Soil damage occurs in many ways, but the most common we see is contamination due to the use of salt-based manmade synthetic fertilizers and poisons. Some of the residuals of these compounds can linger in the soil for years.
Addressing this soil contamination problem is not as problematic as it may seem. Nature is remarkably resilient when given a chance. Studies have shown that by encouraging the growth of soil bacteria, remediation of these toxicants in the upper layers of the soil can be effective (Hui Zhan, 2018)
Of course, the first step in organically mediating the residual effects of chemical-based toxicants in your soil to stop adding more. Cease any applications of herbicides, pesticides and synthetic pre-emergents. Even fertilizers, added in good faith, can damage the soil.
The key to encouraging soil health is to provide the optimum conditions for the growth of the microbiome. If your soil is tightly compacted, spray with hydrogen peroxide to help the compaction problem and to flocculate the soil. The application of hydrogen peroxide will encourage larger organisms to re-inhabit the surface layers of the soil. These larger creatures provide aeration and help aggregation, thus improving water infiltration and air movement in the soil.
The second step is to apply a fine layer of humate. If heavy metals are present, adding biochar or activated charcoal to the humate will help trap and sequester those heavy metals. (For more information on humate, see our related article here.) Fine-textured Zeolite mixed with the humate stimulates the growth of the microbes quicker. Only use the fine-textured style of these materials so that they can be mixed with water and easily sprayed.
After the above materials have been applied and given time to infiltrate the soil (two to three days) apply a mixture of Garrett Juice and orange oil (D-Limonene). Add the orange oil at 2 ounces per gallon of the mix. This combination, sprayed on the soil, will stimulate the growth of microbes, which feed on and breakdown the contaminants. Adding additional molasses (Garrett Juice already contains some molasses) will speed up the growth process. Products containing soil stimulants and beneficial microbes will speed up the process even more.
Organically correcting problems in the soil is not an overnight fix. It takes time for life to return to the soil and the changes to be apparent. Be patient and have faith. The changes will come, and you will see the difference. Nature works but at its own pace.
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Links and Resources
For more information about organic gardening, lifestyles, and living, visit our website at West Texas Organic Gardening.
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Hui Zhan, Y. F. (2018). Recent Advances in glyphosate biodegradation. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 5033-5043.