Nourishing the soil is the foundation of organic gardening.
Healthy soil is so important because it is the ultimate source of any food production. Most importantly, it provides the optimum nutrients for our food growing. In addition to this however, it helps maintain bio diversity; helps to retain water which in turn creates less run off that can lead to flooding, and also reduces the need to water so much.
When organic gardeners care for their soil, they are nurturing and enhancing the microbial life. Good microbial life enables the soil to function properly. This in turn helps convert organic matter into humus, which will give the soil a good structure, allowing the roots to work their way into the soil to prevent erosion.
Top tips to care for your soil:
Feed it with the good stuff. Artificial fertilisers destroy microbial life. Organic matter, such as vermicast from your worm farm, enhances microbial life which in turn will help your plants to grow.
Death is part of life. If a plant dies, don’t cut it out. Allow it to break down and return to the soil, adding its nutrients back into the mix. It will help feed the next plant
Support and protect its structure. I always apply a good layer of mulch over my soil, as this suppresses weeds, it helps keep the soil from eroding away from the weather and also prevents it from drying out from the sun.
Rotate your crops to get the most out of one area. Different plants should be rotated in the one soil space, because this enables different parts of the soil to be used by the roots of the plants. For example, if you first plant lettuce and follow this with carrots, the root systems are really different and use different depths of the soil. This enables the plants to maximise use of the nutrients in the soil, and it also prevents diseases in the soil.
Give it a rest. Just like every living thing, it needs a break from time to time. Do this by planting a green manure crop to help replenish the soil. Legumes are really good nitrogen fixers and usually deep rooting so help to open up any compaction within the soil. Also when cut down and dug in, they become a great carbon source.
Please remember to take care of your soil, first and foremost. When the nutrients aren’t in the soil you grow in, they won’t be in the food you’ve grown.
Download my Free printable on top 10 tips for worm farms here…