Tag Archives: healthy soil

One in 6 children in the United States have a developmental disability, including learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, and other developmental delays. Cancer is the leading cause of disease related death in children. New Hampshire House Bill 399 restricts the types of pesticides allowed where kids play, thereby significantly reducing exposure to chemicals that can harm our children’s development, chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, or disrupt the delicate endocrine system even at tiny levels. It is imperative that we move ahead in eliminating as much of these types of exposures as we can. 

Below is my testimony I have submitted to the members of the House in support of it. 

I am Steve Phillips, the owner of Heidelberg Farms, a New Hampshire small business started in 2013 to provide Organic solutions to our state’s families and businesses. I have worked in all parts of the horticultural industry and have found a good home in Organics.

I started my land care career mowing lawns, trimming shrubbery, and practicing the application of pesticides. I went on to attend the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and in the course of studying NH’s famed tree biologist, Dr. Alex Shigo, I began to pursue my own intense interest in the how and why of plant care.

Through Dr. Shigo’s tree autopsies, he was able to show us how trees responded to their environments and growing conditions. He then applied this knowledge to change our management of trees to better reflect their natural responses to the world around them. His work modernized tree health care and the arboriculture industry. It is in his spirit that I continue to examine how plants respond, and adapt my management practices accordingly, in order to provide my customers with the best care for their lawns and gardens. I now follow solely Organic practices, and formed Heidelberg Farms to promote the most effective Organic plant care strategies throughout New Hampshire.

Organic works on every scale. Large national projects all across our country – including the George W. Bush Presidential Library, NYC’s High Line, and St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, as well as numerous college campuses, parks, athletic fields, and golf courses – have all moved toward Organic Management. I believe they made their decisions for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, because Organic offers better long-term solutions at a competitive price.

As with any new technology, there is always more to learn. However, by applying better cultural practices, and incorporating a more complete understanding of how plants respond and grow best, Organic simply makes the most sense. Fortunately, information, training, materials, and experience are all very easily obtainable to help in the logical transition to Organic land care.

Recently, I had the opportunity to weigh in on a conversation about eating local for Parenting NH magazine. What do I know about eating local? Well, not much, but I do know about soil—and healthy soil is the key to a healthy life.

vegetables-1475512_1920Did you know that there are one billion bacteria in one teaspoon of healthy soil? There are fungi, nematodes and protozoa, too. And now while I am an organic landscaper, organic farmers are very much the same as I am, because we both appreciate and work with the soil.

Healthy soil produces more nutrient-rich food, which in turns directly contributes to human health. When soil is depleted of nutrients, produce is nutritionally deficient with a very low total of dissolved sugars, which means low cellular energy. Did you know that unhealthy low-energy plants broadcast an electromagnetic frequency that attracts destructive insects? They also do not possess the cellular energy to resist disease.

On the other hand, healthy, nutrient-rich produce possess a high level of total dissolved sugars, and excellent nutritional value. They also taste a whole lot better. Moreover, healthy plants emit a different frequency that does not attract damaging insects.

Sugar energy is critically necessary in the natural digestive processes, because it supplies the heat energy that many digestive enzymes need to function properly. Without the proper heat from mineral rich natural sugars, natural body alcohols will be deficient and impede the heat activated digestive enzymes produced by the liver, which results in indigestion.

Possible solutions

Frankly, what ails society is very complicated and I am an organic landscaper, not a doctor (I’m channeling my Scotty from Star Trek here!). However, I can say without a doubt that sourcing food from the farm is one effective start to living a healthy life. Restaurants are getting involved in this movement, too. 7th Settlement in Dover and Laney & Lu Café in Exeter are just two examples of eateries that are completely committed to sourcing their food from local farms. Located in Brentwood, Stout Oak Farm is one organic farm that comes to mind when thinking about how to go about eating and supporting local.

In other words, I’m not alone in my understanding of the power of the soil and what it means for our health. Take a moment to learn more about your favorite café and find out what farms are committed to organic growing methods. The answers lie in our soil and in how we choose to work with it…

Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919 if you have any questions.

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Small in size but with a large population, Holland is a nation with intensively farmed cropland, which led to a 6-year experiment with the results published just last month in the journal Nature Plants.

Healthy soilIn this experiment, Martijn Bezemer, a biologist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology Netherlands, began to inoculate degraded soils with dirt from healthy ecosystems. The idea was similar to what doctors do when treating intestinal problems by transplanting gut microbes from a healthy individual into a sick patient.

The results from the experiment revealed that small soil inoculations from grassland/heathland could help determine which plants would thrive in the future. What the experiment also confirmed is that the soil is not just a lifeless pile of earth. It is full of symbiotic fungi in plant roots, which help plants extract vital nutrients. Other microbes break down decaying plants and animals and replenish the materials used by the plants.

One person’s soil may not be another

Other research has recently revealed, though, that microbial populations are actually hyper-local with soil varying wildly from location to location and at different elevations at the same mountain, for example. This is a development in our understanding no one could have anticipated.

In fact, Noah Fierer, a microbiologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder has been quoted as saying, “Yet 80 percent of the soil microbes in Central Park are still undescribed. There’s a lot of diversity to reckon with.”

What this means is that two different ecosystems, even if they are close to one another, could have vastly different microbes in their soil. Plants could survive a drought because of the unique mix of symbiotic microbes in the dirt around it. Plant that same plant in the wrong soil and it just might die.

Other findings

In Bezemer’s experiment, he found that the transplanted soil also prevented weeds and other non-desired plants from overtaking the new system before native species could take hold. Another result was that it was discovered that just small amounts of healthy soil could get a system reoriented onto a new path. For the experiment to work, the old topsoil had to be removed, too, which researchers say is because it ensure that existing microbes do not compete with the ones in the transplanted soil.

Soil is life

While concerns remain that to revive an ecosystem might require an incredibly large amount of soil, recent experiments in microbiology are quite clear in their findings. Complex and fully alive (and still quite mysterious to scientists), soil is critically important for ecosystem health.