A Perfect Guide for Your Garden Soil
Many of the gardeners are always worried on their crops, plants or trees not performing well or having expected development despite of their continuous tiresome effort. The most probable reason behind it might be focusing only on mineral supplying and avoiding plant epidemics rather than on overall soil health.
Building Healthy Soil
These are very few gardeners or farmers blessed with perfect soil which don’t need any amendment or blending to make it appropriate. If your soil has very low pH (acidic), high pH (basic), high amount of clay, stone and sand, and is too compact; this article might be the perfect and miraculous solution alternatives for you.
General Background of Soil
Most of the soil consists of 50% or greater percentage of weathered rock and are classified generally on the basis of size of inorganic soil particles present within. It mainly comprises 3 inorganic particles i.e. sand (large particles), silt (medium-sized particles) and clay (small particles).
– Greater sand- Sandy soil
– More silt- Silty soil
– Higher clay- Clayey soil
Organic matter is the partially decomposed remains of organisms or plants including lichen, fungi and algae too. It makes small i.e. 5-10% fraction of the soil but its porous forming nature makes it highly important in terms of plant growth and development. Humus allows water and air to move through soil and helps to preserve soil moisture too.
Identifying Soil Types
General Technique Using Hand
– Pick a soil in your hand and add little water in it.
– Then, squeeze it and observe how it feels.
– If you feel gritty then its sandy soil.
– If you feel friable or flour like then its silty or loamy soil.
– If you feel sticky then its clayey soil.
Simple Soil Identification Technique
– Add 1/3rd of soil in a small jar and fill it full with water.
– Close the lid and shake it vigorously.
– Now left it still for sometime so that larger particles (sand) will sink at bottom.
– Mark level of the sand.
– Leave the jar now for 1 and half to 2 hours which will leave finer particle to settle on the sand (silt).
– Leave the jar overnight and the layer you will observe above that silt is clay.
Improving Soil Structure and Properties
a) For Sandy Soil
– Sandy soil is highly porous which drains water along with nutrients from the soil pores.
– For improving structure pile up the mulch or small layer of compost manure.
– You can also use cocopeat in top of the soil or use it as alternatives for sandy soil as a growing media.
b) Silty Soil
– Add few organic matters every year.
– Avoid unnecessary tilling to prevent soil compaction.
– Construct raising beds.
c) Clayey Soil
– Construct permanent raised bed to improve drainage.
– Less tilling and spilling.
– Add few inches of organic matter and again input half to 1 inches every year on top of it.
d) Soil compaction
– Soil compaction might be due to high use of fertilizers and manure so try to reduce amount of chemical and inorganic matters.
– If your soil is highly compact; practice cut back tillage and crop rotation techniques.
e) Soil pH
– Soil pH has a high impact on soil so at first test the soil pH by using pH meter to identify whether it is acidic or basic.
– Try to make almost equal to pH level 6.5 to 6.7.
– For making Less acidic- Add powdered limestone or dolomitic limestone.
– For increasing acidity: Add ground sulfur and incorporate acidic organic matters like pine needle.
Plants Thriving in Different Soil Types
1. Clayey soil (Heavy clay): Hydrangeas, roses, viburnum, vinca, astrantia and geraniums.
2. Sandy soil: Iris Germanica, Euphorbia, Verbascum, Pine, Eryngium and most of the bulbs.
3. Silty soil: lavender, viburnums and syringa.
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