We are lucky to have Ryan Batjiaka coming to teach a class on Soil Health at Common Ground Garden August 27 at 2pm. Ryan previously worked with Ecology Action (our parent organization) in Willits as the assistant garden manager and has a great interest and knowledge in soil science which he loves to share. Here is Ryan’s preview to the class:
There are a number of ways poor soil health can give you a garden full of sad plants. The biggest problems for many gardens will be inadequate levels of certain nutrients, soil compaction, and low soil moisture. Depending on the severity of these problems, a plant can suffer excessive pest damage, go to seed prematurely, give poor yields, look stunted, and generally fail to become the impressive plant all gardeners hope for. When plants do succeed, producing vibrant blooms or a large harvest, it is because of the sunlight/climate of its location and the soil conditions it was grown in. The difference between a Wow! plant and a sad plant is all about the soil.
One of the best ways to care for our plants is to care for the soil. There are many ways to measure the health of one’s soil. We can look at soil health from the point of view of its physical structure, from a biological standpoint, and from a chemical element analysis. There are simple steps that every gardener can take to evaluate the physical, biological and chemical health of the soil in their own garden. Once we know what is happening in the soil, we can take informed action to improve the soil health. Hopefully the Soil Health class on August 27th will give participants the skills to evaluate and then care for their own soil. We will also talk about steps we can take as a society to care for our planet’s soil health. Preventing climate change, maintaining our ability to eat, and really the entire human race are all depending on healthy soil!
So whether you want to get comments from passers by on how great your garden looks or you want to mitigate climate change with one extremely simple step you can take each day – understanding soil will show you how.