Soil is not merely a mixture of inert minerals-sand, silt, and clay. It is a community of organisms that live in every pore of a soil mass. The minerals are merely the mechanical structure. Soil itself-in lawns, flower gardens, vegetable plots, shrub plantings and so on- is as alive as the gardener who tills it. A handful of loam from your garden contains more living organisms than there are human beings on the face of the earth. Soil is alive and must be treated as a living substance.

We must recognize that a garden is not a natural place in which to grow plants. It is a completely artificial environment in which we are striving for controlled, not natural, growth. We are purposely molding plants to our own end. The soil is merely one element in a deliberate program to make "Nature" serve us better.

With that foundation I share my knowledge and experience with you in this book. As you put this information to work in your own gardening efforts, I'm sure that you, too, will see and feel the magic in your garden soil.