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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Saving our Soil with Gardening in 3 Easy Steps

Oct 02, 2022 08:30AM ● By Tiffany Hinton

Regenerative gardening and biodynamic gardening are unique efforts that blend synergistically to improve soil health and the growth of our gardens.

Regenerative Gardening

 Regenerative gardening is the practice of regenerating the soil by learning first what the soil is missing and then intentionally adding compost and minerals to boost the soil. This can include introducing native plants into the environment to help bring back pollinators and the natural habitat. Now more than ever, these ways of gardening are becoming more popular as we look for ways to reduce the chemical load and improve the earth around us.

Biodynamic gardening

Biodynamic gardening utilizes the seasons and the cycle of death, allowing the decay of last year‘s garden to help feed the soil microorganisms, and it also combines the use of moon phase gardening and healing the soil by utilizing the environment in a diverse way.

Biodynamic gardening is about the biome. Similar to the biome in our own gut, it has both good bacteria bad bacteria; it has living organisms; it has a decay; it has fungi. The soil is a whole living world in our own backyards. We utilize it to improve our yield and reduce the amount of water we have to give the plants during the growing season. 

Biodynamic gardening continues to evolve, and each gardener has adapted the original teaching of Rudolf Steiner, a German Farmer. In response to calls for help in the 1920s, Steiner suggested ways to heal soil that was suffering from industrial agriculture.

Today, horticulturists are seeking ways to create diversity in lands that have been monocultures for decades. Steiner’s approach is a holistic approach that recognizes the garden as a single living organism which is connected both spiritually and scientifically to the moon, planets, and stars. 

Three simple tips to use in your backyard or raised bed garden, even in the suburbs:

  1. In the fall, leave the dead or dying plants from the past garden season in the soil to naturally decay over the winter. The snow and moisture of winter will help break down the fibrous parts of the vegetation. This creates natural compost to feed the soil and improve the composition of the biome in your garden. This also provides natural seeds and food for the birds and other wildlife during the winter when food can be scarce. Furthermore, this will also help prevent soil erosion and injury to the microorganisms living in the soil.
  2. Try no till gardening when increasing the space of the planting area or starting a new garden bed. Place cardboard over the ground where you want the green bed to be and then layer fall leaves over the cardboard, grass clippings and natural organic mulch. Allow this to sit for about six months before planting. The cardboard will naturally break down, and the fall leaves will decay. This adds nutrients back to the soil and the six months of darkness eliminate the grass underneath to create a healthy biome of soil for your plants and vegetation. If you do not have six months to wait, follow the steps above and add a layer of compost from the local garden store to plant the seeds in.
  3. Create a compost tea to feed the soil. Compost tea is a simple way to boost the biome of your garden. An easy way to do this is to add banana peels and coffee grounds to the rain water and allow it to sit for 3 to 4 days. It is important to use rainwater as many of the city tap water sources have chemicals including chlorine and fluorine which will harm the biome of the soil. A more complex compost water can include rabbit poop, old fallen leaves, banana peels, and dandelion leaves in the rainwater. Think of these as sun tea; using a gallon jar collecting the rainwater and add in the compost nutrients, then allow it to brew in the sunshine. To apply to the ground strain and water your garden or house plants, add the strained compost ingredients to your compost pile.

These three tips are an excellent start to improve your harvest next year, and autumn is the time to begin. Wanting to expand your garden this fall? This is the time to lay the cardboard and follow step two; if you had a low yield or perhaps round cucumbers that look like tennis balls, this is the time to add nutrients to your soil, especially potassium.


The author Tiffany Hinton, the host of the podcast CultivatingGuts, is bringing a brand-new kids gardening club to the area. The first event for the Little Witches Moon Garden Club is October 15th. Tiffany tells us she is excited to teach kids how to garden using practices that regenerate the soil and improve the world around us giving back to nature. Hinton wants the kids to learn how to garden, identify plants and build lifelong friends.



Visit to register for the Fall and Winter classes of the Little Witches Moon Gardening Club. Follow Tiffany Hinton on Instagram @iamtiffanyhinton. You can listen to her latest podcast episode 32 to learn more about the inspiration of the Little Witches Moon Gardening Club.