Our planet is sort of like an onion: layer upon layer of different types of soil. The deeper you dig, the more layers you’ll discover, and each layer is different from the one above it. These layers are called horizons, and put together they form a profile.
Each horizon tells a story, and can take us back through time by telling us how it was formed, what it’s made from, and even what kind damage we humans have inflicted upon the Earth in any given area.
The horizons are:
O – (humus or organic) Mostly organic matter such as decomposing leaves. The O horizon is thin in some soils, thick in others, and not present at all in others.
A – (topsoil) Mostly minerals from parent material with organic matter incorporated. A good material for plants and other organisms to live.
E – (eluviated) Leached of clay, minerals, and organic matter, leaving a concentration of sand and silt particles of quartz or other resistant materials – missing in some soils but often found in older soils and forest soils.
B – (subsoil) Rich in minerals that leached (moved down) from the A or E horizons and accumulated here.
C – (parent material) The deposit at Earth’s surface from which the soil developed.
R – (bedrock) A mass of rock such as granite, basalt, quartzite, limestone or sandstone that forms the parent material for some soils – if the bedrock is close enough to the surface to weather. This is not soil and is located under the C horizon.
(Source: Soil Science Society of America)
There are so many delicious reasons to grow a garden-- fresh herbs for your soups and dips, fresh lettuce and spinach for salads, fresh berries on ice cream. But man, is there anything more delicious than a fresh tomato off the vine? Juice that squirts out when you cut into it, seeds that drizzle onto your plate, and flesh so tender it melts in your mouth like butter.
It doesn't matter how we eat them (sliced on burgers, diced into a pico de gallo, chopped over some pasta), tomatoes offer us the most stark reminder of why growing your own is so much better than buying from a chain grocery store.
I threw together a tomato sandwich for lunch today, and it was so good, I had to share it. (There probably aren't too many fertilizer companies around that put recipes on their websites, but THIS is the very reason we got into the fertilizer business in the first place-- to produce the healthiest, most delicious garden bounty this side of Eden.)
And this sandwich just looked so pretty and tasted so delicious, I couldn't keep it to myself. Enjoy!
Tomato & Onion Open-Faced Bagel Sandwich
One garden-fresh tomato (grown with Living Worm Compost)
One fresh red onion
Hummus (not to be confused with humus; we may be soil lovers here, but let's not get carried away!)
Coarse-ground sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, celery seed
Put a healthy schmear of hummus on both halves of a toasted bagel and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the hummus. Dice up the tomatoes and scoop the flesh, juice and seed onto the bagel. Dice up a couple rings of red onion and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, chili powder and celery seed.
Steve & Corey Veldheer are organic yard & garden specialists in west Michigan.