Creating Healthy Soil

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The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service ( has created a series of short videos, Part 1: Soil Health Video Series, about how to create healthy soil and keep your soil healthy and productive.  These videos are shown below. Please also watch the videos abou How to Make Compost.

A message, which runs through the series, is that in order to have healthy soil and high crop yields, farmers should:

  1. Keep their soil covered with organic matter all the time. The soil should never be left bare.
  2. Disturb their soil as little as possible. Seeds should be planted through a terminated cover crop.

The knowledge in these videos will enable farmers to understand how to know when their soil is healthy or unhealthy; how to develop healthy soil; and how by developing healthy soil they can increase their crop yields and crop quality; and also prevent common problems, such as low crop yields; flooding in their fields when it rains; soil compaction; low soil moisture; etc.

Part 2: Wood Chips (For Mulching and Creating Healthy Soil) provides several videos, which will show you how to mulch the soil and restore it’s fertility by means of wood chips.

Part 3:  How to Restore the Soil Fertility and Soil Food Web provides videos by the famous soil scientist, Dr. Elaine Ingham,  which explain what the Soil Food Web is and why restoring it is so important to restoring soil life, soil fertility, and to increasing crop yields and crop quality. These videos are essential knowledge for every farmer.

Part 1: Soil Health Video Series

1.   Soil Health Lesson in a Minute: How Healthy Soil Should Look

Take a minute to learn the characteristics of healthy soil.

2.  Soil Health Lesson in a Minute: Discover the Cover (The Benefits of Cover Crops)

NRCS scientists Ray Archuleta and Jon Stika explain how cover crops promote healthy soil.

Building Organic Matter

Cover Crops

3.  Voices of Soil Health

Farmers across America discuss their dedication to healthy soil and the benefits it provides to our land and agriculture.

4.  Soil Health Lesson in a Minute: Soil Stability Test

NRCS Agronomist Ray Archuleta demonstrates a simple way to test the health and stability of your soil.

5.  Soil Health Lesson in a Minute: Benefits of No-Till Farming

NRCS Agronomist Ray Archuleta vividly demonstrates the consequences of tilling and the benefits of no-till farming.

6.  Soil Health Lesson in a Minute: Engine Energy

NRCS scientists Ray Archuleta and Jon Stika explain how soil is like an engine. Healthy plants start in healthy soil.

7.  Soil Health Lesson in a Minute: Soil Smell

NRCS scientists Ray Archuleta and Jon Stika describe how healthy soil should smell. This is a quick and easy way to test the health of your soil.

8.  Healthy Soils Resist Drought

When it comes to drought relief most eyes look to the sky. NRCS encourages you to consider the solution beneath your feet. Healthy soil retains moisture and naturally resists drought.

9.  Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms

Indiana farmer Dan DeSutter discusses positive outcomes from his conservation practices. NRCS Agronomist Ray Archuleta advises farmers on three basic actions to improve soil health.

10.  Profile in Soil Health: Mike Zook

North Dakota farmer Mike Zook compares healthy, living soil to fallow, dead soil.

11.  Profile in Soil Health: Leon Moses

North Carolina farmer Leon Moses describes the many positive returns of conservation.

12.  Profile in Soil Health: Mike Starkey

Indiana farmer Mike Starkey learned about living soil at a National No Till Conference. Learning about the complex life under his crops inspired him to take care of it and improve soil health.

Part 2: Wood Chips (For Mulching and Creating Healthy Soil)

1.  Back to Eden Gardening

After watching the film, watch the following videos, which will enhance your learning.

2.  Wood Chip Gardening: What I Wish I Knew When I First Started Back To Eden Gardening

3.  What They Don’t Tell You About Wood Chips

4.  How to Get Wood Chips to Breakdown Quickly

5.  Wood Chips Plus Cow Manure

6.  How & Why I Use Wood Chip Mulch in the Garden

7.  Wood Chips for No-till Gardening

8.  Amazing Garden Soil Transformation Using Wood Chips

9.  How Fast do Wood Chips Decompose?

Part 3: Restoring the Soil Food Web

1.  Building Soil Health for Healthy Plants. By Soil Scientist, Dr. Elaine Ingham

2.  How to Restore the Soil Biology and Soil Food Web

3.  Soil Health and the Importance of Mycorrhizal Fungi