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Here in North Texas, growing things can be difficult, whether it’s vegetables, grass or shrubs. Some of us struggle with black clay soil, while others have sandy soil. This can present challenges to having healthy soil that can grow healthy plants. For good plant nutrition, a diverse and rich soil life is vital. Probiotics has become a widely used term associated with good health by having biodiversity in our human gut. The soil is very similar, and there are several systems working together unseen to our eye that keeps plants nourished and protected.

Healthy soil is a living material, filled with beneficial microorganisms, including bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa. These microorganisms keep soil healthy, decompose organic matter, replenish soil nutrients, form humus, promote root growth, increase nutrient uptake and also break down herbicides and pesticides. Organisms such as earthworms love organic matter too, doing a great job of aerating the soil and providing castings (rich waste).

We keep those essential microbes in our soil by adding rich organic matter. For gardens, compost can by spread on top or worked into the soil. On lawns, it can be done by mulching leaves and grass clippings when possible. Top dressing with organic compost is another option. We can spread compost ourselves or hire a professional. It’s a natural process: organic matter provides food for the microorganisms in the soil that release nutrients like nitrogen into a usable form into the soil.

Adding organic matter is one of the best things to keep soil healthy in the garden and landscape. It loosens up compacted soil, adds nutrients to the soil and retains water, so we can water less. Compost has the unique ability to improve soil physically, nutritionally and biologically. Lawns can benefit greatly from a top dressing with organic compost, especially after a core aeration. Feeding the soil will create a better root environment for healthy plants.

 

For more stories like this read Natural Awakenings Dallas-Ft Worth magazine at NADallas.com

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