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. Low Maintenance Landscaping Guide for the Barnegat Bay Watershed
  2. New Jersey Soil Health Assessment Guide
  3. USDA-NRCS explains – What is Soil Health?
  4. Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), Soils Matter Get the Scoop Newsletter / Blog
  5. Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory – Soil Testing Instructions and Kit
  6. Rutgers County Extensions
  7. 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.
  8. NRCS soil health initiatives
  9. USDA NRCS Web Soil Survey – access soil maps and data for just about anywhere in the country to use with your students.
  10. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History explores Dig It! The Secrets of Soil. Lesson Plans and activities are offered for Educators. 
  11. Nutrients for Life Foundation offers From the Ground Up – The Science of Soil a website with activities for families and lesson plans for teachers.
  12. Soil Science Society of America – SSSA soil basics
  13. New Jersey Ag Society Teacher Toolbox
  14. Soil Texture Pyramid and Texture Calculator
  15. Soil Texture Ribbon Test 
  16. USDA NRCS On-the-Job Training Modules for those who want to dig a little deeper into understanding soils!
  17. Earthworms as soil quality indicators
  18. Nutrients for Life educational videos Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century
  19. The Nature Conservancy On Solid Ground: Earth’s Soils Reveal Climate, Biodiversity and Food Security Solutions 
  20. 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

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • I Heart Soil!

    I Heart Soil!

  • New Jersey Soil Health Assessment Guide

    New Jersey Soil Health Assessment Guide

    NJ Soil Health Assessment Guide is offered as a tool for homeowners and gardeners to assist in assessing the health of their soil. Managed carefully, healthy soils support local communities through encouraging plant and animal production and sustaining water resources for future generations. Basically a healthy soil surface would consist of about half mineral and…