soil is sacred, from which all living creatures sprang and to whom they all return.
one of natures natural cycles.
soil the most important aspect to health, healthy soil gives healthy plants, healthy plants give healthy animals which in turn gives us humans true health through a healthy food chain.
soil needs to be alive with diversity and microbes as does the solar system as does our gut flora, the whole universe is intertwined and its a beautiful thing indeed.
"soil is the creative material, of most of the basic needs of life.
creation starts with a handful of dust"
-william A. Albrecht
soil needs to also be full of minerals as the plants uptake these minerals and share them on to us or animals when we consume them, if the soil is lacking in important minerals the plant cannot consume them therefore will not contain them, hereby explaining the very important need for us to tend our gardens with compost, vermipost and composted manure to nurture the microbes and fungi in our soil and grow healthy humus, and in return for that effort is great health.
in the garden you are after a good quality dark soil, loamy soil that can be molded into a ball and hold its shape and a good half a meter of it, most people do not have this kind of soil in there backyard but the good thing is you can build good soil whether you have clay based soil or sandy soil, with plenty of quality compost, and what i mean by this is homemade compost of recycled organic matter is best, but if that is unavailable by all means buy a good quality organic compost that hasn't been heat treated (killing all good bacteria and microorganisms that grow in the process of composting)
there are many cheap compost out there with artificial fertilizer in them these are dead soil lacking diversity and microbes you will in the first year get good growth but artificially from the fert,( which does not equal good health) from there after, growth is poor and soil is dead unless you add back with living compost.
now once you have composted be sure to mulch your garden to protect these microbes that are very sun light sensitive.
the sun and the soil should never kiss.
if you look at natural forest this statement is true the leaf litter is constantly protecting the forest floor from the sun and is a natural compost system in its own special way.
I've experimented with many different mulches.
hay = full of grass seed
wood chip = good but takes a lot of nitrogen from the soil
pea straw = nitrogen fixing but breaks down fast, birds take it for nesting
pine needle = very acidic
autumn leaves = slow break down but farms slugs
animal wool = very slow break down but slugs and snail hate it, bonus.
seaweed = the best is full of minerals and is a natural fertilizer, be sure to wash the salt off.
the best way to learn is to experiment yourself, my garden is one big experiment of trial and error, and i'm sure it will continually teach me til the day i return to the soil.
the soil pH is very important most veges grow around 6-7 you can get test kits to test your soil, keeping in mind artificial fert seems to acidify the soil. lime is a very good way to bring the acidity down if it is to high.
cover crops are another good way to build healthy soil and add nitrogen back to the garden, mustard, lupins, oats are all good suggestion to grow and dig in just before they flower adding quality humus to the garden. especially good as crop rotation but more on that later.
i think i have explained enough about good soil, i could go on and on and indepth about soil health, but ill save that for one day when i write a novel, for now you know enough on how to make good soil so we can begin to think about growing, nutritious healthy food and medicine.
watch this space i will be posting recipes for homemade fertilizer and building a nutrient dense compost.
here are some useful links if you want to learn more in depth on healthy soil.