Microbial Foods and Biology

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Dear Organic Soil Solutions customer:

Today, we applied microbial foods and biology to the soil that supports your lawn.  The soil is a living breathing place with air, water and billions of micro-organisms breaking things down and building things up.

I am amazed.  A few weeks ago the flower beds behind my house were leaves and stubble.  Things warmed up a little and green plants emerged.  Last week they were 5 feet tall and red flowers popped out.  The very next day, the hummingbirds were there, flitting around and gathering nectar.  Now, I know they’ve been hanging around waiting for the flowers, but I like to think they were struggling mightily all the way from Central America with visions of my back yard in their tiny heads and an ETA of when the Murray’s bee balm blooms.  Now the milkweeds are taking off and the Monarchs will be cruising in from Mexico.  These guys are truly citizens of the world.

Of course, it all starts in the soil.  The weather warms up, the bacteria, fungi and protozoa start running around like crazy, converting nutrients that the plants are begging for.  The more nutrients, biology and organic matter in the soil, the better things go for the plants.  That is why we are replenishing biology and nutrients now.  That is why our soil drench program for perennial beds is so effective.  We inject nutrients into the root zone of perennial and flower beds with a ‘feed needle’ from a truck sprayer.  Of course, the best way to improve poor soil in the lawn is with core aeration and compost top dressing.

The drought is upon us and as Thomas Payne said, “These are the times that try men’s soils”, not to mention their irrigation systems.  I keep seeing brown, stressed areas in lawns where the soil is bone dry and dusty, next to green areas with soil that is moist.  People say they are watering plenty.  I mentioned this to Mike Greenfield of Corbett Irrigation and he had these observations:

  • The recent heat and lack of rain results in plant/turf stress if both irrigation and proper soil structure are not present.
  • We find too often that contactors just don’t know how to properly design systems.  Although water comes out of each head and everything looks wet, it does not mean it is watering efficiently and correctly.  It will still work well enough to appear to water everything, germinate seed, or keep the lawn green in cooler temps.  However, when the weather turns hot and dry like it is now, you really get to see how well a system works.
  • The deeper and better the soil, the less you will need the irrigation.  This will result in less money being spent on water and maintenance in the future.


Mike Murray