A highlight from Mulch With Bill Fonteno-A Way to Garden With Margaret Roach May 23, 2022
Much better and more accurate, of you gave know, me that another can mental you tell us about image that that sort of that forest was much better imagery? and more accurate, you Well, know, that can you tell us about that that sort of forest imagery? Well, it actually came about to me only recently, I was thinking about when you have to improve these garden soils and urban soils that you would have to build on them. And that was a focus. But I learned recently about the way farmers work on their soils because I heard that when farmers grow things, they always grow two things. They grow their crops, and they grow their soil. And that got to me got me thinking about that process. And that's the way it works. In nature, in forest, it's the leaf litter. It's the leaf and twigs and things that fall to the ground and the plants that die, that are slowly decomposed and are returned naturally to the soil. And so mulching, particularly in organic materials, is just the same kind of process or can be. Instead of thinking of mulching as something just to retire water loss or to mitigate temperatures, it's really also about building soils on a regular natural basis. Right. So. It's like I had composting, but that's, you know, I'm out there with the fork and I'm turning it and it's piling up deep and it's not like that. It's like that Duff layer in the forest, which I thought was so beautiful. And so accurate. So what's the science of what goes on in that layer? Or beneath that layer, what's really happening when it breaks down. Well, the breakdown is all due to consumption of that material by microbes of all different types of bacteria fungi, earthworms, all protozoa, all the different things that are on the microbes that live in the soil. And as they consume those things, it creates the material itself, changes from recognizable pieces like leaves and twigs and things like that, and they become unrecognizable first as they break down. And then they ultimately move into a humus type material, and then from that this black ooey gooey stuff called who mates, which is a collection of all kinds of different chemicals. It tends to emerge. And it's that those mates themselves that begin to ooze into the soil. They gravity pulls them down into the soil. And they are very sticky, as far as soil, soil has a very high binding process to it and attaches itself to these things. And these are so a particles like sand and silt and clay, which are the basis of almost all soils. And as it, as this material attaches to the particles, it literally binds them together.