In the ground beneath your feet lies a complex ecosystem that is critical for plant vitality and a healthy, sustainable garden. Soil microbes in the area adjacent to plant roots rely on plant-derived chemicals and, in return, provide those plants with minerals, water, and protection against pathologic organisms. But this amazing and delicate relationship is threatened by harsh chemicals and over-vigorous cultivation and can result in a loss of soil integrity and fertility and a reduction in plant vigor. Understanding what is known about soil and its various components can enhance one’s appreciation of plant biology and, ultimately, provide strategies to optimize plant health and productivity. Organic material, minerals, water, aeration, microorganisms, and invertebrates work in concert to optimize soil and plant relationships and are essential for long-term sustainability.
Presenter: UC Master Gardener Volunteer John Fike