Millions of people have discovered the joy of gardening, surely one of the best ways to tune into the world of nature. It’s hard to think of another hobby that combines healthy exercise with such tangible results. But if your garden doesn’t thrive, if vegetables don’t produce and flowers don’t bloom, then gardening becomes a frustrating avocation.
Beneath every successful garden is a hidden hero—its soil. Once gardeners understand this basic fact, they have taken a giant step toward learning how to begin with a bare patch of ground and end up with lush ornamentals and bountiful vegetables and fruits.
Why is soil so important? Quite simply, in addition to providing physical support for plants, it conducts air, water, and nutrients to their root systems. Soil is the underground environment that influences plant growth.
Gardening is both an art and a science. The art lies in the choice of plants and the design of their placement. Garden science includes learning what plants need and how to provide the correct soil environment by supplying the necessary nutrients and moisture. This section introduces you to that science and shows you how to apply it on a practical basis.