Bloom Control Feed
The Dirt on Dirt Science of Gardening


© Jim Deacon
Have you ever noticed the rich smell of freshly turned soil? It’s downright . . . well, earthy. Single-celled organisms called actinomycetes are the source of this odor.

Actinomycetes are fungilike bacteria that form long, branching threads. You can spot them most easily in compost—they look something like spiderwebs. The earthy odor they produce comes from gases released as they transform dead plant material into useful humus.

Actinomycetes are responsible for breaking down the toughest of decaying materials in gardens and compost: barks, fibrous stems, and even newspaper.

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