The Importance of Soil Part 2

Last week we discussed knowing your soil and knowing what minerals to add. Today we will continue discussing the importance of your soil and what you need to know.

Feed Soil Organic Material
Other organic amendments – including compost and wood chips – will add minerals and nutrients to the soil. When used, wood chips should not be spread too thick so they can break down quickly. Wood chips and compost promote a healthy biome in the soil, building an ecosystem where worms and other microorganisms can grow and be healthy.

Cover crops are another way to add organic material to soil. They build up oxygen levels, soil fertility and soil structure for microorganism growth. They also loosen up the soil to promote further root growth by all plants.

Most organic amendments will add needed minerals to the soil, especially if the organic material is local to the areas.

Foster Microorganism Life
For example, worm castings – or waste that comes from worms- is one of the most vital additions to any soil. Worms aerate soil and leave these worm castings behind. The aeration allows other life to thrive in the soil. They also help to build an ecosystem that reduces plant disease, attracts useful insects and minimizes pests.

Fungi growing in the soil help extend root growth, and also water and mineral absorption of plants in a symbiotic relationship. The bottom line is that the more alive your soil is, the better plants will grow.

Chemical additives can often kill or damage this delicate ecosystem. However, water and air help to foster it. By finding the right balance to foster microorganisms in the soil, gardeners can be confident that they have healthy soil.

Ensuring that soil is regularly fed by minerals and organic matter in order to create the best soil type for your plants is essential for proper soil building. While soil is hungry, once an ecosystem is created it is easy to maintain and repair to ensure plants are healthy and productive. This is why vegetable gardeners should be soil gardeners first.

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