The soil is the most important part to maintain in your garden. Since it is the base structure of your garden, you need to improve the soil with the essential nutrients so that your plants will grow and blossom healthy. Use organic soil for the garden, and it would give you the desired results for sure.
The soil in your garden is a complex ecosystem on its own. It contains many organisms that convert inactive components into active nutrients essential for the plants to feed on. Chemical-based fertilizers can harm these organisms, and switch to organic soil for gardening is the best way to support such organisms and enrich the soil providing a longer-lasting life for the plants.
Using organic soil for gardens will ensure the plants would thrive naturally. It is the best material in this regard. Untreated soil encourages good organisms to activate, multiply, and produce the nutrients your soil and plants would need.
You can experience significant improvements within your garden as its soil continues to improve with the increased rate of healthy worm in it that attracts butterflies, birds, larger insects, and other beasties.
How to Make Organic Soil for Gardens
If you could only spend a few hours working on your garden each week, you may have to buy all the products required to complement the organic soil for your garden. This would include plant food, feeds, sprays, dust, fertilizer, and other organic products. You could order them online or buy them over-the-counter from a gardening shop or store.
If you have time to spend working on organic soil for your garden, then it’s best to make your own compost, a combination of garden wastes remains of plants, grass clippings, dried leaves, and household wastes. Remember that the process in which compost is produced is important since the process should ensure that necessary nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and the other nutrients that your plants need develop with the compost.
For this purpose, you need to evaluate the soil in your garden. This will enable you to determine your soil needs and know accordingly what kinds of materials your local soil requires.
When you know what your soil needs, whether phosphorus, nitrogen, or potassium, you know what kind of trace elements you should purchase. Buying organic products for soil is the best thing to do. Generally, organic compounds such as animal manure, leaf molds, peat moss, ground barks, etc., improve drainage and water retention.
About fertilizing your organic garden, you should purchase an organically produced fertilizer. You have to make sure that you mix each element you place into the compost well before watering the entire area. The effects on your organic soil for the garden will become visible after a month or so, and when the soil is healthy, you can pant anything you like on it.
Soil preparation is one of the most important parts of a garden. With good soil, your garden will flourish. If you do not prepare the soil correctly, you will spend years amending the soil to improve it. It is much easier to prepare the soil without plants in it! Step One: The Soil Test Before doing anything to the soil, take a soil sample and test it.
The soil sample will help you determine if adequate nutrients are present and the pH is suitable for growing plants. Your cooperative extension office will have boxes and forms for soil samples and instructions on how to take a soil sample.
For garden areas, you will want to dig at least six inches down and collect about a cup of soil from four or five places throughout the area where you would like to plant. Mix all of the soil and let it dry. Then send the instructed amount to your extension office. They will send you backtest results.
You will most likely test the soil for pH and levels of phosphorous and potassium in soils. Nitrogen requirements vary depending on the plant type, and nitrogen is more mobile than phosphorous and potassium, so the nitrogen level in the ground when you take the sample may not be the same as when you get the sample back.
Depending on your state laboratories, you may be able to request recommendations depending on the type of plant you would like to grow. The pH of the soil is important because it affects nutrient availability to plants.
If the pH of the soil is off, plants will take up nutrients differently, which will impact their growth. Levels from 0-6 are acidic, 7 is neutral, and 8-14 is alkaline. Most plants like a pH of between 5.8-6.5 for the best growth.
Amending the Soil
When you get your soil test back, it will help determine if you need to add or subtract “amend” your soil. In addition to soil pH and nutrient levels, you may need to amend the soil to improve its structure. Soils that are very sandy benefit from the addition of thoroughly composted organic matter.
Heavy clay soils will improve with the addition of composted organic matter and sand to loosen the structure. The best soil is “loamy” in texture. This soil, when slightly moist, feels like a good pie crust before cooking! If the soil sample reports that the soil is too acidic, you will need to add lime.
Take your soil test sheet to your local garden center, and they can assist you with instructions for applying lime. If the soil test says that the soil is too alkaline, you can lower the pH by applying aluminum sulfate or sulfur. It is important to apply these amendments to the soil and thoroughly work them without touching the plant leaves, burning the plants.
