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Gardening with Laurie: Consider composting

March 27, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 26, 2014 at 10:27 p.m.


Those of us who are concerned with growing healthy plants are usually concerned with getting the most out of our plantings by using natural fertilizers and pesticides.

We choose to do without synthetic man-made products as much as possible. If a time does arise when the natural way just isn't helping, then we try one of the safer man-made products.

A true organic gardener starts with the health of the soil. So, often I have questions from people about plants that just won't grow. With a few questions, I'll find that their soil needs help. There are not many of us who start off with a rich fertile soil.

A fertile soil will be loaded with trillions of tiny organisms, earthworms and many other organisms that help to feed our soils. All these wonderful little organisms are what help turn organic material into nutrients for all our plants.

The way for us to get all these beneficial things into our soils is to add organic matter. As we add leaves, grass clippings, shredded paper and any other organic material, all the beneficial organisms will multiply and can turn this matter into humus. All this life we have added to the soil begins to change its environment to the beautiful, healthy soils we want.

As you begin to add organic materials that break down and become compost or add already made compost to your soil, you find the soil really does come to life. It seems that nature meant for plant roots to grow in decaying matter from the previous seasons. Like the ground in a forest, all these natural materials provide just what soils need to feed the plants.

It is a wonderful time of the year to start your own compost pile or to purchase some already made. A thin layer of compost over your lawn grass and added to all your gardens, along with an organic fertilizer will do much to bring your dead soil back to life.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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