Going green in the garden is becoming more and more important to us as we learn additional dangers of pesticide use. To grow a good garden, we must preserve the life in the soil. Healthy soil is full of microorganisms which help to grow more vigorous plants. Too much fertilizer can kill microorganisms. To grow healthy plants, whether your passion is food crops or beautiful ornamentals, you must build up the soil.
- Add compost--composted manure contains much more beneficial microorganisms than just regular compost.
- Mulch with organic or plant based mulches (shredded bark or leaves).
- Believe it or not, applications of horticultural molasses will feed the microorganisms.
- Cornmeal added to the soil feeds a certain fungus that helps fight plant diseases. Isn't that fascinating? Now I know what to do with that cornmeal I forgot about in the back of the cabinet.
- While we are feeding our soil microorganisms, we must also remember to protect them.
- Synthetic fertilizers harm the soil organisms and should be avoided.
- Over tilling the soil breaks down the soil ecosystem, so add mulch instead. I know I mentioned mulch already, but application of good organic mulch is important enough to mention twice. Mulch attracts the soil critters like earthworms who will till the soil for you.