.  Here is where the benefit of our microscope come in.

Another thing to keep in mind is that organic compost can force growth. This means that the plants may grow quickly, but they may not be as healthy as plants that are grown with a more natural approach. The plants may also be more susceptible to pests and diseases.

In a way, organic matter is like the food that we eat, while microbe compost is like the probiotics that we take. Both are important for our health, but they work in different ways. Organic matter provides the nutrients that our bodies need, while probiotics help to keep our gut healthy and functioning properly.

In the same way, organic matter provides the nutrients that plants need, while microbe compost helps to keep the soil healthy and functioning properly. Healthy soil is essential for healthy plants, just as a healthy gut is essential for a healthy human.

If you are looking for a way to improve the health of your soil and plants, then microbe compost is for you.   Remember, we are actively consulting with land owners to regenerate lands, soils and homesteads.   We work within the budget and goals of our clients to bring life back to the soil.   Contact us for more information!   

At Living Ground, our mission extends far beyond saving soils – it’s about fostering a holistic connection that benefits plants, microbes, and humanity itself. While nature’s challenges persist, we approach them with a different perspective – one of harmony and mimicry, rather than conflict.

Today, we’re excited to invite you into our world through an informative video courtesy of the Soil Food Web (SFW) school. This captivating footage takes you on a journey through the heart of the Soil Food Web approach in Peru, offering a glimpse into the wonders that unfold when we align with nature’s wisdom.

Leisha is a  Soil Food Web Consultant and Nic is currently on his path toward certification within the same renowned program.

As we embark on this shared journey, we invite you to join us in championing a more harmonious and sustainable world. Come witness the magic of nature’s equilibrium, and be part of the Living Ground movement.

Before you delve into this transformative video, remember to subscribe to our blog and stay updated with our latest explorations, insights, and progress. Your presence and engagement mean the world to us.

And now, without further ado, let’s embark on this enlightening adventure by exploring the Soil Food Web approach through our exclusive video presentation.

 

Let’s discuss the similarities between gluten sensitivity and glyphosate toxicity. I believe that many  who think they are gluten sensitive may actually be glyphosate toxic.   

Glyphosate was discovered in 1950 by a Swiss chemist named Henry Martin. It was originally developed as a chelating agent, but later found to be an effective herbicide. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, a widely used herbicide that is sprayed on crops to kill weeds. It is also used in other products, such as herbicides for lawns and gardens, and in animal feed.

Glyphosate works by inhibiting an enzyme called EPSPS, which is essential for the production of aromatic amino acids in plants. This causes the plant to die. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, which means that it kills both weeds and crops. However, it is more effective at killing weeds than crops. EPSPS is an enzyme that is involved in the shikimate pathway. It is responsible for the conversion of shikimate-3-phosphate to 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate.  The shikimate pathway is a metabolic pathway that is used by plants, bacteria, and fungi to synthesize aromatic amino acids.

The shikimate pathway is essential for the production of aromatic amino acids, which are used to synthesize proteins, vitamins, and other essential compounds. Glyphosate inhibits EPSPS, which blocks the shikimate pathway and prevents the production of aromatic amino acids. This is what kills plants that are exposed to glyphosate.

A little side note here…..It is interesting that Glyphosate and SARS-CoV-2 both affect the shikimate pathway, although in different ways. Glyphosate inhibits EPSPS, which blocks the shikimate pathway and prevents the plant from producing aromatic amino acids. SARS-CoV-2 hijacks the host cell’s shikimate pathway and uses it to produce the aromatic amino acids that it needs to replicate.   

Here are similarities between glyphosate and SARS-CoV-2:

  • Both can affect the shikimate pathway.
  • Both can be harmful to living organisms.
  • Both can be found in the environment.

Glyphosate is a controversial herbicide. Some people believe that it is safe, while others believe that it is a dangerous chemical that can cause cancer and other health problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified glyphosate as a likely not carcinogenic to humans, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified it as a probable carcinogen.

The use of glyphosate is increasing worldwide. In the United States, it is the most widely used herbicide. The use of glyphosate has been linked to the decline of certain beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies. It has also been linked to the development of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Is glyphosate a toxin and danger?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. This means that there is enough evidence to suggest that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the WHO, has also classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
  • The European Union has classified glyphosate as a likely carcinogen. This means that there is limited evidence to suggest that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans.
  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified glyphosate as a likely not carcinogenic to humans. However, the EPA’s decision has been criticized by many scientists, who believe that the EPA’s assessment is flawed.

The debate over the safety of glyphosate is ongoing but I think that anyone with any common sense knows it is a dangerous toxin. The weight of evidence suggests that glyphosate is a toxin that can pose a risk to human health.

There’s evidence that glyphosate harms human health in a few ways, including:

  • Cancer: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, meaning that it is likely to cause cancer. The IARC’s classification is based on a review of several studies that have found an association between glyphosate exposure and cancer, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma. However, the EPA has classified glyphosate as a likely not carcinogenic to humans. The EPA’s classification is based on a review of different studies, including some that have not found an association between glyphosate exposure and cancer. More research is needed to determine the true cancer risk of glyphosate exposure.

