What’s behind the “fresh earth” smell in spring?

Question: What makes that "fresh earth" smell in spring? Actinomycetes as seen under a microscope. Photo courtesy of Tom Loynachan. Answer: In a word, geosmin. What is that? Geosmin is an organic compound released by a group of soil microorganisms called actinomycetes. Actinomycetes are filamentous “prokaryotes.” In other words, they are microscopic organisms whose cells … Continue reading What’s behind the “fresh earth” smell in spring?

What’s better for the environment, synthetic fertilizer or manure?

Question: What’s better for the environment, fertilizing with synthetic fertilizer or with animal manure? Are they both the same once you put them on the soil? Answer: This question is difficult to answer in a short space. Both types of fertilizers can be beneficial to the environment and both can damage the environment. It depends … Continue reading What’s better for the environment, synthetic fertilizer or manure?