By Jeff Gillman
Presents info and services on a number of easy gardening questions, masking such issues as soil, water, pests, mulch, vegetation, timber, greens, and garden care.
Read or Download Decoding gardening advice : the science behind the 100 most common recommendations PDF
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Additional resources for Decoding gardening advice : the science behind the 100 most common recommendations
We have both planted plenty of beans and other legumes without adding bacteria and ended up with good crops. In fact, when the soil is high in nitrogen, these bacteria may not even associate well with the plant. A BETTER WAY If you want to grow beans without using a lot of fertilizer in a plot where beans haven’t been grown before, there are various ways to apply the bacteria to the plants. Directions on the packet do need to be followed, but, generally, if the bacteria are anywhere close to where the bean seeds are germinating, the plant will associate with the bacteria and a relationship will form.
A BETTER WAY Tilling is the easiest way to prepare soil to grow plants, but it is not necessarily the best way. Instead of tilling, many gardeners opt to simply amend the soil with organic matter to improve its structure and boost nutrients. Wood chips, bark, straw, and other materials can also be used as mulches on top of the soil to help keep weeds at bay, and as they decompose they will enrich the soil. Choosing to amend the soil with organic matter and 39 mulch and pulling some weeds takes more foresight and work, but it will pay off in healthy soil in future years.
But it can be a problem if you just add peat, for example, to a hole in which you plant a tree. The hole now has different pore spaces than the soil around it, so after a rain or a good watering, water will not be able to move easily from the hole into the surrounding soil. Because of this, you can easily end up with a pool in which the tree literally drowns. There are plenty of ways to get organic matter into the soil without using peat moss, and some are better than others. Compost and mulch both add organic matter to soil, but they also have more nutritional content than peat, which is relatively nutrient free.