Pine straw mulch

As every good organic gardener knows, well-managed soil is literally alive with billions of microbes that help to recycle nutrients and keep plants healthy.

Maintaining and nurturing that biodiversity is the key to success in sustainable gardening. The products and businesses featured in this slideshow offer a variety of tools to do just that.

Maintaining soil cover
The first rule of good soil maintenance is to do no harm. Tilling, digging, compacting or allowing soil to dry out are just some of the ways that gardeners can harm the web of life in their soils. That's why no dig gardening is such a powerful tool for would-be backyard farmers, and why maintaining a generous soil cover is so important. There are, of course, a variety of mulches available that keep moisture in the soil, provide much needed protection from the wind and the sun, while still allowing the soil to breathe.
For vegetable gardeners, however, pine straw may just be your best bet.

It allows soil to breathe. It decomposes slowly. It also doesn't involve chopping down trees, which is a nice touch for us TreeHuggers.

Check out your local garden center for bales of pine straw, or visit Pine Straw Direct to get it delivered to your door.

1 of 9

More Slideshows