Starting with a “clean slate” or a garden area with no weeds makes the garden much easier. To organically eliminate weeds, you can sterilize the soil. You do this by covering the soil with a dark plastic sheet for a few weeks in warm, sunny weather. This will cook the weed seeds and kill them. One drawback is that you can also kill beneficial bacteria and fungus in the soil as well.
To keep weeds from germinating after planting, let your plants become established, then apply a slow-release pre-emergence herbicide. This will keep weed seeds from sprouting. As always, when applying pesticides, read the label, and follow instructions exactly. Applying too much herbicide will kill all of the plants!
Symptoms of Low-Quality Topsoil
Topsoil is the number one most important thing in your garden, without a doubt. Those top 6 inches or so of soil will make or break your garden and how it looks and performs. It is one of those things that people wrongly think is not important and will overlook without consideration.
Many people will focus on the cosmetic appearance of their garden and then wonder why they are having problems. Below are some of the most common problems seen as a result of poor quality topsoil:
- Lawn areas starting to go brown at the first signs of sunlight.
- Lawns starting to fill with moss and other pests.
- Certain areas of your garden are seen to retain water easily or are sinking.
- Some flowering plants and shrubs are not performing in the way they should be.
- Your plants are not growing at the rate they have done in previous years
If you are experiencing any of these issues, then there is a chance your Topsoil isn’t as good as it used to be. Years of taking from it and not giving it anything in return are leaving their mark. Not only that, but the way that most of us treat the topsoil in our gardens is nothing short of tragic.
There are lots of reasons why your garden may be looking a bit worse for wear. Here are a few of them:
- Pets and wildlife, the call of nature as it were.
- The kids use your lovely green grass as a sports field.
- Your lawn takes a pounding from all the garden parties and BBQs.
Given the right amount of care your topsoil needs, it is still possible to do all of these things and still have a great-looking garden. And don’t worry too much if your garden is showing the signs. A good service should put your topsoil back on the right track.
You can repair the damage or improve what you already have and what’s more it is not that difficult to do. The simplest way is to get more nutrients onto your topsoil with compost or even horse manure.
Give yourself a budget, and then look to get the best one for that money. Looking around for a reputable supplier will help to make sure that this is so.
One thing to consider when buying topsoil is what you will use it for and the problem you are trying to solve. By identifying the problem, you can ensure you take the right measure. Do a little research into your issue and look at what measures are advisable for that issue.
If you have a lot of moss, you need to look for topsoil that has a good mix for drainage. If it is the opposite, there is a special mix to help this particular topsoil situation. A good and reputable topsoil supplier will help you with this and advise you on how much topsoil you will need.
Winter Soil Protection
With the winter months slowly but surely creeping upon every year, it is always a good practice for you to begin and prepare your soil for winter protection.
Keeping your soil rich and fertile will eliminate many gardening problems. Because soil is constantly changing, getting and keeping it in its best condition will also encourage good healthy plant growth.
To improve soil quality, adding manure in the fall and tilling it under will add nitrogen to it and raise its nutrient level. Adding organic compost such as garden wastes and shredded leaves will also add to the soil structure.
Since soils range differently from region to region, knowing what type you have will help you determine what types of amendments it needs to help make it rich and fertile. Sandy, Clay. Silt and loam are the main types of soil, and each type may and can be found in nearly every region.
- Sandy: the soil is coarse and grainy and dries out quickly.
- Clay: is very thick dries to be hard, solid, and clumpy, holding water.
- Silty: is a mixture of both sand and clay.
- Loam: considered to be the ideal soil mixture, it is rich and fertile, and it drains well
Loam is the type of soil that every gardener should try and work to achieve. When the right amount of amendments is added over time, your soil can become an ideal soil also.
Always try and use winter mulch on the bare ground spots of your garden. Winter mulching will help to prevent soil erosion. The use of pine bark, wood chips, or pine needles will help with the soil temperature and water loss while reducing the freezing and thawing of the soil.
Adding fertilizers (only after all your plants have died or gone dormant) and tilling it under a compost pile or manures will also add to the improvement of the soil.
To improve the potassium levels for the soil, add manufacturers suggested amount of granite meal, cottonseed meal, kelp meal, or other synthetic fertilizers. Remember soil amendments such as organic matters and fertilizers are added to the soil to improve its conditions. Your ground will need to be tilled again in the spring and your winter compost added before you begin your spring planting.