Business

Healthy Soils gets the life back into your dirt

How healthy is your soil? - File
How healthy is your soil?
— image credit: File

Ready to get the most out of your organic gardening and farming?

Scott Tower says there is quite often a little something missing from soil and putting it back in a very simple way can make all the difference to people’s vegetables and flowers.

What’s missing, he continues, is microlife — the organisms that break down and feed plants the nutrients essential to great-tasting and long-lasting vegetables.

“On the Island, we’re living on what’s left after farming and harvesting,” said Tower, who owns Healthy Soil on Fairdowne Road near Parksville.

“The process of even building a subdivision can leave soil without this microlife and we’re left having to build on what the soil needs.”

Tower, himself a grower of organic vegetables, began looking into soil composition and nutrients a few years ago and quickly became aware of just how many nutrients are missing from the soil.

“I was not satisfied with what I was growing and I really wanted to find out why.”

He also discovered just how easy it is to change that.

By simply adding a mix of minerals and nutrients — a blend he sells at Health Soil called Natural Earth Organic mix — to gardens, planters, containers and even larger organic farms, a grower can give their crops what they need to be healthy and have longer shelf lives.

Finding out if your soil needs more nutrients is as easy as going to Healthy Soil and having your soil tested. Tower says it’s a simple process, but to do it right, it’s sent to a lab. From there, the result can show what kind and how many nutrients are needed to rejuvenate the soil.

In an example, Tower demonstrated how soil can be made to better retain water — by simply adding calcium in the form of ground up egg shells.

That’s just one example.

“I’m about increasing the microlife population of soil and its overall health and structure,” he explains. “These are the beneficial organisms that we’d find in a healthy forest floor.”

Tower’s blend of nutrients can be added to soil, compost — just about any growing surface — to ensure the plants get what they need, when they need it. It’s a recipe he says has been around for years and it’s strictly organic — nothing synthetic in the mix at all.

Depending on the size of the growing area, Tower says a small amount of the nutrient mix can be scratched into the soil. One kilogram of the Natural Earth Organic mix, he says, can benefit a large area and can be applied by hand, or in a more convenient manner — something he calls compost tea.

Simply put, it’s a mix of compost and nutrients, mixed with an aerator (or air pump) over a period of time. This mixture can them be applied with a sprayer.

The secret, so to speak, is in the recipe — the amount of microlife and nutrients that make it into the garden.

Having been a do-it-yourselfer for years, Towers says his business helps people stick to a similar path.

“I can help simplify this for people,” he says. “This is very much like following a recipe.”

Since his business is fairly new, Towers says much of his job is about education. He offers samples of his product, information about soil composition and nutrient needs and details on what microlife does — a lesson that harkens back to grade school science and biology.

“There are a lot of people who want to learn and grow organically,” he says. “Once they see this, they will know it’s very do-able.”

To learn more, visit www.soilmicrolife.ca, call 250-586-2227, or drop by Healthy Soil on Fairdowne Road, next to Isle Golf Carts.

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