that spring is almost here........it's time to get the gardens ready.
But every year, I work and work and sometimes, the things I plant just don't survive. Harsh wind is one problem, but the main problem..........is tired soil.
Healthy well balanced soil makes it easier to grow a variety of beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables. Because of the different soil types not all plants will grow well in your garden soil.
Once you know what kind of soil you have in your garden, there are many ways you can improve it.
To improve a soil, first identify whether it is basically
or a mixture of these.
Also you can buy kits that are simple to use and give you a reasonable accurate reading for nutrient and acidity/alkalinity content. Acidity or alkalinity is measured on a pH scale that ranges from 1.0 to 14.0. Pure water measures 7.0. Anything above the level of 7.0 is acidity. Anything below the level of 7.0 is alkaline.
Developing a "feel" for the soil type
this is an important step to learn about what type of soil you are working with. Dig down 3 to 6 inches , to where the plant roots grow. Scoop out a cupful of slightly moist soil, place it in a glass jar, and shake it thoroughly. Take some soil from the jar and rub it between your thumb and forefinger. Does it feel gritty? If so, that's a sign your soil is largely sand. Soil that feels smooth, like flour, is primarily, silt. One that feels sticky is clay. Another way to identify texture is to take a spoonful out of the jar and squeeze it in your palm. If the ball you made falls apart almost as soon as you open your hand, the soil is sandy. If it crumbles when you poke it with your finger, the it is loam. If it keeps it's shape after it is poked, it is clay.
Now to remedy your soil:
Clay soil is made up of minute mineral particles that tend to clump together. It is heavy and sticky to dig. It tends to drain poorly. When clay dries, it becomes rock hard and cracks. To make the most of its natural fertility, you need to improve drainage and aeration by working in organic material (ranging from kitchen wastes and shredded leaves to well-rotted manure and compost) or sharp sand, so that the texture becomes less compacted.
Silt soil is less finely textured than clay but still commonly suffers from poor drainage and inadequate aeration. Because the type of soil absorbs and drains water slowly, it erodes badly in heavy rains. However, it holds moisture very well in dry spells. Like clay soil, silt benefits from liberal doses of organic materials such as shredded leaves.
Sandy soil is light and esy to work. Although it warms up quickly in spring, giving plants a good start, sandy soil drains so quickly that the nutrients can be washed out. As a result, it needs plenty of organic matter and the careful attention of fertilizer.
Loam soil contains a good balance of clay, silt, and sand. It also has good texture and plenty of organic matter. You are lucky if you have loam soil, as it is easily cultivated of all soil types and hold water and nutrients well.
Although it is still quite early in the year, and most grounds are frozen at this time, it is always best to know about your soil and the plants you want to grow before planting. Good healthy soil produces, good healthy plants!
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