|Â November 2009
|Â Dear Gardener,
In response to my last newsletter a customer in California reminded me that not all the country is covered in snow at this time of year.Â To rub that in, I spent last weekend in Santa Rosa at our company retreat.Â The weather reminded me of April in Ireland – occasional rain with days of glorious sunshine – perfect for spring planting!Â So I really should adjust the Garden Tasks section to cover every garden from Alaska to the Florida Keys!Â Let me know what you would like.The Bountea retreat helped clarify our company mission and core values.Â We share a burning desire to make a difference in this world, to offer products that we use and stand behind, and to treat each person in the most human way possible.Â This may seem idealistic in a competitive materialistic culture, but we all know that our deepest intentions influence how the future unfolds.Â Bountea is on the right path.The main article this month arises out of my enduring interest in what goes on in the soil.Â Like many gardeners, I thought that everything kind of stopped in the garden when the frost arrives; I was wrong.Â Even at zero temperatures, many microbes continue their essential work of creating future fertility.
On a personal note, I am fortunate to be married to an amazing person, Orianne, who is also an outstanding cook.Â Check out her new blog, awesomeeats.com, to read what she makes with Bountea grown produce from our garden and how she cooks that Thanksgiving turkey! Â
Wondering about a special present for that gardener or house plant grower?Â You cannot do better than SuperStart for Plants which is on Special 10% off until the New Year.Â I use it whenever I need to help any transplant or pot plant that is struggling in the Winter.
Stay warm and cosy.
November Garden Tasks
(November 15th — December 15th)Rest, relax and recuperate — ready for the holiday season!
|Life in the Winter Soil
The garden hibernates.Â Dried stalks and leafless shrubs stand out against a light dusting of snow.Â Nature and the gardener draw a breath after summer’s frantic rush and fall’s rich harvest. Â Beneath the snow, the soil lies frozen in a rock-like crust.Â At first glance, it seems lifeless and barren.Â If we could look deeper, observe the rich interconnectedness of the soil web, we would see that while the garden sleeps, the soil dreams of spring.Â When we have completed our work as gardeners, replenished and protected the powerhouse of soil life, millions of organisms are eager to provide a surge of growth as weather warms.Â Knowing what happens deep in the winter soil helps us understand why our fall gardening practices are so essential.
In this article, I can only lightly touch on the vast complexity of the soil food web.Â I will pass over all the protozoan species, the nematodes (good and bad), and the vast range of insects and arthropods.Â My focus is just a sample of microorganisms and worms – the smallest and largest inhabitants of the soil.Bacteria and Archaea
Soil microbes, like all living organisms, need food and energy.Â In winter, as the sun’s warmth declines, these are at a premium.Â Annual plants die after setting seed while perennials reduce growth and consolidate sugars in their roots; less plant sap is available to feed carbohydrate-loving microbes.Â With decreased warmth and nutrients, decomposition of organic matter slows as microbes settle toward a quiescent state.
Because of their simple structure, many types of bacteria can freeze without harm.Â Unlike more complicated organisms, bacteria have membranes that do not burst when their internal fluids turn to ice.Â With soil rich in humus, bacteria can hibernate through the cold weather well protected within their carbon habitats.Â Soil that drains well and has humus content around 10% is an ideal environment for overwintering microbes.
Some microbes are even hardier and more primitive than bacteria.Â These are the archaea, a relatively recent discovery in soil biology.Â Archaea microorganisms are possibly the most ancient living things and have been found in every known environment… read more
We really appreciate your business and the loving effort you spend on your soil and plants.Â Help us help you better by giving is feedback on our service, products and communications.
Care for your Plants — Care for your Soil — Care for our Earth
the Bountea way.