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Optimum Raised Bed Gardening Soil

  • UIC Forum 725 West Roosevelt Road Chicago, IL, 60607 United States (map)

WHEN: March 23, 2 - 2:30 pm
WHERE: The Good Food Expo at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd, Chicago

See Good Food Expo workshops and full day schedule here

Learn about the latest advances in building healthy soil.

Managing for soil health is one key step toward having a successful garden this summer. Some simple tips that will reap great rewards are:

  • Avoiding compaction

  • top dressing with dense leaf mulch

  • promoting soil drainage

  • applying organic material that supports soil microorganisms

  • adding compost

  • adding biochar

  • protecting from rain and snow in the off-season.

Soil microorganisms – Just as the microbes in the human body both aid digestion and maintain our immune system, soil microorganisms both digest nutrients and protect plants against pathogens and other threats. Soil bacteria and fungi form symbiotic relationships with plant roots and "digest" nutrients, providing nitrogen, phosphorus, and many other nutrients in a form that plant cells can assimilate.

Biochar used in modern agriculture is spreadable organic fertilizer for lawns and organic garden beds that supports healthy soil microbes that feed the soil and the plants. Biochar mixed with compost and nutrients helps plants thrive by improving the efficiency of your soil. The microrganisms live in the billions of pores in the biochar. Plus, the biochar helps retain moisture.

Human health is directly correlated to soil health. The "Green Revolution" was driven by a fear of how to feed massive population growth. It did produce more food, but the food it did produce was progressively less nutritious as the soil became depleted of organic matter, minerals, and microorganisms.

Soil health is key to a sustainable future. We need to restore our living soils for a sustainable and healthy future for the 7.7 billion people on the planet. Scientific advances have now allowed us to take soil organisms from an eco-farming niche to mainstream agribusiness.