I’ve been thinking a lot lately about soil. I am not a soil scientist….but I am a serious gardener and the granddaughter of farmer who life and livelihood depended on the land and its soil. I believe it is important to understand the role of soil and commit to it protection and improvement. Our gardens health, as well as our own, depends on incorporating practices that nurture our living soil.
At its very base level, soil is the basis of our life here on earth. Many people don’t understand the importance of soil and view soil, like water and clean air as a resource that happens on its own and will be there forever. Unfortunately that is not the case unless we make a conscious decision to protect it.
Soil is not a mere accumulation of particles derived from mechanical and chemical weathering. It is a vital natural material that would not develop or improve if it were it not for the activities of a myriad of bacteria, fungi, worms, and insects.
Soil loss and soil pollution is a serious problem that comes as a result of improper irrigation practices, no proper supply of organic matter in the soil or poorly drained soil can lead to soil pollution. Soil pollution leads to soil with no minerals, microorganism and other organic matter that affects our primary food source.
To me the soil is alive and a vital elements to my health. As a gardener who eats the food I grow, I work hard to build the soil in my garden.
Here are some of the things I work on every garden season:
- Make and use homemade compost
- Use no fertilizers on grass
- Add bark chip mulch on my beds to build microorganisms and gives worms a reason to come
- Plant legumes or nitrogen-fixing plants and add only compost, organic manure or safe fertilizers (no chemicals) this means no Miracle Grow
- Take steps to protect the soil from washing away
- Take steps for water conservation practices
- Create habitat for plants, insects, animals and humans
We pay a high price for our consumerism lifestyle which has exacted a high price from the land in increased soil pollution and acid rain. In large cities, heavy metals and other potentially toxic elements found in our soil are detrimental to our children, pregnant women, animals and our lives. Pollutions in our soil cause weakened immune systems and harms the plant that feed us.
I can’t change what happens in places far from me, but I can change what happens in my own garden.
Will you join me in this effort?
Small House / Big Sky Donna