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The Big Shift

Articles: The Big Shift

This is the second installment in our four-part water-sensitive landscape design (WSLD) series. Over the past few decades, earth science knowledge has blossomed. There have been some surprising revelations. In this issue, we’re exploring new approaches to traditional garden practices that work in concert with, not against, natural systems. And how gardeners can help heal the planet.

Regular applications of compost tea keep the author’s vegetable garden productive and delicious. Photo: Marilee Kuhlmann

An increased understanding of how the earth works and how climate impacts the relationship between water, soil, and plants is blowing up many long-standing gardening principles and profoundly changing how we approach the landscape. Perhaps it’s more accurate to call what’s happening a paradigm shattering rather than shift, because the change is nothing short of explosive.

By now most gardeners are aware of soil microbes. Even old-school garden workshops cover disease-inducing microbes—nematodes are generally painted with the bad-guy brush—and many even include the beneficial effects of inoculating leg...

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