Organic Gardening: Its mostly about the dirt

Yesterday, I was part of a panel at the American Film Institute in downtown Silver Spring talking about community gardens and organic gardening with to a group of high school students from Montgomery Blair and Sherwood.

Students watched a documentary about community gardens in DC (Check out:’A Community of Gardeners’ and then asked some great questions.

One, about how to fertilize an organic garden, inspired me to spend a week talking about the fundamental feature of organic gardening- the soil.

I told the students that 90% of organic gardening is about the soil. I don’t know if that percentage is accurate, or if the role of soil in organic gardening is even something you can quantify in that way. What I do know is that in the same way a solid foundation holds up a house, a healthy soil gives plants vigor to grow strong and withstand the threats of pests and disease.

The question about how to fertilize an organic garden requires a little understanding of the chemistry of soil, a little understanding about geology, and, my favorite element, a little understanding of the biology of soil.

Growing season is here. To get you started off right, the Backyard Bounty Blog or our Facebook Page will be posting entries in a one week tutorial about how to grow organically by building a healthy soil.