Soil is not jus a neutral medium in which to grow food.  The nutrient density of the food we eat is directly influenced by the quality of the soil in which it is grown.  Gentle Garden’s is mostly into trees, shrubs and flowers…however, we do have strawberries, blueberries, grape vines, rhubarb and other plants like onions, tomatoes, and lots of herbs.  I really didn’t think too much about the soil until reading more about earthworms and the interconnections of soil quality and food nutrients.  For instance, organisms near the surface of the soil speed up the decay of organice matter like the leaves and the straw I use in mulching.  The rot that takes place of these mulches nourishes the soil down below which give the plants vitamins and minerals…and the larger organisms like earthworms create good soil structure because of their tunneling.  Its an entire underground zoo, from bacteria to moles that keeps Gentle Gardens light and airy through which water and air can move about freely.

What’s the secret to good soil health…Crop rotation is one key…another is cover cropping, which means sowing winter oats or other grass crops after the vegetable garden is done for the year, additional nutrients are added by exposing the soil to different types of plants.  You have to deal with pests by finding other avenues to get the soil back into condition vs using organically approved chemicals.  Mulching and cover cropping works for the weeds, and by being aware that you are leaving the soil for generations to come is the best guide to making a lively zoo in your garden.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 14th, 2011 at 7:15 pm and is filed under Gardening Tips, Healthy Hearts at Gentle Gardens. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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