Let's Talk Dirt, Year of the Soil

How does your non-GMO garden grow?

Planting an edible garden is a rewarding way to know your food. And one of the most important steps in ensuring you have a successful garden is assessing the quality of your soil. I used to think I had a black thumb because I would spend all this time planting my seeds, watering them, and willing them to grow; only to find that the beautiful harvest in my mind turned out to be limp little sprouts straining to break the surface. Come to find out my soil was so lacking in nutrients that it was no wonder nothing ever grew. Soil health is important both to the productivity of our gardens as well as the well-being of our planet.

Is Your Soil Healthy?

The easiest way to know if your soil is healthy is to look at it. The darker the soil, filled with earthworms or fungi, the more organic matter it is likely to contain.

Water test: pour water on the soil. If it drains quickly, it probably is sandy soil; clay soil will take longer to soak in; water that pools on the surface indicates soil compaction.

Squeeze it: clay soil will remain sticky and hold its shape; peaty soil will feel spongy; sandy soil will feel gritty; silty soil will feel smooth and hold its shape.

Get a pH testing kit: plants favor soil with a pH between 6.5-7 (optimum environment for nutrients and minerals), pick up a testing kit at your local garden center.

Once you have determined what type of soil you have, you can plant to its strengths.

One Way to be Sure Your Food is Non-GMO

No matter where you live or what shade of green your thumb is, you can start growing your own food. Backyards, rooftops, containers, balconies – look around and fill your space with seasonal fruits, veggies and herbs. I can tell you, one of the greatest flavors on earth is a ripe tomato, picked off your own vine, sweeter and juicier because you have the pride of GROWnership!

Resources

For help in figuring out when to plant your edible garden, check out this helpful chart. Don’t have space at home? Find a local community garden near you, by visiting the American Community Garden Association.

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