Garden Soil – Build a Healthier Garden! Gardening is a hobby that everyone can enjoy, young or old. Not only is it fun and quite exhilarating as time goes on, but it also helps you and the environment as a whole! The things you can plant are up to you, and you can even benefit from the things you plant especially if you’re cultivating herbs or vegetables.
However, not everyone is blessed with the perfect soil to grow plants on, and that shouldn’t be a factor that deters you from picking up gardening as a hobby.
Garden Soil – Build a Healthier Garden Foundation with these Steps
So here are some steps that may help you improve the quality of the garden soil you have at home!
The Wonders Of Organic Matter
Organic matter comes in many forms, but two of the most common and accessible forms of organic matter that anyone can get are manure and compost. Organic matter is important to cultivate your garden soil because of the nutrients it provides for the soil. Organic matter such as manure also adds nitrogen which improves the quality of the soil. Manure is the most accessible since it’s basically an abundance in gardening stores and nearby barns and farms.
The best manure for gardens is chicken manure since it has a lot of nitrogen content. Chicken manure is best added around fall since that way, and it has already had some time to age and compost.
Composting is the longer route of adding organic matter. However, it’s convenient if you have a lot of food waste when you cook meals from the ingredients that you use or the leftovers that never get eaten. There are also a plethora of ways in which you can compost as well based on your location and the conditions, so it’s fairly versatile.
Plant Cover Crops
Cover crops are basically plants used for the benefit of the soil. Cover crops can be used to prevent the soil from eroding, prevent the growth of weeds, provide pest control, and overall just improves the fertility of the soil in your garden.
Make sure to pick your cover crop based on the season though so that you don’t end up wasting summer on a cover plant that is better in the winter. Grain plants that grow fast such as wheat, rye, or barley are great for spring while legumes such as peas are better for the winter.
Keeping Track On Soil pH Level
The pH level of your soil is a factor that many people forget about because it doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, not knowing the pH level of your soil is a recipe for disaster. This is actually also a big part of why most plants don’t even grow in the first place.
When hydrogens ion is a lot more abundant, the pH level of your soil will be acidic (pH 1-6.5). You generally want your soil’s pH level to hover around 6.5-6.8 since most plant nutrients are soluble at this range. Anything lower than 6.5 will make your soil too acidic for plants to thrive in!
Choosing The Right Soil Texture And Type
Finding out your soil’s texture is a no brainer. Textures can range from fine to coarse and even gravelly. Try putting some soil on your palm and wet it and then feel the texture of the soil. If the soil feels gritty then it’s sandy if it feels smooth, then it’s most likely silty, and when the texture is rough and harsh when dry but smooth when wet, then it’s high in clay.
Try looking up what soil type is best for the plants that you want to grow and try adjusting what you plant based on what soil you already have.
Compost Pits And Piles
Building a compost pile is actually fairly easy, and yet people are intimidated by the process, which is why they generally try to avoid it. When piling organic materials, alternate the softer easy to decompose materials (such as fresh waste, manure, or crop wastes) and the rougher ones (such as dry leaves and straw). This makes the microbes feed on the materials a lot easier.
Don’t forget to keep your compost pile moist as this promotes bacterial growth. Don’t drench it with water, though!