So what are the signs of healthy soil?
- A strong presence of earth worms can indicate that you soil isn't overly acidic and that there is plenty of organics for them to feed on.
- Dark soil indicates an abundance of organic (carbon) materials.
- Reddish rather than blueish soil can indicate proper aeration. When soil remains saturated for long periods of time, the iron that gives soil its reddish color is leached away.
- Lack of standing water. Good drainage prevents anaerobic conditions and damage to roots.
- Abundant and diverse weeds indicate good growing conditions (and a looming battle!)
- Soil that you can easily sink your spade into shows that there is little compaction.
One added benefit of eliminating chemicals in the garden is that I feel comfortable with my boys going barefoot and getting completely messy in the dirt!