Protecting soil health is critical to environmental sustainability. A healthy soil can sustain important functions which include providing nutrients for plant growth by breaking down organic matter. Healthy soil supports a range of environmental, economic and societal benefits. These include food production, climate resilience and increased biodiversity.
Well-maintained and structured soil can provide balance
Well-maintained soils provide good structure, water retention and nutrient availability to crops. The physical structure of soils (air/water balance) and the chemical environment (pH/nutrient levels) provide the habitats for biological components (e.g. roots and soil organisms) to interact within the soil matrix. A better balance of air and water can benefirt root growth and promote an active soil ecosystem.
Although soils and management practices vary from farm-to-farm and field-to-field, there are some general principles that underpin all farming systems that have healthy soils. These aim to keep these chemical, physical and biological properties in balance.
Balanced soils reduce requirements for mechanical intervention. An understanding of soil health can also inform decisions when any cultivation or restructuring operation is needed.
Improve the soil’s biological, chemical and physical properties through:
- Feed the soil regularly, through plants and organic inputs
- Move soil only when necessary
- Diversify plants across garden areas and time periods
- Maintain an optimum pH
- Apply nutrients in the right amounts, in the right place, at the right time
- Know soil textures and minerals needed to sustain plant health
- Know the different soil types and textures and understand the limits of each type eg clay
- Optimise water balance through effective drainage (if necessary)
- Minimise compaction and improve soil structure and breathability
Sustainability and efficiency are at the heart of everything we do at Apsley Farms.
We’ve adopted cutting edge technologies and turned low value crops into renewable energy. We’ve focus on operating within a circular economy by returning the nutrients in our digestate products back to the land as a fertiliser.
Our process of generating green gas and other important by-products ticks three important boxes: it displaces natural gas (fossil fuel) in the gas grid to heat people’s homes; it displaces CO2 made by the fertiliser industry which is essential in the food industry and it simultaneously generates natural fertiliser in the process!