On the homefront: Soil

From the ground up Soil: a growing medium What is soil? Soil is made up of number of components such as decayed & organic matter, (which makes composting/humus), mineral & rock particles, is one of the most important elements for achieving success in the garden.  Of course, other elements such as location, water, sunlight and maintenance are also important for gardening success. Living organisms, although microscopic, work hard beneath the ground to enrich the soil producing a high quality medium for planting.  One such organism is the Earthworm, which as they burrow, they consume soil, extracting nutrients from decomposing organic matter like leaves and roots. Earthworms are vital to soil health because they transport nutrients and minerals from below to the surface via their waste, and their tunnels aerate the ground. An earthworm can eat up to one third its body weight in a day (1). Other contributing factors for quality soil is air and water. Earthworms are the most easily recognized soil organism and are viewed as a sign of soil health. New no-tillers eagerly document the increase in worm numbers as a sign of improving soil health — and they are right to make that assumption. In fact, worms are often studied as an “indicator species” for monitoring changes in soil quality(2). Types of soils: Sandy soil is made up of large particles, which allow water to drains quickly and can often take valuable nutrients with it. Clay soil is composed of very small particles,have the ability to hold water and nutrients but air cannot penetrate between these spaces, especially when they are filled with water. Poor...

What’s the Latin name

While reading horticulture labels, I became aware that learning the Latin name of a plant might be a good idea. Although it’s not a common language in today’s society, Latin is still used in the horticulture sector, so learning some basic names can help us identify and take better care of them. With a Latin or botanical name, information about a particular plant that can distinguishes it from another plant. The Latin name helps to describe it.  I went looking for websites with horticultural and garden info, specifically sites with Latin plant names, when I happened on BBC Gardening site with a game. I played it.  What is interesting and was quite revealing how much you can deduct from the hints that are given.  Take a chance with this fun game challenge.  To start, click on play game and if you quickly hover over the plant and it will give you hints to help you to identify it from the list. Amuse yourself. Let us know how you did. Click on the link below. http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/htbg/features/latin_names.shtml...