Category Archives: Soil Talk

We often talk about cultivating organic soil that is rich in microbial action, and full of organisms. Soil in your garden combines naturally occurring minerals with the various organic and mineral amendments you add. As the organic matter breaks down, it feeds layer after layer of soil biology — moulds, fungi, arthropods, earthworms, and so […]

“Green manure” is the name given to cover crops that are planted for the purpose of adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. These plants can be as effective as animal manure in producing humus, thereby increasing soil fertility and structure. Cover crops are inexpensive to plant, and serve multiple purposes. Best of all, […]

What is manure? Broadly speaking, manure is organic matter. Animal manure is the feces of animals—primarily of livestock like horses, cows, and chickens. It may be “pure,” but it often includes bedding or litter materials like straw or sawdust, in which case it will also contain animal urine. Facts about manure. Depending on the source, […]

The changing seasons, and the longer daylight hours in summer are a result of the angle of the Earth’s axis in relation to the sun. It’s easy to forget how these changes can affect the growth of plants, and in particular, vegetables. Soil temperature plays a very important role in the success or failure of […]

Anything that we add to soil to improve its texture, structure, fertility, porosity, or other qualities, is considered a soil amendment. The use of soil amendments is an ancient art, and the basic premise is that by employing them, pretty much any piece of land can be made fertile. The type of amendment to choose […]

In the cool, damp, and dark season from late fall to early spring, not a lot is growing outside. Even the plants you may have under cloche protection or in the greenhouse will be growing slowly, struggling to turn the low light levels into useful energy for vegetative growth. This is the right time of […]

Soil Blockers have been around for many years, but their popularity is spreading fast, largely by word of mouth. Using this Soil Block recipe and Soil blockers will eliminate the need for plastic seedling trays and insert flats, so they represent an ecologically sound alternative for people who find themselves starting masses of seeds. A soil […]

Here’s a bit of geeky plant science for you. David Bradbeer at the Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust sent me this great image of the roots of white clover. You can plainly see bumps along the roots that are called nodules. Over millions of years, the plant has evolved a symbiotic relationship with certain species […]