Gardening with Laurie: Healthy plants + healthy animals = healthy people

By Laurie Garretson
June 20, 2013 at 1:20 a.m.

We all know humans have to eat to stay alive. We all know that our pets have to eat to stay alive and all other animals have to eat to stay alive.

But do we all know that how we eat can determine the health of our bodies? If a human was to live on ice cream alone, that person probably wouldn't be a very healthy person.

All living things need nutrition. All living things need more than clean air, clean water and sunshine to live a long, healthy, active life. Whether we're talking about humans, animal or even plants, the story is the same.

Healthy plants that are eaten by animals will help provide nutrients to the animal. Healthy animals that are then eaten by humans, who also benefit from the nutrients. It all fits into a healthy cycle of life.

Much of the meat and produce we eat today lacks vital nutrients that our bodies crave. This problem all goes back to the beginning of the food chain. Unfortunately, much of our soils have been depleted of the natural nutrients that were once there. We have to add these nutrients back to the soil.

I often have questions from gardeners who want to know why their gardens are not growing well. Many times, these gardeners are not feeding anything to the soil or the plants. Seeds, transplants, bulbs, cuttings or mature plants will all produce stronger roots in a fertile soil. This is why starting any plantings with a good soil preparation is vital.

Aeration and composting the soil are always wonderful places to start any planting area. Proper aeration alone provides many beneficial benefits for all soils and soil life.

Beneficial microbes, earthworms and many other tiny critters that are found in our soils will have much better access to oxygen, which they need to survive. As these underground helpers live in our soils, they digest the organic matter, which in turn helps to create healthy fertile soils. Here's that chain of life again.

Next week, I will discuss the importance of adding fertilizers to the soil and just how important the N-P-K on a bag of fertilizer really is.

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 or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.



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