Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Tune-up- Get your soils in shape

It's like yogurt for your soil. A handful of worm castings adds biology to tired soil. This in turn makes the soils soft as the microbes work over winter to extract nutrients from the plant materials left behind by the summer garden. Microbes also work to incorporate the nutrients clinging to clay into the root zone or rhizospere. We eat Bran and soils eat their own version of roughage - coarse leaves feed fungi and chopped leaves feed bacteria. The choice is yours as you start to think of ways to fix soil going into the dormant season.

I have been making worm castings for years but this fall I bought two kinds of castings to add to my soil because I wanted to have a look at a couple of commercial kinds of worm castings under the microscope and in the garden. I also wanted to supplement what I have in my own worm bin.

First things first. Lawns need an equal amount of bacteria and fungus so I added castings to the lawn. I figured this extra biology would break down any dead or dying lawn debris or thatch. In turn, this will provide a spring flush of nitrogen that lawns need.

Next I added worm castings to my garden beds... just a light top-dress.... a scattering really. This will add to the microbes already present and make for some great soil come spring. My own worm castings are not available in 50 liter bags yet but I do use what I have. I mix mine with the compost I am making and that will be ready soon to dump out and spread on the garden. My yard is going to have so much biology it's a scary thought.

If you think you have added plenty of compost in the past think again... gardens go through an amazing amount and it keeps breaking down and being used by the plants. We also continue to remove clippings and produce so that has to be replaced. Unless you have dream soil that can allow your hand to plunge into it up to your wrist you need organic matter and biology. This is the ideal fall task and if you don't have any buy it!

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