Books by A.O. Kime
"Metaphysical realities in America's politically-challenged democracy"
"A sagacious accounting of the Stone Age and the beginnings of civilization"
U.S. colleges and trade schools
Odd combination of directories you think? See 'faces'
A.O. Kime Articles:
Shoofly Village ruins
Stone Age history
Stone Age timelines
Stone Age tools
Dynamics of now
Evil (nature of)
Gift of life
Light (nature of)
Time (nature of)
Curse of science
Int'l Criminal Court
Rule of law
Keeping Soil Healthy
by Sintilia Miecevole
Soil is a composition of weather-beaten rock, minerals, decayed
plant materials and other organic ingredients. All this takes a
long time to develop, but can be damaged by our action or
neglect in a single season.
Plants can obtain nutrients from the soil using their roots and change them to usable materials to grow new roots, leaves and flowers.
All gardeners are to be custodians of the soil, taking the time to replace food and other elements as they are used. We need to treat it like we want to be treated, not like dirt.
Healthy soil should contain a mix of air, water, nutrients and organic matter. We can protect this mixture by:
Adding organic matter on a regular basis is probably one of the most important things we can do. Adding compost, cover crops and animal manure can do many things:
+ increases the soil's capability to hold nutrients.
+ makes food available to plants over a longer period of time.
+ lessen the amount of nutrients lost by erosion or leaching.
+ provides micro-nutrients that are needed by plants in small amounts.
+ release nutrients already in the soil by increasing the action of beneficial microorganisms.
+ increases the water-holding capacity for sandy soils.
+ increase the drainage of clay soils.
+ saves money.
Do not apply fertilizer to lawns until we get a good soaking rain, and for the best, safest, long-lasting results use organic fertilizers. The wet soil puts the nutrients into a solution and helps distribute the nutrients to the plant roots to be absorbed.
The ability of soil to drain water is important. But when you read phrases like "plant in a well-drained soil" or "does not like wet feet", they are talking about the plant's need for air. The roots of plants require oxygen and any soil that is waterlogged will be lacking oxygen.
Many plants will put up with high moisture-conditions during the growing season, but when the plants are dormant the same conditions may kill them. By improving the drainage the plant will have a better growing environment.
Another problem is soil becoming compacted by tractors and other equipment or just by tilling it year after year. You will find soil compaction in most soils, from gardens to farm fields.
Tilling the soil when it is too wet will clump and ruin the
composition of the soil. This condition takes a long period of
time to bring it back to health. To tell if the soil is too wet
take a handful and squeeze it, if it crumbles in your hand then
it is ready to till but if it clumps then it is too wet. Some
people now believe that tilling at all is not good for the
structure of the soil. It exposes the helpful microorganisms to
the environment and they are destroyed.
Gardeners may wonder if it is best to till the garden in the fall or spring. Tilling the soil in the fall has advantages over springtime. When spring arrives it allows for earlier planting since the basic soil preparation is done. Tilling in the fall allows a large amount of organic matter to be turned into the soil and start decomposing because the microbes are active currently.
An excellent source of organic matter is the fall leaves. Try
tilling a thick layer of leaves into the soil this fall and by
spring it will have decomposed.
Fall is a good time to test your soil and should be done every couple of years. In conclusion, doing all the previous steps should be done the organic gardening way. It's back to basic.
About The Author: Join Sintilia Miecevole, host of budsgardening.com for a great resource site all about gardening. Enjoy everything from news, tips, design, advice and landscaping to seeds, soil, flowers, water gardens, perennials and organic gardening. Be sure to visit www.budsgardening.com and enjoy! (note: website no longer exists)
Last modified: 03/13/16