Making Good Soil
One of the keys to a successful garden is paying attention to the soil. By building good soil the plants will thrive with much less time investment on your part. Focus on the soil year round and your garden will reward you year after year.
The dark , rich, loamy soil of a forest is accomplished over time by the addition of leaves, twigs and pine needles to the top of the ground where they slowly break down and develop a vast web of mycorrhizal fungi that attach themselves to the plant roots and extend their reach for nutrients for miles. Once you get mycorrhizal fungi growing in your garden you will want to stop rototilling so you don’t break them up.
Earthworm and microbial activity in the soil binds soil particles together with their excrement allowing air pockets to form which allows water to flow to the roots. Their nutrients don’t wash out of the ground like chemical fertilizers because they are bound, but are released to the plants roots on demand. A tilthy soil has so much microbial activity that they produce carbon dioxide that needs to get flushed out of the ground by watering. As the water recedes oxygen is drawn in that plant roots need.
Next time you find yourself with nothing to do in the garden, stop and think about taking care of your soil. It’s always a good time of year to add some mulch.