Supporting Your Roots

Supporting Your Roots

March 24, 2011

See also: All About Roots

1. Forget the chemicals. Organic soils encourage a greater balance and diversity of microbes to serve plants and better control pathogens. 

2. Add organic matter.  Compost, cover crops, manure, and mulches offer a habitat beneficial to soil creatures. The microbes that specialize in decomposing organic matter will unlock the nutrients in these materials to fertilize your plants.

3. Rethink the tiller. Tilling disrupts soil communities and destroys fungal networks. 

4. Consider heirloom vegetables. Try planting varieties that preceded the development of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Just as some newer cultivars have less flavor or fewer nutrients, they also may have lost their ability to attract as many plant-supportive microbes.

5. Look forward to a future full of better garden plants. Breeding programs might eventually focus on developing those plants able to attract the microbes that help them become both beautiful and robust.

This article was first published in Garden Design April 2011