Easy soil microorganism test
Did you ever wonder
whether you have a healthy microorganism population in your soil?
There's a simple way to check. Assuming you haven't tilled up the ground
since last year's garden, you can go out at this time of year and look for stems of fall broccoli.
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usually find one or two broccoli stems just barely standing at this
time of year, with the rest having dissolved completely into the soil.
When I break the remaining stems apart, I see that the once-woody debris
will soon have disappeared into the ground as well. On the other hand,
if I still saw lots of standing broccoli stems when the time came to
plant peas and cabbages, I'd start worrying that I'd done something to
get the microorganism population out of whack.
Of course, you don't have to plant fall broccoli to test your microorganism levels. Cover crops
also do a fine job as well. In beds where I planted oilseed radishes
last fall, there's now almost no debris left on top of the ground,
simply a nearly weed-free patch of soil waiting for the spring onion
planting. Oat beds tend to still have some debris left at this time of
year, but even that will be largely gone by our frost-free date.
I'd be curious to hear
from our readers. Do your fall broccoli plants melt into the ground by
early April (or by May for those of you who live way up north)?