Are You A Dirty Gardener?
Now, I don’t just mean a muddy one, because after all, that is pretty easy to do while working in the soil. I mean a dirty gardener, as in, do you make sure your soil is rich in bacteria before starting ANY kind of seed? If you answered no, then you should make it your mission to be a little “dirtier” in the garden this year, with the help of healthy bacteria. I’ll explain the benefits of bacteria-rich soil below and how you can make that happen in your own backyard.
Microbes or good bacteria are a necessary component of a thriving ecosystem. These “good” bacteria and fungi work with plant roots to help plants get the necessary soil nutrients. Not only that, but the good bacteria can help plants protect themselves from the bad.
Did you know that plants of the legume family need soil bacteria to extract necessary nutrients from the air? It’s true. Soil bacteria interacts with beans, peas, locust, and clover trees and all need good soil bacteria to extract the nitrogen they need to grow from the air. As any gardener knows, nitrogen is a necessary soil nutrient, but one that can be hard to infuse in the garden in the correct amount. Just make sure you have plenty of healthy bacteria, instead!
Good bacteria is a necessary component of a healthy compost pile. After all, it would be nearly impossible for any organic material to break down in the garden without bacteria. But the bacteria isn’t just good for your compost pile! It’s good for every other aspect of your garden too. An easy way to work that bacteria into your garden is to mix a layer of compost into your soil at the start of every season. Every good gardener knows the importance of compost.
It’s true! Good bacteria is a way to give healthy plants a “leg up” when it comes to warding off the bad stuff. However, regular crop rotation will also help keep the bad stuff at bay. I love preventive pest control tips just like this!
To cultivate more healthy bacteria in your garden, gardeners can do the following things:
-Add a layer of compost or mulch to the soil every season. (Both are rich in bacteria!)
-Create your own probiotics using molasses, water, and dirt. Find the full tutorial here.
-Incorporate worms into your garden. Really! Worm castings (or poop) are full of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Purchase a container at a local fish bait stand!