I was reading an article about software programming and coding…
Yes…I CAN read, and it doesn’t even have to have pictures! I may be a Luddite redneck, but I’m a curious one.
…and the article was making the point that there is ALWAYS something due…either paying down principle or paying interest…after a project is completed. If you did the project under a tight deadline, down and dirty, there are inevitable “bugs” in the software due to haste. Even working at a slower pace on a project rarely produces results exactly as you want it when it is released and you have to go back and tweak it.
That “tweaking” can be an all at one time thing (paying down principle on what you “owe” to the work) or it can be a bit of a tweak here, a bit more there, always progressing but never quite finishing the work (paying interest on what you owe).
Amending your garden soil is a lot like all that finish work on a coding project you are constantly tweaking but never…quite…finishing. Amending your garden soil is “paying interest”, forever. It is sorta what you owe as a steward of God’s gift, a part of paying back what he loaned us.
I promise…I have NOT been smoking Mary-ju-wana or taking anything hallucinogenic. Think about it. This REALLY does make sense.
Few, if any, of us start with the perfect soil..fluffy, nutrient rich, perfectly Ph balanced, well draining. I know my garden spot was (still partly is) a barren, rocky, gentle hillside that drained water off like rain off a duck’s back. It was poor in nutrients and hard to keep moist.
As discussed in a previous post here, the first part of the solution was raised beds, making getting and keeping good soil and allowing for intensive gardening much easier. I strongly recommend it for everyone regardless of what you start with for soil.
Did I say soil? Let me correct a bit. What most of us start with isn’t soil, it is dirt…and there is a big difference.
Some clown once said soil is what is under your feet while dirt is what’s under your fingernails. Funny I suppose, but inaccurate.
Dirt is a collection of mostly basic mineral based “stuff” like iron and calcium making up things like pebbles and finely ground rock. While the minerals are a necessary component of soil, they play only a small part.
Soil is simply dirt plus added ingredients…added by nature over time, or added by you more quickly. If you want a hazardous waste site for a garden you can turn dirt to a chemical laden characterization of soil in a matter of hours in a single afternoon with a visit to your local lawn and garden center.
But then, if that is what you want you wouldn’t be reading JuicyMaters, now would you?
Soil…REAL soil, not the chemically created freak garbage…is a Thanksgiving dinner table full of “food” for plants; fecal matter from animals either in passing by like the deer that eat your lettuce at night or by you when you add manure, decayed and decaying plant material from plowing under last season’s harvest leavings and from your compost bin. Besides that organic matter soil is a living thing, full of insects, worms (you do encourage your worms, don’t you? It’s the best single thing you can do for your garden) fungus (…fungi?…funguses?…funguy?) and those nasty things…bacteria.
It has been said that soil…not dirt, soil…is an ecosystem all by itself.
And turning dirt to soil takes time. The time can be shortened by composting well, keeping the soil loose and uncompacted (remember those raised beds…and the worms?), and generally keeping it well fed, like any living thing.
So, when first putting a garden in, start off well so you are always “paying” on the principle, not just the interest. When you first break ground, dig your ground deep…a foot is good, 2 feet is better), break up the clods well, and amend the soil…and amend…and amend…
You’ll have a good garden the first year, and you’ll have a great one in the second and for year after year, as long as you remember…amending the soil is a process, not an event.
Next post we’ll answer the question: “OK, I sweated and dug it deep. Now…what the heck do I plant?”
See that Comment section down there at the bottom? Please…use it. Ask questions, correct my misinformation, add to the information you read, or…just say, “Hi! I stopped by to see what was new!”
- Monterey’s mushroom compost is gold in the garden (knoxnews.com)
- Soil an Understanding (suburbhomestead.wordpress.com)
- Compost’s organic enhancement a natural for gardens (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Starting A Vegetable Garden The Right Way (glenns-garden.com)