Why Does Soil Smell So Good in Spring?
Who doesn't love the fresh "earth" smell after the rain? Most of us appreciate that perfume, but do you know what's behind the pleasant smell?
Get in your garden after a spring rain, dig up some of its soil and give it a big sniff. Can you smell an “earthy” distinctive and refreshing aroma? If you can, that’s good. It means that your soil is fertile and hosts an abundance of microorganisms.
What’s responsible for that fragrance, frequently linked with spring? The very pleasant smell is caused by soil-dwelling bacteria known as Actinomycetes, which thrive in the soil when conditions are wet and warm. When the soil dries up, these organisms produce tiny spores that release a chemical compound called geosmin (meaning “earth smell” in Greek), responsible for the springy aroma. We can typically smell geosmin after rainfall, because the humid air sends the tiny spores up into the air – and directly into your nose.
But what if your soil smells sour and metallic? It could be an indicator that your soil is not functioning well. Your soil is probably putrefying with anaerobic bacteria and needs a deep breath! You need to make your soil more porous for water, air and nutrients, and you can do that by increasing organic matter and improving drainage. And don't forget to feed your soil with compost!
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