An old growth forest represents the most efficient form of nutrient exchange allowing plants and animals to prosper. So, say you clear an area for your new garden and all of a sudden weeds start popping up like, well, weeds. This is the first stage in succession with subsequent stages slowing developing larger and larger plants over time. Every time you cut your weeds down you start the succession process all over! So the best way to build healthy habitat and the most efficient conditions for plants and animals to live is to nudge nature along in the process of succession.
This process starts with healthy soil. Soil is the foundation for all terrestrial life on earth and having soil rich in biological life, like a diverse array of beneficial bacteria and fungi, makes an incredible difference in how much water the soil can absorb and hold, and how much of the water and other nutrients the soil can make available to plants. Did you know that soil at almost any location on earth has enough nutrients to grow healthy plants??? The problem is that the vast majority of the time these nutrients are not in a form that is available to the plant, hence why people throw tons of chemical fertilizers on plants. It is the bacteria and fungi that transform nutrients so plants can suck them up!
This Minisode shows the very beginning stage of earthworks. The goal of earthworks is to shape the soil in such a way that maximizes the infiltration of water but at the same time the soil holds the water like a sponge, allowing plants to utilize it over a longer period of time. Soil building takes time and planning, but it's not hard. We will go into more detail about soil building as we get to those parts in the cob cabin building process.