Every spring, I am so amazed how fast the grass turns green and the buds on the trees pop out when they finally decide its time! How do they know? If only I could be that smart. I’ve been putting out some of my plants to get some fresh air and sunlight, and one time I forgot to bring in a couple of tomato plants. They were looking a little sickly before I set them out, but the cold night air pretty much finished them off. Good thing I have lots of extras that are strong and healthy.
I know that most of you missed my soils workshop last weekend, so I’m going to give you the down and dirty on why it’s important to know about these things. All of our food comes from the soil, whether we eat the plants themselves or the animals that eat them. It is the base of the food pyramid. If our soil is devoid of nutrients, so is our food. The great thing is that we can harvest the efforts of millions of micro-organisms to feed our plants. All we have to do is learn how to keep them happy, and they do all the difficult work for us. You can think of yourself as a microb farmer or a fungi wrangler.
Keeping them happy is easy, you just need to give them a good home and feed them. They prefer to live in a moist home, not too wet or too dry, and they don’t like to be disturbed. So don’t step in your garden and don’t dig it up. “How will I tend my plants?” you might ask. If your garden is more than four feet wide, create permanent paths. While you’re at it, make sure your garden beds are higher than the paths and surrounding soil. Raised beds are significantly warmer and your micro-organisms and plants will all like that. Then, put a roof on your bed by mulching with straw, leaves, grass clippings, or some other organic material. This will keep the moisture in and sunlight out, with the added benefit of not letting weed seeds germinate.
What do you think your happy herd likes to eat? Organic matter! You can just tuck your compostables right under your mulch, even mix them into the soil a bit, and your friends will feast like kings and breed faster than rabbits. The more varied the diet, the better the nutrition for your plants. It’s all one big cycle! If you go to the ocean, collect a big bag a seaweed, if you know a brewer, get some spent grain. The only things they DON’T like to eat are pesticides, and wood ash. And don’t feed them synthetic fertilizers like miracle grow! It’s like us eating a bunch of refined sugars and then crashing. Even worse, it puts the whole system out of whack.
So, if you don’t have a garden yet, or want to expand, come to my Instant Gardens workshop on May 15th and learn my proven method for creating fabulous gardens teeming with micro-organisms! E-mail me or call 563-1119 to register, and if you want to come but can’t make it on the 15th, let me know because I may do a repeat on another day.