Creating Living Soil


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about soil. I am not a soil scientist….but I am a serious gardener and the granddaughter of farmer whose life and livelihood depended on the land and its soil. I believe it is important to understand the role of soil and commit ourselves to it protection and improvement. Our gardens health, as well as our own, depends on incorporating practices that nurture our living soil.
At its very base level, soil is the basis of our life here on earth. Many people don’t understand the importance of soil and view soil, like water and clean air as a resource that happens on its own and will be there forever. Unfortunately that is not the case unless we make a conscious decision to protect it.
Soil is not a mere accumulation of particles derived from mechanical and chemical weathering. It is a vital natural material that would not develop or improve if it were it not for the activities of a myriad of bacteria, fungi, worms, and insects.
Soil loss and soil pollution is a serious problem that comes as a result of improper irrigation practices, no proper supply of organic matter in the soil or poorly drained soil can lead to soil pollution. Soil pollution leads to soil with no minerals, microorganism and other organic matter that affects our primary food source.
To me the soil is alive and a vital elements to my health. As a gardener who eats the food I grow, I work hard to build the soil in my garden.

Here are some of the things I work on every garden season:
Make and use homemade compostUse no fertilizers on grassAdd bark chip mulch on my beds to build microorganisms and gives worms a reason to comePlant legumes or nitrogen-fixing plants and add only compost, organic manure or safe fertilizers (no chemicals) this means no Miracle GrowTake steps to protect the soil from washing awayTake steps for water conservation practicesCreate habitat for plants, insects, animals and humans
We pay a high price for our consumerism lifestyle which has exacted a high price from the land in increased soil pollution and acid rain. In large cities, heavy metals and other potentially toxic elements found in our soil are detrimental to our children, pregnant women, animals and our lives. Pollutions in our soil cause weakened immune systems and harms the plant that feed us.
I can’t change what happens in places far from me, but I can change what happens in my own garden.
Will you join me in this effort?
Small House Under a Big Sky
Garden bed mulched with bark chips to hold in water with stones around it to hold in soil and mulch.
Garden bed mulched with bark chips to hold in water with stones around it to hold in soil and mulch.
Pea gravel lets water flow though it to get to the soil below stone boarder holds in pea gravel and water.
Pea gravel lets water flow though it to get to the soil below stone boarder holds in pea gravel and water.
Our entryway garden with cement sidewalk and blocks at the end that boarders the gravel driveway.
Our entryway garden with cement sidewalk and blocks at the end that boarders the gravel driveway.
The garden at the back of the three season porch. his garden has bulk chip mulch and stones to hold moisture and soil in the bed.
The garden at the back of the three season porch. his garden has bulk chip mulch and stones to hold moisture and soil in the bed.
Low growing creeping phlox grows well in the pea gravel and adds a pop of spring color.
Low growing creeping phlox grows well in the pea gravel and adds a pop of spring color.
Daylilies and clematis under the trellis.
Daylilies and clematis under the trellis.
Birdbath, bark chips and grasses creates a tiny habitat for birds.
Birdbath, bark chips and grasses creates a tiny habitat for birds.

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2 of 16 comments
  • White Oak Studio Designs
    on Jul 10, 2014

    So true! I am very "into" building healthy soil. Horse manure compost and bark chips are my secret weapon. Thanks for viewing and commenting!

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    on Jul 10, 2014

    Here's a book that might interest the soil lovers and builders out there.... The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, andFoodies Are Building Healthy Soil to Heal the Planet by Kristin Ohlsonand published by Rodale, 2013.

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