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You are here: Home ›› Press ›› Press Clips ›› Understanding your soil: There's a world of wonder in your dirt

Understanding your soil: There's a world of wonder in your dirt

By Sue Hartman, Seattle Tilth
City Living

Seattle Tilth Garden Educator Sue Hartman is a guest columnist and writes about soil.

As garden educators, we often hear, “I can’t grow anything” or “I need to get rid of my bad soil and replace it.” Yes, sometimes serious problems can arise with the soil in our yards, but it is often not so black and white. The earth under our feet is a complex world made up of many constituents: Microbes, decomposing organic matter, insects, air, water, metals, and rocks and minerals in scores of shapes and sizes. If there is too much or too little of even just one these elements, many plants may grow well, but perhaps not the plants you want to grow. Getting to know the makeup of your soil will guide you in future decisions about your garden. It can also save you money if you realize that you don’t have to throw out all the soil in your yard and replace it with something else! 

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