3 Ways To Banging Soil

What are the three top contributors to amazing soil… after chasing my tail for a bit and going round in a circle (when you reach the beginning again, you know you’ve won), I found my number 1, and it’s Air.


broadforkingAir is where it’s at. Air is necessary for soil life and big, resilient nutrient gathering plant roots. Get air into your soil with deep rooting plants throughout (think fruit trees, fennel, chicory, parsley) and by aerating. Aerating is opening your soil up (think sliding a fork in, pulling it back towards you and sliding it back out), not by turning it over. Turning soil is like spitting in nature’s eye, it creates havoc in the soils carefully organised layers, and if done regularly creates hardpans. I know you love things that go vrrrrom, but Rotary hoes are an earthworm’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You need a broadfork, or his clever little cousin – the forksta (on my Christmas wish list). You can, at a pinch use an ordinary fork, but it’s not designed for aerating making for hard work with only half the reach.

Soil Life

Create the right environment (air, organic matter, moist, dark) and they will come in droves, this diverse group of hard working organisms keep our soils well, filter water, capture carbon and break down toxins. They provide a place for us to stand and grow our food/ clothing/ houses.

Thriving soils make for less disease (out-compete ‘bad’ fungus and bacteria), more resilience (strong cells, big root systems) and healthier plants equalling higher yields. Building these guys up is your top priority. Speed the process along with one of my favourite products – EM (effective microorganisms).


yarrow fennel and parsley mulchMulching is also composting, also watering, also building soil life. I’m making it third on my list in preference to compost – wow! Recycling via mulching is nature’s finest work. Her team of brilliant composters may be tiny things – worms, fungi, microbes – but they really get things done, creating magic by transforming organic matter into nutritious soil. I’m not advocating for not composting (sacre bleu – no way), I’m just playing a priority game here – and today mulch is the winner.

Right about now I’m mulching with a heady mix of lemon balm, borage, fennel, parsley, yarrow and rotten sawdust. The reason behind this particular brew is because this is what I’ve got. In a few months time, the brew will have changed – mulch like the harvest – rolls with the seasons.



  1. Thanks Kath. Awesome info as usual! The EM sounds interesting – for us home gardeners, would you recommend the 1L EM Garden or the 1L Garden Boost which also has the Fish Hydrolysate in it too?

  2. Great read, thanks! I am tossing up between a broadfork and a forksta at the moment, and am leaning towards a forksta for home garden use,but was wondering your thoughts?