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More Information about Soil Life

March 5th, 2008

I have had several inquires reqarding the Kid Conscious Soil Life.
I hope the following will give further clarification for those considering using the product.

pH
The pH generally runs in the 7 to 8 range. There is variability in the
pH depending on how long it has aged. Generally the pH will climb as
the product goes through an aging process due to chemical reactions that
take place that eventually come to an equilibrium. Reaching this
equilibrium is normal for all our products.

Microbial Composition of Kid Conscious Soil Life
Since we propagate, in the laboratory, many of the species that are in
Kid Conscious Soil Life, we know there is a high concentration
of all the beneficial Bacillus species, as well as, Pseudomonas, Azotobacters,
Rhizobium, Arthrobacters, actinomycetes and fungi. In addition, the high quality
compost and vermicast extracts contribute to and expand the range of
species diversity that is so good for the soil. All these microbes are
either propagated in or extracted from an environment that mimics that
of the soil. We QC all samples that come into the laboratory and
evaluate the level of diversity based on what is known to be in
Kid Conscious Soil Life.
The microbes can be seen under the microscope, but colony
differentiation on growth media in petri dishes has proven to be the
best way to evaluate the product.

Comparison to Compost Tea:
Kid Conscious Soil Life was developed for diversity and stability.
The microbe populations come from individual species, as described above, as well as from
manureless high quality compost and vermicast extracts.
Also included are natural ingredients that serve as nutrients for the microbes in
their beginning stages of growth. Simple sugars and nitrogen sources
are not added to keep the product stable and diverse for a long period
of time. These nutrients need to be added to the Kid Conscious Soil Life
at the time of application to the soil. The Kid Conscious
fertilizers are the perfect compliment to the Kid Conscious Soil Life.
Ideally, you want a diverse group of microbes consuming the nutrients and multiplying
in the soil or on the plant foliage and not in a holding tank. As they consume the
food sources and multiply, they deposit those extremely beneficial exudates in
and around soil particles, roots and on the leaf surfaces. Every type of nutrient,
enzyme, vitamin, antibiotic and growth stimulant that each microbe is
capable of producing is right where it needs to be for use by the
growing plant. The plant can utilize whatever it needs and the rest
becomes a part of the soil organic matter.

In contrast, compost teas are made with the addition of sugars,
nitrogens and other food sources in a holding tank, along with the
compost that may be of questionable quality. These additions stimulate
the compost microbes into growth, which can occur very rapidly over a
short period of time (10 to 24 hours). If the teas are not used within
that period of time, the microbes eventually run out of available
nutrition and/or certain microbes can achieve higher concentrations,
more rapidly, than all the others. This results in an overall decline
of species diversity. Depending on which microbes grow more rapidly,
the teas can quickly become acidic and anaerobic. Another reality is
that composts generally carry a wide range of microbes and some can be
considered non-beneficial or undesirable for plant growth, especially if
they have out competed for nutrients and achieved high populations in the
tea. Through the years we have tested a lot of teas that have been
submitted and these were just some of the many reasons why we have not
promoted this method as a source for microbes in the field. Many former
tea brewers have also moved away from this methodology.

Kid Conscious Soil Life supplies species diversity from
many different sources to the soil and plant. Feeding the microbes at the
time of application gives all species a chance to grow in a soil environment.

Tea microbes generally come from one source and if the compost is not
high quality, harmful organisms to both man and plant could grow to high
levels during the tea brewing process.

Calcium Essential Nutrient

February 28th, 2008

Calcium Sulfate Improves Soil Quality
Recent applications of calcium sulfate (gypsum) on several lawns in our area have proven to be very beneficial. Calcium sulfate is used to counteract many problematic soil conditions.
Calcium is an essential mineral that will help soften hard clay soils, enhance drainage, improve fertilizer response, promote deeper rooting, supply essential nutrients to the soil, minimize winter salt damage and promote optimum growth and appearance. Calcium will also make the grass plants more disease resistant. One lawn care specialist in Michigan reported that after 5 years of gypsum applications, in spring and fall, the soils were transformed from a hard, compacted clay to a crumbly loam texture.
Gypsum is easy to apply using a broadcast spreader. It will not streak or burn. Calcium sulfate (gypsum) is sold under many brand names and is available at Grieder Garden Center. We recommend 40 pounds per 1,000 sq ft in spring and fall until the soil reaches desired quality. To maintain soil quality, applications of 15 to 20 pounds per 1,000 sq ft will be adequate.
Gypsum is not recommended for lawns with a pH below 6.5. In this situation, High Calcium Lime should be used to provide the necessary calcium. Most of the soils in our area have a pH of 7 or higher.
Kid Conscious Lawn Care recommends and can provide a complete soil test for lawns with severe or chronic problems.

Healthy Soils, Healthy Lawns

February 28th, 2008

Yes, you can enjoy a lush, healthy green lawn and the peace of mind that you are contributing to a healthier world.
Really? Doesn’t a lush, green lawn require a lot of chemicals and fertilizer, constant watering and mowing? That can’t be good for a healthy world.
Really! When you work with nature and start your sustainable lawn care program by building a healthy soil, you will enjoy an attractive lawn and feel great knowing you are making a difference toward creating a healthier world.
Good soil is the foundation of a healthy lawn. Optimal soil will be “loamy” with the balanced mix of sand, silt and clay along with a good supply of organic matter. A loamy soil will have good drainage and plenty of air space to provide oxygen to the grass roots and living organisms. A good soil will have the right amount of nutrients needed to support plant growth. Also, a healthy soil will be filled with biological activity—including earth worms, beneficial fungi, bacteria and thousands of other microscopic creatures.
Here’s how it works.
A sustainable lawn care program should begin with a soil evaluation. Dig around. Does the soil seem loose and airy with a dark brown color? Good! Or is it hard, sticky or slimy? Bad! A knowledgeable landscape professional may help you with the evaluation.
Many things can be done to improve even the worst soil.
Core aeration and top dressing with topsoil or high quality compost is a great start to building a healthy soil.
Using organic fertilizers like seaweed, kelp, humates and fish hydrolysate will provide necessary nutrients for plants and also provide food for the other living creatures in the soil. Organic fertilizers provide nutrients over a longer period of time resulting in slow steady growth. As the soil conditions improve less fertilizer will be needed.
Products are available that enliven the soil with a variety of living microbes. These products can help to repopulate beneficial microbes in soils that have damaged by construction or years of chemical use.
By building up the populations of living organisms in the soil many great things start to happen. Very simply, a cycle of growth, death and decomposition result in more oxygen, available nutrients, moisture retention and porosity for increased water and air penetration—key ingredients to lush green lawns.
If your lawn has major problems a professional soil testing lab can determine quantities of essential nutrients, organic matter and soil structure. A soil rebuilding and fertility program can be developed from the test results.
A healthy soil will sustain lush lawns that: generate oxygen, cool the atmosphere, trap and filter air and water pollutants, stabilize soil, choke out weeds and are more tolerant of diseases, insects and drought conditions. A healthy, living soil will help break down toxins and tie up excess nutrients before they get into our water supply.
Get Started Now
The time and money you spend on soil building will more than pay for itself in the long run. Healthy soils = Healthy lawns = Healthy World