Improve Your Soil 101

by: EJ on 02/23/2017

Welcome to spring!  If you are like me, your fingers are itching to get into the dirt. Creating fertile and healthy soil is fundamental to growing healthy plants. 

Zach Loek's new book, The Permaculture Market Garden: A Visual Guide to a Profitable Whole-systems Farm Business gives an excellent in-depth description of what makes soil, how the natural soil processes work and what you as a gardener can do to support them. Here he shares eight simples steps for improving soil.


Where is the pedosphere and what is it?


Eight simple steps you can take to improve your soil.

  1. Prioritize soil cover with crop or cover crop through seasons
  2. Winter/spring cover crops protect soil life against excessive cold and are established in spring to prevent erosion of soil and nutrients
  3. Summer/fall cover crops protect against excessive heat and moisture loss, and heavy rains
  4. Use green manures, compost and other sources of slow-release nutrients plus organic matter
  5. Inoculate soils with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi to form symbiotic relationships with your crops
  6. Inoculate with other soil micro-organisms to help invigorate the soil food web. Fresh manure in your rotation is a great source of biological activity for the pedosphere.
  7. Work the soil well in advance to avoid last-minute work in poor conditions
  8. Conservatively work soil (see S is for Soil, page192)


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