Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Plants Eat {Did You Know Tuesday}

   You have probably heard people say: "Mix the compost down deep into the soil and always soak the plants well when applying fertilizer to help it get down to the roots."
   Hold it! Compost and fertilizers (I'm biased to natural ones only) are great for the plants, but there's a catch. Do this. #1 Dig a 3 foot hole somewhere NOT in your garden. #2 look at the layers of dirt. #3 Make note of what layers look like they have the most nutrients and goodies for the plants....wait a minute! The dirt close to the top (aka "topsoil") is much more rich looking than the other layers. They other layers seem to get more and more progressively nutrient-less looking. Aha! Nature strikes again! Plants that grow naturally have these layers of dirt - I bet God put them there for a reason! In actuality, plants have their nutrient-gathering roots right under the surface of the soil. So, when leaves fall on the forest ground - and when animals poop! - it all decomposes on the TOP of the dirt. So don't worry if you don't have a monster for a rototiller - all you really need to do is break up the very top surface to pull up some of the weeds and to loosen the soil to plant the seeds in.

   As an extra tidbit know that each footstep in the garden applies 6-10lbs of pressure per square inch, so another reason that people like to rototill deep is to break up all the hard layers. Need a suggestion? Either rototill it, or have set pathways that you use every year and you won't scare away your worms!

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