Here at Guardian Soil Solutions, we have discovered that taking care of the soil helps crops and groves grow and produce— even if they’re suffering from citrus greening. But our philosophy didn’t originate here; it came from another part of the world where it’s already being religiously followed.
Graeme Sait is an evangelist of sorts. The Aussie travels the world spreading the good news about our soil: it can be healthy again. He is part of a movement called nutrition farming. It’s not traditional farming or organic farming. But it is natural and sustainable.
Perhaps the simplest way to describe it is by comparing it to the human body. When we have a healthy gut filled with friendly bacteria, we have a healthy immune system and a healthy body.
The soil works much the same way. When it’s teeming with bugs, the right kind of bugs, it does a much better job at supplying nutrients our crops need. We can rebuild the soil with organic matter through cover crops and compost. The proof is visible.
Sait, who owns Nutri-Tech Solutions in Australia, came to Florida in late November to teach others about how to revive their soils and their farms. He says healthy soil can protect plants from diseases.
The evidence is at Ed James’ farm in Lake County. James began planting cover crops on 15 acres of Hamlin oranges he’d abandoned because of citrus greening. He’s experienced a dramatic turnaround. So now he’s committed to replanting— because he’s seen it work.
Raymond Conrad, who grows juice oranges and Pomelos in Hillsborough County, planted crop cover on four of his groves after visiting James’ farm earlier this year. He’s already seeing an improvement on two of them. “I’m really looking forward to another year with the cover crops,” he says. “I just have one application of seeds . . . The more you do it, the better it gets.”
Mike Ennis has tried crop covers and compost on his eastern Hillsborough strawberries. “I think it has helped a lot,” he says. “It seems like the fruit tastes a little better.”
by JOSHUA YOUNG
This column is sponsored by Guardian Soil Solutions. BIO: Josh Young is a proud former U.S. Marine and native of Plant City, Florida. His passion for helping growers led him to co-found Guardian Soil Solutions, a full-service agribusiness that focuses on soil health. Josh’s love of agriculture stems from his earliest days on his granddaddy’s farm. For more information about Josh and Guardian Soil solutions, visit guardiansoilsolutions.com.