Gardening with Stu – Improving Soil

 

This month let’s dig a little into the exciting world of soil. This elemental foundation of our material existence is very much under appreciated and even has negative connotations, what parent wants to see their child soiled or treated like dirt. The health and vitality of our bodies is directly connected to the foods we consume and soils which those plants are grown in. That’s why a lot of people have been keen to re-establish a more direct connection between themselves and their food, they’re tired of limp, sorry looking veggies or rock hard tasteless fruits that were picked way before the natural ripening process had time to work its magic.

So the secret of healthy plants is very easy in theory; healthy soil, sufficient sun and water. Healthy soil is bursting with micro and macro organisms, it drains well but also has good water retention properties and it smells good. How to build a healthy soil, this is the practical challenge. Unhealthy or depleted soils can be revitalised through the addition of organic matter. Quality animal manure, sugarcane mulch, seaweed, compost or even grass clippings, any of these can be added to improve the soil. Fresh cow manure is the best and can be used liberally. Horse manure is next best, if you’re digging it directly into the soil for immediate planting avoid getting the stable ones with all the pine shavings or sawdust in it, these should be composted first or put on the soil surface around established trees. Chicken manure is another option, this stuff is highly concentrated and needs to be applied very cautiously, it’s also good to compost first. If don’t have horses or cows in your area and you’re going to buy from a store “Dynamic Lifter” is probably your best option, it’s pelletised chook poo. Even just a covering of mulch can work wonders on improving plant health.

Happy Gardening!

Stu

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