One of the most important factors needed for successful gardening, whether vegetable gardening or ornamental gardening, especially in urban gardens where there is a lot of wear and tear, is understanding what's going on beneath the surface. Oftentimes we overlook the importance of correct composting, as well as PH, air, water and space, consequently ending up with unsuccessful plants. Eric wonders what tools T uses to make sure the soil is developing the way he wants and to ensure it's healthy. T feels that to have successful plants it's important to monitor what's going on beneath the surface. And to do that his main tools are a shovel and a soil probe. The probe provides a good idea of what's really happening within the entire soil profile. With the soil probe T has pulled a plug from the soil that is at least 12 inches long, thus shows 1 foot of sub surface soil. This makes it clear that the soil is consistently moist, and the type of soil they are dealing with at this location looks good. Then using the shovel he takes a really good core sample which is equally important. Remember 60-75% of a plants mass is below the surface of the soil. This soil looks good, it has been very effective at promoting root growth. This means the plant will use less water, will be more efficient in taking nutrients from the soil, and that ultimately means a healthier, more disease resistant plant.
Spring ephemerals are some of the first plants to flower in the early spring long before most trees leaf out. They tend not to like the heat and will quickly disappear if temperatures get above 80 degrees. Spring ephemerals leaf out, bloom, go to seed, spread themselves about and then enter dormancy; they don't really die. All this happens in a two-month period, making them some of the most efficient of the flowering plants. That is what makes these plants so very special.
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