Feeding the Soil

soil -- Chet turningturning a compost pile at the Miksch Garden

soil -- compostingadding well composted leaves
to the Single Brothers’ Garden

soil -- argiopeArgiope spider on web strung
between bean poles

The Old Salem Horticulture Staff’s philosophy is to “feed the soil” because healthy soil makes healthy plants.

This sustainable practice produces healthy plants which thrive and are best able to cope with or avoid adverse environmental conditions such as drought, insects, and disease.

How to “Feed the Soil”:

amend with compost (decomposed leaves or kitchen waste) for soil nutrition and organic matter; soil structure (or tilth) is enhanced for optimum growing conditions

plant cover crops/green manure crops to improve soil fertility as well

mulch for moisture retention

rotate crops in 3 or 4 year cycles to discourage disease (planning your rotation is a great wintertime activity)

weed by hand or hoe rather than using herbicides

encourage beneficial insects and birds for pest control; an absence of poisons provides hospitable habitat.

Composed of minerals, air, water, organic matter, and living organisms, soil is a living environment and complicated world of its own. “Feeding the soil” enriches soil health and grows a beautiful garden.

soil -- weeding Ellen

weeding by hand