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Put the Life Back Into Your Soil

Follow these 7 steps for stronger plants and a healthier ecosystem

Fine Gardening – Issue 172

For many decades, soil science focused on the physical and chemical properties of the earth beneath our feet. Researchers explored the importance of key plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. They observed how factors like soil texture and pH affect plant growth. Because of this important early work, today’s farmers and gardeners have access to reliable tests and data to help them decide which plants to grow and which amendments to use to correct deficiencies.

In recent years, however, researchers and growers alike have turned their attention to the robust and interconnected web of life that inhabits healthy soil. The more we learn about the organisms that live in this hidden ecosystem, the more we understand the profound positive impact that biological activity has on soil’s physical structure and plant health.

Luckily, it’s easy for home gardeners to support the diverse community of soil life that…

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