Feed the soil, not the plant.
It is the health of the soil that ensures a plant's health.
Return to the soil as much as you take out.
These are sayings that the gardener hears often. From the smallest bacteria to hardworking worms and insects, to wild birds - these all make up a part of your garden's web of life. Adding organic soil amendments like compost or vermicompost to your soil is a one-step method to improve soil texture, raise nutrient levels and increase beneficial soil microbes.
Worms, beetles, spiders, centipedes, and other larger soil inhabitants can often be a nusance, but many are vital players in the garden. They help recycle the nutrients in dead plants and animals, grind up plant debris as they feed, and dig tunnels to aerate the soil.
Recent studies have shown that mycorrhizae, a living organism that occurs naturally in healthy native soil, can enhance a plant's ability to take up nutrients, resist disease, and tolerate drought. These microbes form a vital link with plant roots.
Adding organic soil amendments to your backyard soil certainly encourages strong growth of garden plants, but it also improves water quality in the streams and rivers we all share. You can help protect fish and other creatures living in and near ponds and streams.
- organic matter binds soil particles together to help prevent soil erosion
- organic matterholds plant nutrients in the soil to make them available to plants, increasing plant vigor
- organic matter helps break down pollutants traveling through the soil and keeps them out of water resources
- organic matter holds moisture in the soil and helps gardeners conserve water