A Water Smart soil is a living soil.
In a typical suburban lot, good quality living topsoil contains approximately 90 pounds of earthworms, 240 pounds of fungi, 150 pounds of bacteria, 13 pounds of protozoa and 89 pounds of arthropods and algae. This soil life and its food web cultivate and aerate the soil, improve its structure and increase the availability of water and nutrients for plants. If the organic matter in a growing medium is less than one per cent, all this life will die. Optimum amounts of organic matter in a living growing medium provide a garden soil thatfeels soft and crumbles easily and has few clods and no hard pan, drains well and warms up quickly in the spring and resists erosion and nutrient loss, does not crust after planting and supports high populations of soil organisms,
soaks up heavy rains with little runoff and has a rich, earthy smell produces healthy, high-quality plants and does not require increasing fertilization, stores moisture for drought periods.
Topsoil & Organic Matter Quality
Growing medium is often a mix of topsoil and organic matter, and sometimes sand. Common problems to avoid when purchasing growing medium include: Topsoil that is too coarse (no silt or clay) or too heavy (no sand). A sandy loam is the optimumtexture.Topsoil that is weed infested. Seeds can lay dormant in topsoil for years. Look for a topsoil source that is relatively weed free. Compost that is weed infested or compost that is not yet decomposed, which robs the soil of nitrogen. Livestock manure often has both these problems. Both weed seeds and decomposition problems can be avoided with a proper composting process. Purchase growing medium from reliable suppliers and contractors who can certify that the products meet the specifications of the BCLandscape Standard and local bylaws.
Favourite plant today:
Rocky Mountain Juniper
Common name Rocky Mountain Juniper Latin name Juniperus scopulorum Type Tree Height 10-30′ Spread 10-20′ Light & Water Full sun: Zone 3 Bloom months Does not bloom. Bloom colour Foliage colour Blue Features
- Deer resistant
- Food for birds
- Native to the Okanagan
- Winter interest
Notes Our native juniper tree from which many cultivars are derived. Most are 10-16′ tall and could be used as evergreen accent. Narrow ones could be used instead of cedar for a drought tolerant deer proof hedge. May need more water than the native species.