Preparing your garden for a changing climate, soil

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Photo by Lee Keim
By Lee Keim

Have you noticed unusually early Spring blooming shrubs and trees in your yard? 

Do your berries and apples show signs of low fertilization, more sun scald and drought and earlier leaf drop? 

Is your water bill higher each year? 

Is your house being invaded by brown stink bugs this fall like mine? 

What is happening here?

These subtle seasonal changes are being noticed by those of us lovingly caring for our gardens and yards. 

It is predicted that the US Hardiness Zone in our area will increase by 1/2 zone in the next few decades due to global warming.

The realization that changes to the earth’s climate will affect all aspects of our lives is a hard lesson to accept. When we recognize the grave danger on a personal level, learn what can be done to restore earth’s natural systems and resolve to act our part, there will be reason to believe our world, can be prepared for the changes to come.

One of the most important activities to prepare your property is to make sure you have healthy soil.

“Healthy soil can store more carbon; absorb water like a sponge before becoming saturated, making it more resilient in a dry year; and improve water quality by retaining more water, which reduces runoff ..” April Simpson PEW Stateline article 8.23.2019

Plant dense plantings and mulch thickly with leaves or wood chips. No bare soil! Use cover crops in the garden during dormant periods and roughly chop them in two weeks before spring planting. This will decrease winter compaction and increase organic matter and carbon dioxide up take.

With these techniques you will be creating healthier soil and doing your part to reverse the damages to our planet’s precious ecosystems.


Anonymous,  November 7, 2022 at 8:41 AM  

Thanks for this informative article. Experts say that soil is our first defense against climate change, but it's being talked about less often. So this article is an important one. I'd like to add a thought about nutrition and our health. A University of Texas study on nutrients in fruits and vegetables in USA found declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century due to soil depletion. We now have to eat 8 oranges to get the same nutrition that 1 orange provided in the 1920s. If we want to improve our health and well-being it's important that we address this across our state, and especially in Eastern Washington where desertification is underway. We can turn this around if we start now.

Jan Wilson,  November 8, 2022 at 2:13 AM  

Thanks for an interesting, educational article, Lee!

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