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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Charlotte's Patio Farmer On Nurturing Our Soil Microbiome at Home

As we are growing plants, edible or otherwise, we are fostering an ecosystem in the soil that’s full of plants, animals, insects, bacteria and fungi. There are several simple practices to nurture soil that apply whether growing plants in a pot, raised bed or in-ground bed. Here’s how to “dig in”. 

Most importantly, resist using pesticides, herbicides and chemical applications. This includes lawn treatments and mosquito sprays. Chemicals strip our soils of the beautiful array of organisms needed for a healthy, well-functioning soil environment. 

Next, when annual plants (like flowers or vegetables) die back, cut the plant at the base, and allow the root systems to decompose. Compost is the result of plants breaking down, so keeping the roots in place allows the microorganisms latching on to the root structures to stay in the soil, and as the roots break down it feeds the next round of plants.

Finally, always keep the soil “covered.” In other words, keep plants growing in the soil or add mulch to the soil when not growing plants. Try sowing a cover crop or use mulch to keep moisture locked in and our decomposers (compost makers) hard at work. 

Erin Hostetler, owner and farmer of The Patio Farmer, has many years of experience growing food in all spaces and loves teaching individuals and community groups. For more information and to connect, email [email protected] or visit

The Patio Farmer - 9042 Mount HollyHuntersville Road Huntersville NC

The Patio Farmer - 9042 Mount HollyHuntersville Road, Huntersville, NC

The Patio Farmer provides Consultations, Installation assistance and custom Maintenance Plans to help YOU grow food at home, no matter what kind of space you have! Farmer Erin tailors her... Read More » 


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