    Neurotoxicity: Some studies have shown that glyphosate may be neurotoxic, meaning that it can damage the nervous system. For example, a study published in the journal Neurotoxicology in 2019 found that glyphosate exposure can damage the brains of rats. However, other studies have found no evidence of neurotoxicity. More research is needed to clarify the potential neurotoxicity of glyphosate exposure.

    Endocrine disruption: Glyphosate may disrupt the endocrine system, which is responsible for regulating hormones. This could lead to a variety of health problems, such as reproductive problems and thyroid disorders. For example, a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2013 found that glyphosate exposure can disrupt the production of testosterone in rats. However, other studies have not found an association between glyphosate exposure and endocrine disruption. More research is needed to determine the true risks of endocrine disruption from glyphosate exposure.

    Reproductive problems: Glyphosate may cause reproductive problems, such as decreased sperm count and fertility problems. For example, a study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology in 2018 found that glyphosate exposure can decrease sperm count in rats. However, other studies have not found an association between glyphosate exposure and reproductive problems. More research is needed to determine the true risks of reproductive problems from glyphosate exposure.

    Gut health: Glyphosate may disrupt the gut microbiome, which is the community of bacteria that live in the gut. This could lead to a variety of health problems, such as digestive problems and autoimmune diseases. For example, a study published in the journal Nature Microbiology in 2020 found that glyphosate exposure can disrupt the gut microbiome in mice. However, other studies have not found an association between glyphosate exposure and gut health problems. More research is needed to determine the true risks of gut health problems from glyphosate exposure.

There is growing evidence that glyphosate can damage the proteins in gluten, making it less digestible. This can cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to gluten.   The symptoms of gluten sensitivity and glyphosate toxicity can be very similar. They can include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Skin rashes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

It can be difficult to tell the difference between gluten sensitivity and glyphosate toxicity, especially if you have been exposed to both. However, there are a few things that you can do to help you determine the cause of your symptoms.

  • Get tested for gluten sensitivity. There is a blood test that can be used to diagnose gluten sensitivity.
  • Avoid gluten for a period of time and see if your symptoms improve. If your symptoms improve when you avoid gluten, then you are likely gluten sensitive.

There are a few things that you can do to naturally cleanse your body of this toxin.

  • Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help to detoxify your body and improve your overall health. These foods are high in antioxidants and help the microbiome which can help to remove toxins from the body.
  • Drink filtered water. Glyphosate can be found in tap water, so it is important to drink filtered water whenever possible.
  • Supplements. There are a number of supplements that can help to detoxify your body from glyphosate, such as activated charcoal, chlorella, and spirulina. Activated charcoal is a natural substance that can bind to toxins and help to remove them from the body. Chlorella and spirulina are types of algae that are high in antioxidants and other nutrients that can help to support the body’s natural detoxification processes.
  • Use herbs. There are a number of herbs that can help to detoxify your body from glyphosate, such as dandelion root, burdock root, and milk thistle. Dandelion root is a natural diuretic that can help to flush toxins out of the body. Burdock root is a liver tonic that can help to support the body’s natural detoxification processes. Milk thistle is a liver protectant that can help to repair damage caused by toxins.  These herbs are all in our Liver Love The Blood Tincture.

Other ways to reduce exposure to glyphosate

  • Buy organic foods whenever possible. Organic crops are not sprayed with glyphosate.   Even better, buy microbe grown plants.
  • If you do not know where you produce is coming from, wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them. This will help to remove any residual glyphosate that may be on the surface of the food.
  • Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are often high in glyphosate.
  • Avoid drinking tap water. Glyphosate can be found in tap water, so it is important to drink filtered water whenever possible.
  • Avoid using herbicides and pesticides around your home.Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is what gives these grains their chewy texture. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, a herbicide that is widely used to kill weeds. It is a systemic herbicide, which means that it is absorbed by the plant and moves throughout its tissues.

Microbe extracts are more environmentally friendly, less harmful to humans, and can be more effective than glyphosate.  Microbe extracts are not known to be harmful. Some studies have shown that microbe extracts can be as effective as glyphosate at killing weeds, and they can also help to improve the health of the soil.

Here are some of the specific reasons why microbe extracts may be better than glyphosate:

  • Microbe extracts are more environmentally friendly: Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, which means that it kills both weeds and crops. This can have a negative impact on the environment, as it can kill beneficial organisms as well as harmful ones. Microbe extracts, on the other hand, are more targeted and are less likely to harm the environment.
  • Microbe extracts are less harmful to humans: There is some evidence that glyphosate may be harmful to human health, as it has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, and gut health problems. Microbe extracts, on the other hand, are not known to be harmful to humans.
  • Microbe extracts can be more effective than glyphosate: Microbe extracts can be as effective as glyphosate at killing weeds. In addition, microbe extracts can help to improve the health of the soil, which can lead to healthier plants.

