The Foundation of Your Garden

Picture your favorite garden. Call to mind everything that makes this garden magical and beautiful. Are you imagining particular plants that make this garden stand out? Maybe a water feature or a statue? Maybe you like seeing the birds or butterflies that are regulars here?

FHK bluebirds on the spicket
One of my favorite gardens.

I would wager that what you’re not thinking about is the part of your favorite garden that makes it all possible: the soil. At least, I hope your favorite garden has soil – too many have only dirt: a depleted version of the complex, resilient, living ecosystem that is soil.

This tiny pinch of quality compost is packed full of microscopic life!

There’s a big difference between those two things – dirt and soil. The former describes the rocky crusty stuff that is sometimes referred to as “parent material,” or sand, silt, and clay. It is sometimes described as being dead, which is actually far from the truth when you consider the teeming billions of bacteria that typically thrive in black dirt (giving life to weedy plant species!). Diversity-wise though, dirt is pretty dead. It doesn’t contain the miles of fungal filaments, millions of microscopic animals, or the complex, life-giving compounds found in a tiny pinch of healthy soil.

At Renaissance Soil, a Saint Paul-based nonprofit, we are dedicated to clarifying this difference and encouraging people to respect and build the soil that serves as the foundation of all other life on this planet. We regularly host classes and workshops designed for beginner and Master Gardeners alike. We also provide biological testing services that help gardeners, farmers, and landscapers measure the life in their soil and/or compost.

These brown threads are called fungal hyphae. They are the microscopic growing, eating body of fungi that bind soil particles together preventing erosion and nutrient loss.

RS Logo

For more information about Renaissance Soil visit us on Facebook or at our website: We will also be presenting at Como Community Seed Library’s May Mosaic – Hope to see you there!

Spring at the Como Community Seed Library

It’s been a long winter and the snow is receding, the sun is getting stronger and the soil is getting warmer. We’ve been busy adding seeds to the library, running germination tests to check viability and vigor of saved seed and others in the collection and starting seedlings for the May Mosaic. We also have a few events planned that we’re really excited about. And along with the events are a host of opportunities to get involved either as a participant or volunteer.

April Events:

A Seedy Situation: Join Frogtown Farm, Urban Farm and Garden Alliance, Frogtown Neighborhood Association and Como Community Seed Library for all things seed on April 7th. For details follow the above link.

Seeds of Hope Community Garden Kickoff:  Sunday, April 22nd. Earth Day!! 2:30-4:30 pm. 965 Larpenteur Ave. W. (Victoria and Larpenteur),Roseville MN 55113. Come check out the community garden, check out seeds and resources from CCSL and hear why seed saving and locally adapted seed are important to a resilient food system. Seed saving is a fun way to share with your neighbors.

May Events:

May Mosaic: CCSL’s annual garden kickoff complete with the latest in garden education, a plant and seed exchange, and more!  Follow the link above for the dirt. Share your gardening enthusiasm and signup to volunteer at the May Mosaic. Volunteers receive a special thank you for their effort!

More to come…

CCSL needs you to grow….literally!

We’re looking for gardeners, urban farmers, and urban/suburban homesteaders who would like to help us grow out certain seed varieties in the library that haven’t seen soil  in a few years and are at risk. They need to be planted to grow and seed again.  Help us further the CCSL mission of sowing, growing and sharing as well as increasing the locally adapted seed stock and self-sustaining nature of the library by being a volunteer grower. Details and signup are here.


The Edible Garden at Langford Recreation Center

Gardening at Langford

For the past two summers Como Community Seed Library has helped the Langford Recreation Center with their edible garden. This year Kristen Cannova from the U of M student garden, Cornucopia, helped design and plant with the kids from Langford. Based on a flower layout the center of sunflowers will have petals of tomato plants, beans, greens and peppers to share and eat at the end of Summer Splash. Plenty of color and variety will add to the harvest celebration.