Monday, July 30, 2012

Soil. It's More Than Dirt.

A long time ago, Gary Larson put out one of his famous and memorable cartoons showing cavemen who proposed a Periodic Table. That first element proposed was dirt: 'De'.

The soil in your garden is more than ordinary dirt.

Let's take a look at what garden soil - and good garden soil - really is.

Yes - it is dirt. Dirt is, more or less, various inorganic particulate matter. What that means in ordinary English is that it's made of bits of various kinds of stones and sands and clays. It does contain some minerals and trace elements which will make your garden better. However, on its own, dirt isn't that interesting.

Organic matter is what makes soil really interesting. Decomposed organic matter usually is various decomposed plant and animal matter. Plant matter is, obviously, decomposed leaves and twigs and the like. Animal matter is normally manure - in other words: animal poo. We'll go into more detail about what poo is safe and what you need to do to the different kinds to make it useful. Some kinds, in the 'raw' state will cause more problems than they will solve.

Microbial and other 'live' activity completes the perfect three. In a healthy compost or garden there are many kinds of unicellular, microbial and other microscopic organisms at work. There are also many lifeforms which you can see. Usually, common earthworms are a really good indicator of a soil's health. There are many more. However, in this case, if you have worms, you have something good happening.

If your soil doesn't seem to have these three things happening, then some repairs are needed.

There's more to it than first meets the eye. Check in with us again another time  for some hints about making your soil different - and making it better. More importantly, we can show you how to make it suit the plants and trees and crops you're most interested in.

Until soon!

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