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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Healthy Soil Equals Healthy Plants

Feb 28, 2011 04:21PM ● By Ian Orlikoff

To grow healthy plants, you need healthy soil. If you can cook a pot of spaghetti, you can create compost, an almost magical garden component that enriches the soil by improving its ability to hold water and prevent nutrients from leaching out or running off. Compost also encourages healthy root growth and improves plant vigor and the soil’s microbiological activity, thus enhancing the soil’s life cycle. Just as importantly, it converts a byproduct into a resource and lowers the pH of Florida’s naturally alkaline soil.

Nature has been practicing composting since the first forms of plant life began. Through the decomposition of once-living organisms, the soil was improved enough for plants to grow in succession, from grasses on up to old-growth conifer forests. In fact, higher forms of plant life could only develop as the soil became increasingly enriched through the natural composting of organic materials.

Today’s organic farmers and landscapers improve soil quality through in-depth knowledge of the microbial processes taking place and an understanding that synthetic fertilizers and chemicals deplete the soil, rendering it tired and unproductive. Taking advantage of modern bio-science and technology to improve the quality of life within the soil, some farmers now use aerated compost teas and compost extracts, a process that extracts the microbes, nutrients and humates, which are then applied in a liquid form.

Organic wastes must go somewhere, and gardeners see the soil and its capacity to recycle as making a contribution to conserving resources and energy, while simultaneously improving the environment.

Ian Orlikoff is an accredited organic land care professional and the owner of Eco Logic Land Care. For more info, call 239-348-1302 or 239-348-1330, email [email protected] or visit

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