Gazing upon an opulent garden, we become witness to the cluster of daffodils, a smattering of coneflowers or lush hostas; a rich array of color and texture. Our noses celebrate each whiff of earthy incense as we feel our bodies and minds responding to this gift of nature. Could there be something missing? Believe it or not, there is something we are unable to observe from way up here: the vibrant underground community teeming below the surface.
As the My Thyme Gardens team prepares a pocket of land for fresh beginnings or renewal, the phrase “full circle gardening” filters through our minds. Our focus to incorporate this into our every move results in the creation of healthy ecosystems above and below the soil. We keep beneficial pollinators (like bees, insects, and butterflies) in mind, as well as all the life underground (microbes, worms, fungi and many more). This fragile, living ecosystem is the core of healthy gardening, and we encourage each organism to reach its full potential! We know that if we are observing robust flowers, shrubs, and trees, our friends underground are thriving.
We call soil a living ecosystem because it is teeming with billions of organisms! Some are invisible to the naked eye like one-celled bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa, while the earthworms, insects, small vertebrates and plants make up the visible portion. The more this population of organisms eats, grows and moves through the soil, the more we benefit.
How do we achieve this?
- No chemicals. Chemical sprays can disrupt this fragile ecosystem by direct contact, or by gradual absorption into the plant and soil. These toxins can stay active, causing a chain reaction to these ecosystems we are trying to foster. They can even be transported back to their homes once the bees finish their pollinating rounds. Yikes!
- Practice hand weeding. To ensure that weeds are under control, remove them regularly. Make sure to pull out the entire root system by hand, and understand how weeds grow.
- “Right Plant, Right Place.” A healthy plant is a happy plant! When under stress, a plant is more susceptible to pests and diseases. Avoid this by choosing a location and environment that they can thrive in.
- “Green” or “Live” Mulch. Instead of leaving spaces around and between ornamental perennials, we can fill them with herbs or greens. This results in a stronger ecosystem of plants, shrubs, and trees that support each other.
- Educate! We use social media and community outreach to share our gardening practices like plant-pollinator health, when to prune, local volunteering projects, the best methods for planting, and much more. Our readers are encouraged to be “stewards of the earth,” spreading techniques that nourish the earth, body and mind.
Incorporate healthy soil practices into your gardening routine as a strong foundation for providing habitat and healthy ecosystems, above and below the soil level! Watch your garden transform before your eyes, and revel in the satisfaction of perpetuating the circle of life.
Until next thyme~
The My Thyme Gardens Team