Building organic garden soil is the same as working the soil for any other kind of garden except for one thing: you must feed the soil with OMRI Listed products for organic gardening. The ground below your feet is not just dirt but a whole living breathing universe unto itself. Within those soil mineral particles are populations of microscopic bacteria, fungi, yeasts, protozoa and algae. They are collectively known as microbes, which feed on the remnants of dead plants, also known as organic matter. Organic gardens depend on high microbe populations to make plants grow strong naturally, resist pests and diseases, and produce a bumper crop of food or flowers.
Start your organic garden by simply feeding your soil with bagged organic soil amendments such as Black Gold Earthworm Castings or Black Gold Garden Compost Blend. This purposeful combination of organic matter and natural fertilizers can be tilled directly into the soil to rev up its fertility.
If your soil is not perfect, don’t resort to expensive raised beds, because the new soil you bring in is unlikely to hold as diverse a group of microbes as your existing soil does. Just add proportionately more amendments because organic matter is the universal corrector of almost all problem soils.
If you struggle with dense or infertile soils, use Black Gold Earthworm Castings along with coarse organic matter such as Black Gold Just Coir. Coir is a byproduct of coconuts that is slower to break down than compost, thereby holding the soil open so it receives more oxygen and drains better. At the same time worm castings contain natural fertilizer that improves soil fertility the first year until the garden grows a larger microbe population. And you can never add too much. There has never been a problem caused by adding too much compost or too many different quality amendments to the soil. Failure is almost always linked to too little. In other words, you just can’t over-do it.
Avoid high powered synthetic fertilizers because these instant plant foods are like giving a hungry person a candy bar. They will provide immediate energy, but once the sugar is metabolized a crash inevitably follows. A similar scenario occurs with synthetic fertilizers. That sudden rise and fall may actually reduce the microbe populations and disrupt the positive balance within your all organic soil.
That’s why OMRI Listed fertilizers are so ideal for first time organic gardeners. They share the same ease of use that makes synthetic products popular, yet these are approved for organic gardening. The various formulas provide nutritional support to your plants until the microbe populations grow large enough to enhance fertility all by themselves.
As you turn the soil for this year’s launch into the wonderful world of organic gardening, never forget that its all about feeding the soil, not feeding the plant. Nurture this soil environment each year with a new load of organic matter to keep microbes well fed. Late in the season when your first feeding grows thin, offer snacks of natural fertilizers for a late season pick-up. Get that right so your microbe population explodes, and you’ll never go wrong.