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Toolbox: Healthy Soil, Healthy Planet

S&H invites you to explore the power of building a healthy ecosystem in your backyard, from root to bud.

Worm Farm Composter

Perhaps your new best friend, the worm farm composter will take all your food scraps and give you back nutrient- dense fertilizer for your soil. ($159) gardeners.com

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all.”
Wendell Berry

Vortex Brewer

Based on the ideas put forth by Rudolf Steiner in his 1924 lectures “The Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture,” the Vortex Brewer uses orbital, rotational, and circular motion to generate the “creative, formative motion” to enliven your compost tea and fully enrich your soil. ($1,762) vortexbrewer.com

Cowpeas

Fill your beds with nitrogen-fixing plants such as Mississippi Silver and California Black Eye #46 and you’ll help draw more of this important nutrient into the soil. ($2 per packet) ufseeds.com

Seaweed Fertilizer

A recent study found that organic soil has a 26 percent greater capacity for long-term carbon storage than conventionally farmed soil. Liquid Seaweed maintains your mantra, “Don’t panic, it’s organic.” ($27 per quart) neptunesharvest.com

Cedar Bat House

Protect your neighborhood bats with the cedar bat shelter. These oft-forgotten pollinators also do a good job of eating invasive insects. ($29.95) plowhearth.com

Endomycorrhizal

Mycorrhizal fungi may be the unsung heroes of the Earth. These microorganisms form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of a plant, increasing its ability to gather nutrients and water, as well as fending off root diseases. ($19 per half pound) smilinggardener.com

Hummingbird Bath

Add art and whimsy to your garden with the polished brass hummingbird birdbath and invite these superstar pollinators to return to your plants again and again. ($139.95) windandweather.com

Mason Bee Shelter

Explore the wonderful world of mason bees and you’ll want to invite these gentle insects into your yard with the intriguing Mason Bee Cedar Shelter with Bee Houses. ($49.99) groworganic.com

FREE RESOURCES:

  • Go to Kiss the Ground to get a deeper understanding of the tremendous capacity of healthy soil to draw carbon from the atmosphere, and then take the #eat4climate challenge. Kisstheground.com

  • It turns out your soil loves variety. Bring the idea of crop rotation into practice in your own backyard, and enjoy all the (increased) fruits of your labor. Let Mother Earth News guide you (bit.ly/2GPKsdk).