“There are 500 million to a billion bacteria in a teaspoon of good soil (another reminder of their size). To get a better handle on what that really means, their weight per acre is equal to two cows (if you have good soil and decent cows). That’s a lot of bacteria, considering their size.” – from “Teaming with Bacteria” by Jeff Lowenfels
Did you know that plants form symbiotic relationships with bacteria, like humans do? Without bacteria, we couldn’t properly digest food. In the same way, without bacteria, plants can’t get as many nutrients from the soil.
There are bacteria on leaf surfaces, in the soil, on root surfaces, and even within the plants themselves. Plants will even “farm” bacteria and fungi by producing compounds from their roots called exudates. The exudates help the microbes grow, the microbes make soil nutrients more bioavailable for the plant, and the whole cycle builds upon itself.
Encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria is one of the many ways we can boost the health and nutrient value of our garden crops.
I’m finishing up my taxes this week (yuck), then I’ll be able to dig in deeper to the Growing Healthy gardening and food prep membership site. August V has the framework built, now we need to fill it up and get it ready for you!
We had a spring snowstorm yesterday, and the ducks and chickens were not happy. Today it’s warmer, and the new snow is clearing.
The seed starting shelves are filled with little seedlings, and I’m hoping that the warmer temps are here to stay so we can safely start graduating some cold tolerant plants to the greenhouse soon to make room for the next batch.
It’s also time to get the pruning done in the orchards (as soon as we can get through the snow), and clean the bird houses before nesting season. (Sometimes mice move in over winter, so it’s important to check the houses in early spring.)
It’s almost time to round up the duck patrol for their bedtime story (which is usually along the lines of “once there were good duckies, who got a snack”), so I’d best sign off.
All our best to you and yours,
Laurie (and August IV, August V, and Duncan)
This week’s featured articles…
Edible flowers add color and flavor to the table, plus they make great companion plants in the garden. From apple blossoms to zucchini, we share some of our favorites and how to use them. Learn more about edible flowers here.
Thinking about getting chickens or ducks for eggs? Here are some of the top egg laying breeds.
Maple syrup season is in full swing in many areas, and these maple button cookies are a sweet way to enjoy the harvest. Get the recipe here.
Note – there’s a new feature on the recipes on the website called “Cook Mode”. When you’re using recipes that are in a recipe card on your mobile device, look for the toggle just below the ingredients list that says, “Cook Mode”. This will keep your screen from going dark while your cooking, so you don’t have to wake up the screen with messy hands.