About 14 months ago when I came back from vacation, my partner Allan informed me that he and his wife would need to exit the partnership of Microbial Earth Farms, as they were moving far out of town. That meant no small change for me, as Allan was responsible for much of the physical operation of the business. It has taken a while for that change to result in a new direction. The first step was to deal with the difficult tasks of downsizing and figuring out all of the things I previously didn’t have to do, as well as discovering what was not going to work. After a while, the opportunity to start moving forward again presents itself.
Luckily for me, Microbial Earth has a sister company called Sunergie which received a contract to complete a study of a new soil amendment technology called Biochar. That work began last May and has been proceeding through the slower garden months. You will see more about that below.
My wife and I are also looking at our schooling options for our five year old boy. We have identified numerous parallels between conventional schooling options and the current state of the environment, as well as parallels between ideal conditions for home schooling and ideal conditions for restoring the environment.
This morning we read a blog post which nicely summed things up regarding how we should work with our soil, as well as with our kids. A key excerpt reads:
“Give them what they need to thrive, and then get out of their way. Our role as parents and educators is to be there to offer support, but not to do it for them.” http://www.altedaustin.com/blog/
Substitute “parents and educators” for gardeners/property owners, and “them” for microbes. In all of the fears about the expense or effort required to re-build our environment, we forget that we should let microbes do the job of creating humus and releasing biologically available minerals and nutrients (i.e. composting). It is our job to make sure that the soil has the right nutrients (carbon, minerals – including trace elements –, food scraps) and water and then to get out of the way. Monitor the situation every year with a soil test and then let the soil do its thing. Getting out of the way means not compacting the soil, cutting the grasses too short, adding the wrong things, or adding things when they are not needed.
For those reasons, the new purpose of Microbial Earth Farms is to provide tools/materials needed to help your soil achieve the most efficient water cycling, carbon cycling, nutrient cycling, and mineral cycling, and to support the greatest community of diverse life. We will be re-organizing our product lines, introducing new products, and helping you and your soil get to a magic number: 3.9% That is the magic number for soil organic matter, where your soil is naturally releasing enough Nitrogen to support the growth of your whole yard without added fertilizers – neither organic nor synthetic.