Soil issue

Asked March 29, 2020, 7:22 PM EDT

Greetings from West Linn! We have raised beds with strawberry plants. As I was cleaning out some dead leaves and and assorted weeds, I saw something strange among the soil. A picture is attached. Please let me know what I am dealing with. Thank you. Best, Eve Miller

Clackamas County Oregon

2 Responses

HelloEve,

This looks like a stage in the breakdown of mulch in garden soil. Soil bacteria and fungi. as well as other soil organisms break down mulch into progressively smaller pieces until it is integrated fully into the soil. You have a window on this very interesting process. It looks like the organisms are aerobic; anaerobic organisms that thrive without oxygen often leave the soil dark, slimy and foul smelling. This soil looks very healthy. This video shows woody mulch two and a half years after being applied as mulch, Wood Chip Gardening https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXCp7uY9AFY. The process is a little further along, but you can see the soil is chunky but holds together. As well as adding organic material to the soil, the microorganisms create pores in the soil during this process. This helps bring water and air into the soil and down into the root zone.


Anne,
Thank you for your response. I really appreciate having such knowledgeable people to help me garden.


Best,
Eve