Why We Grow in Soil

lettuce growing in soil. Planted Places believes that growing in organic soil is the best way to grow healthy food.

Many years ago, I discovered that introducing more plant-based recipes into my diet is what healed my health and rid me of the dreaded IBS.  I deliberately sought out leafy greens and herbs grown organically in soil. This opened my eyes to the importance of what you eat really matters and where it comes from is even more important. 

When I started this company, I knew right away that we would teach people to grow in living soil because of this deep connection between soil and our health. Healthy soil feeds the plants which in turn feeds us.  But did you also know that there are links between our own gut health and soil health?  

When we grow our own leafy greens and herbs and harvest them just before we eat them, they're as fresh as possible. The nutrition is never depleted from the leaves.

Christy Ross, CEO and Founder of Planted Places.She is posing near a Planted Wall Vertical Gardening System

The Connection Between Soil and Our Health

Our gut health and soil health have something in common. It’s called “microbiome.”

In the simplest terms, a microbiome is a community of microorganisms, such as the good and bad bacteria that live in our guts. Our gastrointestinal tract is a microbiome. Anytime I’m prescribed an antibiotic that wipes out good and bad bacteria, my healthcare provider suggests taking probiotics to repopulate my gut with good bacteria, underscoring the importance of the good bacteria for the immune system.

Soil also has a microbiome, and research suggests that healthy soil can benefit the human microbiome.

“The soil contributes to the human gut microbiome—it was essential in the evolution of the human gut microbiome and it is a major inoculant and provider of beneficial gut microorganisms. In particular, there are functional similarities between the soil rhizosphere and the human intestine. In recent decades, however, contact with soil has largely been reduced, which together with a modern lifestyle and nutrition has led to the depletion of the gut microbiome with adverse effects to human health.” [Source1]

In a 2022 study published in PeerJ, researchers compared farms practicing regenerative farming, which focusses on healthy soil, to conventional farms to see if there was any difference in the crops’ nutritional profiles. Turns out there was!

The researchers wrote, “Despite small sample sizes, all three crop comparisons show differences in micronutrient and phytochemical concentrations that suggest soil health is an under appreciated influence on nutrient density, particularly for phytochemicals not conventionally considered nutrients but nonetheless relevant to chronic disease prevention.” [Source2]

Daphne Miller, a family physician, clinical professor at University of California at San Francisco, and author of “Farmacology: Total Health From the Ground Up” penned an article for The Washington Post in 2019 titled, “Uncovering how microbes in the soil influence our health and our food.”

In the fascinating piece, she wrote “Soil microbes help regulate our emotions and immune response. And they also play a key role in determining the nutrient content of our food.”

I truly believe that growing in healthy living soil is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and the planet.

Growing in Healthy Soil is Also Good for Our Planet

Producing nutritious food is a benefit to growing plants in healthy living soil. But there’s an even bigger picture. Soil stores carbon and removes CO2 from the atmosphere.

Studies show that healthy soils can offset climate change. So, when we grow fruits and vegetable in healthy soil, we’re offsetting our carbon footprint and making a difference for the planet.

Ready to Grow Lots of Healthy Food in Soil? Try the Planted Wall

So, if we've convinced you to grow food in soil, consider our Planted Wall Vertical Gardening System. It has a small footprint (21in wide x 68in tall), is moveable, and it can grow up to 36 plants! The Planted Wall is also self-fertilizing and self-watering, so there's less work on your part. 

Plus, it comes paired with seedlings, fertilizer, soil amendments and, you guessed it, healthy living soil!

image shows a Planted Wall with leafy greens and herbs in full bloom.

Source 1: 

Blum WEH, Zechmeister-Boltenstern S, Keiblinger KM. Does Soil Contribute to the Human Gut Microbiome? Microorganisms. 2019 Aug 23;7(9):287. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms7090287. PMID: 31450753; PMCID: PMC6780873.

Source 2:

Montgomery DR, Biklé A, Archuleta R, Brown P, Jordan J. 2022. Soil health and nutrient density: preliminary comparison of regenerative and conventional farming. PeerJ 10:e12848

Post by Christy Ross, CEO and Founder of Planted Places