Healthy Soil Resources

Healthy soil is the key to a healthy environment!

Smart landscaping practices are essential to maintaining a healthy soil.  Native plants, reduced fertilizer use, and an overall consciousness of soil quality are all important factors to becoming a key player in the health of the environment around you.  

There are many excellent resources throughout New Jersey that will help give you a better understanding on how to maintain quality soil, as well as how to make gardening and landscaping much simpler and environment friendly.

Use these tools to help you develop and maintain a healthy soil on your residential, commercial, or agricultural properties!

Maintaining a natural landscape will help prevent erosion and other landscape degradation.

Resources for Understanding and Achieving Healthy Soil

  1. USDA-NRCS explains what is Soil Health?
  2. Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), Soils Matter Get the Scoop Newsletter / Blog
  3. New Jersey Soil Health Assessment Guide
  4. Low Maintenance Landscaping Guide for the Barnegat Bay Watershed
  5. Low Maintenance Landscaping guides – Order a box (50 printed guides) for your Garden Club, Environmental Club or community organization – FREE! Fill out this form – LML Order Form
  6. Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory – Soil Testing Instructions and Kit
  7. Rutgers County Extensions
  8. International Year of Soil – USDA information about the 2015 International Year of Soil
  9. International Year of Soil, NRCS celebrates! The 68th General Assembly of the United Nations declared 2015 the International Year of Soils as a way to increase understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions. Follow the links on the website for soil lesson plans and activities for Educators.
    NRCS Celebrating the International Year of Soils  
  10. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) celebrated the International Year of Soils, in 2015. Educational materials including lesson plans, activities, and information is offered to support IYS.
  11. NRCS soil health initiatives
  12. USDA NRCS Web Soil Survey – access soil maps and data for just about anywhere in the country to use with your students.
  13. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History explores Dig It! The Secrets of Soil. Lesson Plans and activities are offered for Educators. 
  14. Nutrients for Life Foundation offers From the Ground Up – The Science of Soil a website with activities for families and lesson plans for teachers.
  15. Soil Science Society of America – SSSA soil basics
  16. New Jersey Ag Society Teacher Toolbox
  17. Soil Texture Pyramid and Texture Calculator
  18. Soil Texture Ribbon Test 
  19. USDA NRCS On-the-Job Training Modules for those who want to dig a little deeper into understanding soils!
  20. Earthworms as soil quality indicators
  21. Nutrients for Life educational videos Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century
  22. The Nature Conservancy On Solid Ground: Earth’s Soils Reveal Climate, Biodiversity and Food Security Solutions 
  23. Rutgers Agricultural Extension, Soil for Raised Beds – Fact Sheet

Find out more about healthy soil in the context of the Soil Health Improvement Project (SHiP) at Jake’s Branch County Park in Beachwood, NJ.

Press and Media! See soil in the news!

This amazing article, “Healthy Soil Microbes, Healthy People!”, shows the interconnections between soil health and human health!

Soil Health Fact Sheets

The NRCS has also published several different Soil Health Fact Sheets, each providing information for specific land uses.
The PDF for each is available below:

Posts From Our Blog About The Importance Of Soil Health

  • Rutgers Green Infrastructure Guidance Manual for New Jersey

    Rutgers Green Infrastructure Guidance Manual for New Jersey

    Prepared by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, the Green Infrastructure Guidance Manual for New Jersey is intended to provide guidance for the identification, design and implementation of green infrastructure practices throughout New Jersey.

  • Rutgers University – New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

    Rutgers University – New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

    Another resource provided for the residents of Ocean County is the Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension of Ocean County.  The Cooperative Extension provides a wealth of information about natural resources, agriculture, fisheries, the economy and various other important information from New Jersey.  The Extension is also the hub for many environmentally conscious volunteer groups including the Master … Read more

  • 2015 Soil Health Webinar Series

    2015 Soil Health Webinar Series

    Webinar Series #1: Soils 101, best management Practices and the Landscape Recording of First Webinar (September 25, 2015) Presentation by Fred Schoenagel Presentation by Stephanie Murphy Presentation by Eileen Miller Webinar Series #2: Soil Health, Planning, Development & Redevelopment Aspects Recording of the Second Webinar (October 30, 2015) Presentation by Brian Friedlich Presentation by Joseph … Read more

  • Jersey-Friendly Yards Website – Create a Healthy Yard and Garden Using Jersey – Friendly Plants and Practices

    Jersey-Friendly Yards Website – Create a Healthy Yard and Garden Using Jersey – Friendly Plants and Practices

    < Back to JFY Projects Jersey-Friendly Yards,, launched in August, 2015, was created by Barnegat Bay Partnership in 2015, and piloted by Ocean County Soil Conservation District. This website offers homeowners and gardeners simple tools to create a low maintenance, eco-friendly yard and garden. The website features a plant database consisting of over 300 ... Read more

  • Bibliography of Soil Health Resources

    Bibliography of Soil Health Resources

    Bibliography of References The research and compilation of this bibliography was funded, in part, through a Watershed Restoration Grant (CBT # RP07-057) through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is the nonprofit organization that represents America’s 3,000 conservation districts and the … Read more

  • I Heart Soil!

    I Heart Soil!