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Test Your Soil

Test Your SoilKnowing the basics behind organic gardening can put you on the right path to creating your own Eden. All you need is patience, a willingness to get muddy, and this quick tip.

Before planting anything, first determine the measure of acidity or alkalinity (known as pH) of your soil with a home testing kit.

For most vegetables, the magic number is 6.5. Too acidic (on the low end of the 0-to-14 scale) or too alkaline (on the high end) and your plants won’t be able to access the soil’s nutrients. Boost your pH with a line spread, found at garden stores, or lower it with powdered sulfur. Seedlings can then be planted straight in the ground.

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Soil — The Final Frontier

We know less about life in the earth under our feet than we do about the far side of the moon. Yet every plant and animal you can think of depends on this vast hidden ecosystem.

Each shovel of soil holds more living things than all the human beings ever born. Lots of species are still waiting for scientists to identify and name them. This is a world where fungi lay traps for thread-like worms. Bacteria dine on toxic chemicals. The smaller the creature, the stranger are its habits.

Dig into this underground universe and meet its tiny but helpful residents.

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