What’s Alive Under Your Feet? Soil Matters.

The two most critical elements to sustaining life as we know it are water and soil.

But when it comes to which one gets the spotlight, water always seems to win. It keeps the upper hand if for no other reason than it washes us off when we get dirty.

Yet, did you know that there are more living organisms in a single teaspoon of soil than there are people on earth? Do an instant replay on that question.

Right beneath our feet lies a diverse, complex, life-giving ecosystem that sustains our entire existence. Soils are alive and as the serious soil nerds point out, we should talk about soil “health” instead of soil “quality.” Anything can have a quality, they say, but only living things can have health.

Healthy soils are critical to mitigating weather extremes.
• They have a greater water-holding and nutrient-cycling capacity.
• In drought, they help sustain plant life and ensure that plant production continues.
• During heavy rainfall, healthy soils help keep water and nutrients in the soil where they belong.
This is why healthy soil is the underpinning of a healthy planet and also the underpinning of a vibrant landscape.

How can you help the soil that’s under your personal care stay healthy? Add compost. Winter can be an ideal time to apply compost, regardless of weather. That means toss it on top of the snow. The early application gives compost adequate time to break down.

Compost on its own is low in nutrient value. It’s not valuable for what it is, so much as what it does — and the doing takes time.

Early composting allows a mellowing process that will result in a homogeneous soil mixture ripe with microbial activity. This produces better results than applications done right before planting.

Compost by nature is all organic, but some compost mixes will have sand and other inorganic fillers. To promote the most organic activity possible, look for compost with little or no fillers as well as one that is well-aged and low in salt.

Those who dig the dirt and all it brings to life might be interested to know that 2015 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Soil, which has in turn been endorsed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Soil Science Society of America.

Soil and water are Mother Nature’s dynamic duo. They create and sustain life. As the stewards of our planet, we are wise when we conserve and protect these life-giving natural resources.

For help on how to improve your soil, please contact Designscapes Colorado at info@designscapescolorado.com or 303.721.9003.ry soil is

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