Secrets of Great Soil
Written by Web Admin | May 30, 2009 |
Bonnie Ownley, University of Tennessee plant pathologist, recommends that gardeners should do a balancing act for good soil.
- Feed the soil:add organic matter in the form of grass clippings, leaves, compost, or old crop material.
- Seed a cover crop: legumes like clover or hairy vetch may produce as much as 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Leave some of the residue of the cover crop on the soil surface. The residue will decay and feed the soil microbes.
- Encourage earthworms.
- Rotate crops from one year to another.
Soil is a world of heterotrophs that break down organic compounds, phototrophs that live on light, and chemotrophs that oxidize inorganic compounds like nitrite, sulfur, and ammonium. Soil breathes, it’s alive.