What Does Healthy Soil Mean?
Good Soil Structure
Active & Diverse Soil Biology
Balanced Chemistry (minerals)
A healthy soil is one that functions as desired for your chosen crops. When we cultivate food in ways that improve soil health, gardening gets easier and easier!
We need our soils to support and nourish our crops, to hold adequate moisture for productive growth during dry times, yet with good enough drainage to prevent saturation during extreme wet weather. It's quite a balancing act and it's a truly dynamic soil that can excel in all extremes!
As regenerative gardeners, one of our first priorities is restoring and maintaining soil health:
Ensure adequate organic matter (>10%)
Soil testing & mineral balancing
Soil biology boosting
Growing diverse crops (polyculture)
Soil, by its very nature is full of minerals. But if those minerals are not present in the ideal proportions, no matter what we do, our crops may struggle to grow well. If there's a deficiency of one, or an excess of another mineral, we need to balance them!
Soil Mineral Balancing
Soil mineral availability is all about balance; hence the value in a soil mineral balancing program, which results in:
Better tasting, more nutritious food
Faster growth/quicker harvest
Less pests & diseases
"Soil testing for and managing soil mineral balance is a complete game changer!"
If you want to grow the highest quality food, for less work and less pests, soil mineral balancing is one powerful tool you'll want to consider.
Soil Biology Testing
Biology Supercede Chemistry!
It's the life in soils that supply crops with what they need to grow well. High-yielding, healthy plants need diverse and active soil microbes partnering with them.
Perfect chemistry/poor biology = poor crops
Perfect biology/poor chemistry = crops ok
Soil biology is inherently complex and here at The Gourmet Garden School all our methods are designed to support & improve healthy microbial populations.
Everything we do to improve soil health, is about supporting the life in the soil to maintain a healthy, resilient ecosystem.
We're not currently affiliated with a laboratory specialising in soil biology assays, and are unable to recommend one that we've been consistently happy with. Our apologies.
We'd love to hear from you if you've had a good experience with a biology testing lab because we'd love to refer people for this valuable service.
Some soils contain contaminants that do not support the growth of safe foods. There are multiple types of contaminants than can cause problems for food and these could be a problem for you and your soil. Typical sources of contamination include:
Sewerage & Raw Manures
All contaminants can be biologically degraded and/or remediated using soil microbes and plants! Using the soil for growing food in the meantime may not be suitable however, depending on the type & extent of the contamination.
If concerned, you may wish to consider getting your soil or water laboratory tested for contaminants.