471: Jake Mowrer on Deep in the Soil.

Digging into the reasons plants flourish.

In This Podcast:

We delve deeper into the relationship between plant roots and healthy soil with Jake Mowrer. He explains why the soil changes when plant roots extend through it’s layers, and lessons learned from the dustbowl times regarding soil degradation. Through his simple explanations, it is easier to understand the nature of soil make-up. And, he shares simple tips on how to improve soil quality.

Our Guest:

Jake was raised on a farm in north Georgia where his family produced broiler chickens and beef cattle.  Growing up, the work was often hard, but the food was always good. Life on the farm is a good way to gain an appreciation for the connectivity of food production in our daily lives. Jake now works with farmers in Texas as a Texas A&M faculty member in the Soil and Crop Science Department, and as an Extension Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to communicate the importance of managing soil as a natural resource.

Listen in and learn about:

    • How we tend to focus on the plant above the ground instead of the roots
    • The first part of a plant that grows is the root system
    • The work to wrest nutrients from the soil
    • Two solids cannot occupy one volume
    • How the plants modify the soil for their benefit

“I encourage listeners to dig up plants and examine the roots”

    • Houston’s soil issues with heavy clays and how plant roots help
    • Shoot to root ratios 
    • The benefits of weeds as primary soil preparation
    • Fitting cover crops in to help during the rainy season
    • Henbit’s natural water thirsty nature as a tool to prepare soil
    • Recommended steps – keep living roots in the soil
    • The role of plant roots in preventing soil erosion 
    • The story of the Great Dustbowl Debate on soil
    • Dustbowl lessons of less tilling and more cover crops
    • What good soil is 
    • Oregon tilth and the organic concepts
    • Friable as a description for soil
    • Keys to building friability 
    • Two important things to know
    • Tillage is double edges sword
    • Root carbon is different than plant top carbon
    • Deep and lateral roots help
    • Rotating root patterns 

As well as:

His childhood memory on food – spinach juice from the can and the time he poured it on his Cheerios

His advice – Read a book by Michael Chabon: Summerland 

How to reach Jake:        

Email: jake.mowrer@tamu.edu


Special thanks to our sponsor:Gemplers Logogemplers.com/urbanfarm (use code URBANFARM01 to save)

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