The most fundamental thing you should concentrate on and learn about Rose gardening is bacteria. Plants require bacteria and fungi in the soil to achieve peak health, and healthy plants produce the healthiest food for you. Living soil, i.e., soil teeming with microorganisms, is healthy soil. The number of worms in your soil is an indicator of how healthy it is because worms eat bacteria- so if you have a lot of infections, it means you have a lot of bacteria, and this is a perfect thing for your plants! Worried about pH and other mysterious soil chemistry or nutrient imbalances? Well, foster a healthy bacterial/fungal population, and those microorganisms will completely take care of all of that for you.
It has been discovered through much scientific study as well as by centuries of practice. Healthy plants are mostly invisible to pest insects, and there is a direct link between how dynamic a plant’s immune system is and how vital is the soil it’s grown in. Fun fact: the various species of soil bacteria that most actively help plants to grow, are many of the same species found in your digestive tract- which you also require for your peak immune health.
How Do You Grow Bacteria While Rose Gardening?
What do soil bacteria eat? They eat organic matter- which is dead plant material- dry leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, etc. So the very best way to feed bacteria is to add these kinds of brown/dead plant material to your soil.
There are two ways to do this.
1st (and yielding the quickest results) is to mix compost into your soil. Compost is just dead plant matter that has been decomposed into tinier pieces by bacteria. And because compost has plenty of living and dead bacteria already in it, it also will have (if it is fresh compost) lots of nitrogen to feed your plants.
Most Important Point
2nd option is to add mulch to the surface of your garden beds. Lots of it. 6 inches minimum, to afoot, to three feet even (if you need to suppress weeds severely). This will act as a food source for those bacteria, and over time it will break down and harbor good numbers of bacteria as well as fungi. But keep in mind (now here comes some biology) when adding mulch- Dry plant matter is essentially cellulose, which is mostly carbon. Bacteria are made up mostly of carbon and some nitrogen. Bacteria proliferate that they will easily steal all the available nitrogen in the soil away from your plants to break down the mulch that you add. So, add something like cow manure, or sea bird guano, or blood meal, or tons of green grass clippings, or fresh kitchen scraps, in the right balance with the amount of dry mulch you lay down. It will supply the bacteria with enough nitrogen that they will then release some of it to the soil into a form your plants can then use.
Of course, all this describes what happens in organically managed soil.