Gardening from the Ground Up

By Kay Denton

by Kay Denton

Healthy plants come from well-fed soil. Everything you need to know to make sure your dirt can grow your greens.

dentonLet’s dish dirt, shall we? I mean the real thing. The stuff that shows up as muddy paw prints on your newly washed kitchen floor or, if you’re in a life well-lived as a gardener, under your finger nails. Soil is truly a work of natural artistry and fine cooking: Start with a large portion of rocks broken down through climate changes, chemical weathering and leaching, vegetation, living organisms and movement; mix in the leftovers of those previously living beings—both plant and animal—and add water and air. Allow to break down and recombine. The result is topsoil, good for growing a wide array of plants and trees, and offering a cozy home for worms, insects and thousands of microorganisms.

This article was originally published on April 1, 2011.