Date: Saturday, March 16, 2019
Time: 9am-4pm
Cost: $50
Instructor: Gabe Garms
Location: Raven's Roots Campus

When you get a professional soil test done, you typically get back a report stating various nutrient levels, pH, structure, texture and ability to hold nutrients. But modern day tests are leaving out the most crucial component to soil health, and that is the biology living within it. When we till our soil, or apply inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, we wipe out the biology (the bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, microarthropods etc) that the plants depend upon for survival. 

The biology in the soil is responsible for keeping diseases and pests in check, holding nutrients within the root zone (so they're not lost to leaching), creating soil structure and converting insoluble nutrients into plant soluble forms. The biology also make it so that you never have to add any amendments to your soil....ever! All of the nutrients that plants require exist within the sands, clays and silts (mineral components of the soil). All that's required is a balanced soil food web to hold and convert them into plant soluble forms. 

However, when the soil food web isn't in tact, plants don't get nutrients when they need them (no matter how diligent we are at adding amendments) and they become weak. We spend countless hours tending to our plants when the biology is capable of performing all of our hard work for us. And doing a much better job that we could ever do at that. 

Here are the topics that we'll cover in this one day workshop:

  • Soil Food Web (fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, microarthropods)

  • Soil structure and horizons

  • Nutrient cycling

  • Using a microscope to create a biological analysis of your soil

  • Taking soil samples

  • Identifying organisms under the microscope. Differentiating the good bacteria and fungi from the bad.

  • Macronutrients, micronutrients and trace elements

  • How to perform a biology analysis yourself

  • Composting techniques to maximize biology

  • Repairing damaged food webs

  • Compost teas

  • Biochar (how to create quality biochar and utilize it properly in your garden)

It will definitely be a busy day but it will be more than worth it, we promise.