I thought I would talk about soil aeration this time. By now some vegetable gardens would be growing well. One of the things I have found is if the soil is not loosened up around the plant regularly it can become compacted by watering or by the gardeners feet.
I like to work the soil with tynes once a week in between watering. I believe the benefits outweigh any damage to the roots. Compaction usually is more severe in poorer structured soil.
I have seen loose sandy loam soil compress 3"-4" after watering, when this happens a lot of the oxygen is push out of the soil. Root bacteria and soil microbes, etc all need oxygen to live and grow, so I think it is important to work the soil to loosen it up and let the oxygen back in. It also helps stop water evaporation.
For a garden situation a three prong fork is a good tool to use, it also helps control weeds. Some symptoms of compacted soil can be stunted plants that usually have yellowish leaves. Carrots in particular will be short and have many legs instead of one long straight leg. That's why we rip the soils where we are going to grow vegetables every year.
So as a Biodynamic farmer my main aim is to create the best environment possible to allow a rapid improvement in soil structure (fertility). Aeration is an important spoke in the wheel.