Soil: The Foundation of Your Garden’s Immunity

soil

You hear the talk about probiotics, vitamin c, and vitamin d. You may even take some of these yourself to boost your own immunity. Did you know that your soil is the immune system of your garden? What are you doing to build that up?

If I had to choose one thing in your garden that helps your garden grow silently and sturdily, that would be your soil. Soil is where your garden plants get their nutrients and water. Just like your own immune system it’s also full of microorganisms, and so it should be.

Small bacteria, fungi, and animals that you can’t see break down nutrients in your soil, recycling larger bits into smaller portions that make them more accessible to plants. If you have enough of these beneficial microorganisms, they prevent your soil from becoming unbalanced and fight off pathogens.

Soil also contains larger animals that you can actually see. These beneficial animals include worms, woodbugs, slugs and snails. Yes, some of these animals eat your vegetables, but they also break soil down into smaller component parts. They also make small holes in the soil that allow water and air to get through to the roots of the plants.

A slugs and snails and woodbugs are not bad for your soil and plants. A lot of them mean that you have an imbalance in your garden (or really, really tasty lettuce!). Other animals that live on and in the soil like spiders and beetles eat animals that try to eat your plants, helping balance out your soil life.

What does healthy garden soil look like? It looks brown and crumbly but not slimy. You can move your hand into it fairly easily. When you put it under a microscope, it is full of creatures. That’s your garden’s immune system functioning at its best.

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