 

I am begining to understand that the desception of the matrix in ways deeper than imagined and it is digusting.   Species banking is becoming big business…and it is putting a “worth” on nature. The deception forms as many are participating  thinking they are “protecting” nature. It appears good…and it is not. The worth of a species or a sector of nature is now determined by the law of economics – when there is low supply, demand and value increases.

Under the layers….more is being revealled.    Can economics blend with ecology?

“Eco” is our dwelling, our house. “Ology” is the study, observation and learning. Nomics is “law”. The study of our dwelling and the law of our dwelling. Again, can they be blended?

Giving “credit” to nature is how the matrix is connecting ecology and economics. It is already big business as it snuck in from the sidelines disguising as something “good” for nature. It gives value on nature as exchangable credits…good credits offset bad credits. It is giving permision for destruction as long as good credits are held.

Biodiversity is now an economic farm of capital, nature capital.  This is the business of nature. They have made nature a commodity.

This IS THE MATRIX!     

We have been trying to save nature because it is the “right thing to do” and systems have been created to “save”. My gosh, this is so horrible. The scales have tipped…and the pricelessness of nature is now given value. Whenever we put a “value” on nature, we are participating. I don’t know what the answer is…and I am not sure we will find one now other than taking a good look out our personal selves and where it is participates in that Matrix and buy into it.

Personally, I am committed to doing more research and taking a good scrutinizing look at the model created for Living Ground. Where is it buying into this matrix? Where can it be separated so that it is NOT in that matrix?

Philosophically, this is a challenge!  But it is not impossible.   Our task at Living Ground is to consider and ensure we are not swallowed into the matrix.   We are not sure how to do this…but placing attention on this the future.

To start, we are detailing our “values manifesto” so that now and in the future, it is a map or frame-work so that deceipt can not penetrate.     We also are considering offering a mandatory “Living Ground Boot Camp” mini course for any current and future leader of Living Ground.   This mini course will educate on the “little guys” and challenge the programs of our thinking and concieving that has been muddied and muddlied form our cultural learning.   All leaders must go through this mini course!

Our task now is research and deep thought.   I think it is time to change the view of “as above, so below” to “so below as above”.    What can the community of microbes teach us about operating?

…The Soil Biology Primer represents a new era in our agency’s soil science contributions to natural resource conservation. In the past we have focused primarily on the chemical and physical properties of soil . This publication highlights another integral component of soil , its biological features. The Primer explains the importance of biological functions for productive and healthy agricultural systems , range lands, and forest lands.

The Soil Biology Primer is intended for farmers, ranchers, agricultural profes sionals, resource specialists , students, teachers, and NRCS conservationists, specialists , and soil scientists as a reference for enhanced understanding of the critical functions performed by soil life. I hope you enjoy reading about the fascinating diversity of soil life under our feet and gain a deeper appreciation of the intrinsic value of soil organisms to sustainable civilizations . Protecting our Nation’s soil for future generations is of greatest importance.

ENJOY click to read, explore, learn, download……

Soil_Biology_Primer

Soil. It’s our greatest treasure.

It can take hundreds of years and many natural processes to make even a centimetre of soil. The mechanical and chemical weathering of rock makes up around half of any soil’s composition, with around 5% supplied by organic material, and the rest made up by air and water.

Put another way, soil is a complicated mix of both the non-organic, abiotic components- minerals, water and air, and the organic biotic components- bacteria, archaea, fungi, plants and invertebrates that live and die within it.

In addition, and bound together with any basic discussion about soil, is the reality of a living soil, the soil food web and soil biodiversity. Soil is a complex, sustainable and dynamic ecosystem, sustained through the complicated interaction of countless soil fauna like worms, woodlice, springtails, nematodes and mites, together with fungi and bacteria.

“Despite all our achievements, we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

However, within a few generations, we have seen the world’s soils rapidly and increasingly degrade, losing nutrients, carbon and fertility, turning saline or actually blowing away. Crops are losing yield and not responding to NPK fertilisers. Fields and farms are being abandoned across much of the world, forcing even more poverty, suffering and human migration. This degrading is mostly human-driven, due to bad farming practices, pollution, acidification, compaction, deforestation and climate change across the world. It’s a sobering and worrying time. Soil biodiversity is dying, with soil fauna like springtails and soil mites reducing to almost zero. Worms are disappearing, fungal activity ceasing.

Soil scientists and farmers are finally being listened to.   People are learning and gaining more knowledge and understanding.  Research is now well funded and positive changes are being discussed at a governmental level and implemented on a regional and local level. Sustaining, improving and increasing soils is a lengthy and time consuming process, but no dig, microbe compost making and regenerative agriculture are showing great results. Feeding the soil rather than the plant has become a well known mantra amongst gardeners and organic growers. The ship may be sinking, but all is not lost.

Whoever you are and whoever you will become, tread lightly on the earth.”