Updated: Sep 4, 2019
The foundation of a thriving, healthy, eco organic garden is its soil. Monoculture farms and even gardens that plant vegetables in rows, need pesticides, fertilizers, and other natural or synthetic chemicals to produce a yield because they lack biodiversity in its ecosystem and malnourished topsoil. But if you can rehabilitate your soil and plant a wider variety of companion plants, trees, and pollinator-attracting flowers, you will find your garden and outdoor play spaces will be green havens you will want to spend more time in.
The key to healthy soil is a balance nutrients and structures for beneficial bacteria to form. While a truly healthy soil mixture will depend greatly on the type of soil already existing where you live and the type of plants you want to grow, this is a general 5-part recipe that can help you get started.
Mix the soil for your garden with the following ratios:
1 part – Manure
Manure contains many beneficial nutrients for plants like nitrogen, however, too much manure may burn your plants. The best manure to use is cow, chicken, horse, rabbit, or even sheep. Refrain from using cat and dog manure and never use human feces in your organic garden.
2 parts – Activated Charcoal
Charcoal will help decontaminate your garden from existing toxins that may be there from pesticides , herbicides, and insecticides. It also helps to raise the soil pH level and improve circulation to retain moisture and nutrients. Never use barbecue charcoal as it may have additives and chemicals like lighter fluid to help it burn.
3 parts – Sand
Sand is a favorite among traditional gardeners because it helps increase porosity of the soil to create spaces where beneficial bacteria and fungi can thrive. Just be careful because too much may also make your soil resemble something more like concrete.
4 parts – Compost and Organic Materials
If you've already started composting your kitchen food waste in your green home, it makes a great addition to your garden to add nutrients into the soil and attract worms, mushrooms, and other beneficial bacteria that will create a thriving ecosystem in your garden.
5 parts – Clay or Your Existing Soil
Clay alone is dense and resistant to water movement, which is why it needs the previous four ratios to build a healthier soil mixture. But clay is able to retain moisture and is more nutrient-rich than other soil types so it's a great foundation to start off with when starting your eco garden.
We are passionate about the health of Earths soil here at U+ME and we would love to hear from like minded Earth and Soil Lovers! If you have anything you can add to this article please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you.
About the Author
Jan is a travelling yoga teacher and writer who advocates spiritual growth while leading a conscious, earth-centered lifestyle, as close to nature as possible. She currently lives on an island in the Philippines surrounded by tropical jungles and white sand beaches. She and her partner conduct sound meditations and journeys while advocating sustainable and organic gardening practices.