Sustain – 1: to give support or relief to 2: to supply with sustenance: NOURISH

…In the natural world fallen leaves and plant debris lay where they fall. And until that leaf litter breaks down its a mulch that conserves soil moisture, deters soil erosion, protects plant roots from fluctuating air temperatures and suppresses weed growth. Thus, supporting the soil.

…Leaf litter eventually breaks down. The break down material is organic matter or humus. Organic matter improves drainage in clay type soils (slow and steady process) through enlarging the space between soil particles and improves water holding capacity in sand type soils by filling in some of the space between soil particles. Humus replenishes soil nutrients used by plants in the last growing year. Organic matter encourages biodiversity of life in the soil which increases biodiversity in our garden and landscapes.

How to Nourish soil with compost

Build a compost bin or make a compost pile to store your organic kitchen waste and use the compost in your beds. And or use the green bin collection program for curbside pickup. Drop off compostable waste at a compost drop off site. Although you are not using the organic matter at home, you are contributing to the local program of organic waste management.

Garden beds
In established perennial, shrub and tree beds spread organic matter around your plants and don’t dug in.
In vegetable gardens, dig the organic matter into the soil. Organic matter may be added in spring or fall. If added in the spring dig in prior to planting. If added in the fall dig it in, then or in the spring.
Bare soil

Cover bare soil in all seasons with mulch. Types of mulch: shredded bark mulch, shredded dry leaves, dried grass clippings, decorative rock and landscape fabric, evergreen cones and lastly snow.

Aerate lawn every few years. This helps organic matter reach the root zone, improve air and water movement and lighten compacted soil.

Directions for building compost bins and all the information needed to make composting a success can be found in your local Library, on the Alberta Care Organization or Compost Council of Canada websites.

Simple Joys by Helen Steiner Rice
The good, green earth beneath our feet,
The air we breathe the food we eat –
In simple things we always find
Joys of the very greatest kind.