Why Does Soil Smell So Good in Spring?
Who doesn't love the fresh "earth" smell after the rain? It's comforting and familiar, but do you know what's behind it?
Get in your garden after a spring rain, dig up some 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.
So, what’s responsible for that earthy smell?
The 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).
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. You need to make your soil more porous so it has room to breathe, and for water, air and nutrients to pass through.
You can do that by adding compost, which improves drainage and increases the level of organic matter, improving soil health.
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