Building Healthy Soil: There’s a Lot to Learn

Healthy soil is the key to solving many environmental problems we face today. Healthy soils clean and hold water, prevent runoff from rain and snow, re-mediate pollution, sequester carbon to reduce global warming, and grow resilient plants that are healthy for all the creatures that need them.

jar test of soil

Knowing the composition of soil helps gardeners understand how to improve it. Have you ever done the jar test on your soil?

No wonder we gardeners love to sink our trowels (or our hands!) into good soil and enjoy the feel and smell of it. While we may know what healthy soil looks like and feels like, do we really understand the vast and complex ecosystem operating in every one of our garden beds? And, do we know what we can do to make those systems work better?

To help gardeners understand more about soil, MSHS is partnering with Metro Blooms on a special workshop on how to build healthy soil in our yards and gardens. The workshop begins at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum event space, at 3600 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

The workshop will be presented by Bob Dahm of Organic Bob Lawn Care, which specializes in “from the ground up” techniques for caring for lawns; Russ Henry of Minnehaha Falls Landscaping and Giving Tree Gardens, an earth-friendly garden landscape company; and Kassie Brown of Renaissance Soil, a St. Paul-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting soil regeneration though education and outreach. The three instructors have a range of experience and interests but are all dedicated to creating soil that is healthy and productive.

The course will explain the components of healthy soil and the difference between “soil” and “dirt.” It will provide concrete steps gardeners can take to build a healthy soil and to support the many types of life (bacteria, fungi, micro-organisms) that create good soil and depend on it. Ideas will be given for those growing turf grass as well as those with ornamental or vegetable gardens. If your garden is not as lush as you think it should be, it may be the soil.

MSHS members will receive a discount to attend the healthy soil workshop. Tickets for MSHS members are $15; for nonmembers, $25.

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