Above & Beyond Organic Gardening—better techniques for the best results

above & beyond organic gardening

I feel like often the garden is viewed in the wrong way. We want amazing plants, fruits and vegetables. However, it wasn’t until the last few years that I realized there is really a more major component to gardening than the vegetables. Let's learn how to build a garden from the soil up! 

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My garden journey

When I started gardening I wanted to know how to grow an amazing garden.

But there are so many methods out there—it’s overwhelming! 

Julia - author of the blog reformstead.com

Hey there! I'm Julia. I live in Arizona on 2.5 acres, with HOT summers☀️, lots of cacti🌵 and amazing sunsets🌅! A sinner saved by grace, I'm also a homeschool graduate🎓. The oldest of six, I live with my family at home🏡. Serving the King, Jesus Christ, above all is my number one goal. Read more -->

I decided, I don’t need to know them all. I just need to read “the one” good gardening book and then I’ll be good to go. 

How did that go?

Well a few years went by and I wasn’t sure how to find that book. Until it dropped into my lap. 

I don't’ even remember how I found it, but somehow I ordered and read Teaming with Microbes, by Jeff Lowenfels Wayne Lewis.

I felt like my eyes were finally opened! 

It’s not that I knew everything after reading that book. In fact, it made me realized how much I really didn’t know. 😄 But it did give me the knowledge that I needed and some practical advice as to how to build a garden. 

So what’s the most important thing you need to know about when gardening?

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Soil.

Hands down.

God makes the pants grow, but soil is the main component He uses to feed and nourish those plants and vegetables. Without soil you wouldn’t have a garden. Soil is the most important part of the garden.

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But what even is soil? 

You may be sold on a gardening method.

Its your favorite...

Annnddddddd that may mean you do not want to hear this right now…but just listen for a sec. 

Most of the mainstream gardening books ignore the fact that soil is a living, breathing organism. In fact, it is a myriad of living and breathing organisms. 

Some of the major organisms you’ll hear about a lot are bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. But that’s just the beginning of their names. 

This quote is rather eye opening,

“Healthy soil food webs not only have tremendous numbers of individual organisms but a great diversity of organisms. Remember that teaspoon of good garden soil? (Discussed earlier in the book) Perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 different species make up its billion bacteria—a healthy population in numbers and diversity.” Teaming with Microbes, by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis page 24

That’s a TON of living organisms!! 

I can’t even wrap my head around such numbers.



How many of your gardening books actually talk about feeding and caring for this army of living organisms? 

This soil food web is what you want to focus on in all of your gardening. And when you do the majority of “normal” gardening problems will go away.

How to build a garden - diversity is key

Have you heard of companion planting? 

The reason we do this is to add diversity. 

Companion planting is adding diversity to the garden or a particular area. This diversity causes the plants to work together to create a healthy garden. We want diversity of species and kinds—both our plants and microbes need diversity to be healthy. This is how we build a beautiful garden. 😌

Plant roots

A lot of mainstream gardening information leaves the average home gardener thinking that plant roots take up nutrients for the plants. 

Roots take nutrients which causes plants to grow. 

But this is only a half-truth. 

Roots also ADD carbohydrates and proteins to the soil! 

The plant does this by taking the energy produced by photosynthesis in the leaves and it releases this energy as carbohydrates and proteins through the roots into the soil. This causes bacteria and fungi in the soil to wake up and hurry to these new food sources. 

This is how to build a garden-we get to the root of the issues.

A healthy garden is a pest free garden

I think one big gardening misconception is that dealing with pests is part of a gardener’s normal routine. 

  • Commercial pesticides.
  • Natural pesticides.
  • Homemade pesticides.
  • DE

Guys you shouldn't need all these!

It should not be the norm.

Even DE and homemade pesticides kill the good bags. 

One of the concepts I love about focusing on building a healthy soil food web is that once you get things in balance, your garden should not have all the pest problems mainstream gardeners are dealing with. 

Pests are a sign of problems or imbalance. Once your underground microbes are healthy and functioning as they should, the above ground insects will fall in line and work with you. A healthy garden doesn’t have to deal with a lot of pest control—and that includes the ones labeled “natural”.

Even natural pesticides kill the good bugs. If you feel you must use, remember to only use when needed and use in moderation. 

What about NPK ?

Scientific NPK focused formulas, wether conventional or organic are missing what should be the fundamental focus. They are focusing on what nutrients plants need while ignoring how the plants best take up those nutrients.

Plants take up nutrients and minerals via healthy microbes. 

Microbes are what take your NPK and feed it to your plants. But if you don't care for the microbes, they are going to struggle to do their job. This causes plant stress and garden pest problems. 

The other fascinating thing is that healthy microbes will create (over time) a healthy NPK ratio in your soil. 

Keep in mind, this is definitely the abridged version. 😉

Want to learn more about gardening, but don't know where to start? Here's some of the best info I've collected over the years. Come learn how to build a garden with me!

Where to go from here

There's SOOOOOOOO much more that could be said! I just barely scratched the surface of this fascinating topic.

I also didn't give you any practical how-to on this page. 

The reason is there's a lot to learn. I hope to write more on this topic and will add links to those pages here as I grow this portion of my blog. 

The practical how-to garden with this mindset is so wonderful. Mulching is one big way to care for your soil microbes and that can add a nice final touch to any garden. 😌 More about that on another page (coming soon).

In the meantime...

If you want to read one book, then I recommend Teaming with Microbes. Reading this one book (and it's not huge) will give a basic understanding of what you need to know about growing healthy microbes.

And this is how to build a garden.

You start by building your soil. 

Build the soil and you are setting yourself up for the best gardening experience ever. 

And just remember your plants and vegetables are a result of what's happening in your soil. 

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Soli Deo Gloria!  (Glory Be to God Alone!)

~ Julia

Julia - author of the blog reformstead.com

Hey there! I'm Julia. I live in Arizona on 2.5 acres, with HOT summers☀️, lots of cacti🌵 and amazing sunsets🌅! A sinner saved by grace, I'm also a homeschool graduate🎓. The oldest of six, I live with my family at home🏡. Serving the King, Jesus Christ, above all is my number one goal. Read more -->


psst...Instagram is my favorite 👇😉

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Soli Deo Gloria!  (Glory Be to God Alone!)

~ Julia

Julia - author of the blog reformstead.com

Hey there! I'm Julia. I live in Arizona on 2.5 acres, with HOT summers☀️, lots of cacti🌵 and amazing sunsets🌅! A sinner saved by grace, I'm also a homeschool graduate🎓. The oldest of six, I live with my family at home🏡. Serving the King, Jesus Christ, above all is my number one goal. Read more -->


psst...Instagram is my favorite 👇😉

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