To get better rewards from your efforts in the backyard and create abundant, healthy plants you need to provide decent soil. Among the most efficient methods of repairing any soil problems is to use a pH meter or test kit, to analyse the dirt to find out if it is too acidic or alkaline, and then take these measures to rectify this.
The soil can be analyzed and awarded a pH value; this is a unit for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. The soil is classed as acidic if the pH level is in the range of 1-7, neutral with a pH of 7 or alkaline with a pH of 7-14. It’s important to know the pH of the soil as this impacts the source of major and minor nutrients to the plants, without which they won’t flourish. When the pH level is low then specific elements – nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur and magnesium – are in short supply. When the pH is high the nutrients that are unavailable to the plants are potassium, iron, manganese, boron, magnesium and copper. Most crops perform best in a neutral soil with a pH of approximately 6-7 so your goal must be to reach this level.
They are simple to use and can be found at garden centers and nurseries or you can get your soil tested at the local agricultural extension office. It’s highly recommended to test soil samples from other areas of the garden as these may differ, as an instance, some builders rubble might have been left in the soil in a specific spot that might increase the alkalinity. If you will need to decrease the acidity of the soil then you need to add some lime (calcium carbonate or dolomite), limestone or wood ash. It’s a bit more difficult to lower the alkalinity of soil but to do this you may add sulfur or obviously organic materials like peat moss, conifer needles or sawdust. When changing the makeup of the soil you will need to take it slowly and aim for the change to occur over two or three years.
Although a lot of plants grow best in a neutral soil there are numerous plants which thrive well in acidic soils such as azaleas rhododendrons, daphnes, ericas, and heathers. For those with alkaline soils then the crops to grow comprise gypsophila, scabiosa, anemones, lilacs and carnations. The consequences of the soil may also play a role in the character of the plants, vegetables and fruit that you grow. Soil can be categorized into three distinct types: sandy, clay and loam that are all composed of mineral particles that vary in size, form and composition. You may identify your soil by its texture in your hand when it’s moist.
Sandy soil doesn’t stick together, feeling rough and gritty. It’s composed of particles of stone with big spaces in between allowing nutrients and water to drain away regularly before they’ve been consumed by the plants. On the other hand, it will have good aeration and is easy to cultivate. Clearly this sort of soil requires improving to make sure that the plants can get the nutrients that they needed for good growth. The addition of animal manure, leaf mould or backyard mulch will do wonders to enhance sandy soil. This will have to be a continuous practice as organic materials break down with time.
Clay soil sticks together, feeling tacky and plastic. It’s composed of fine dense particles that retain too much water which makes it “heavy” and hard to cultivate. In warm weather the soil can get very hard and the surface becomes cracked. For great plant growth the inclusion of large amounts of organic matter like compost or leaf litter will help with drainage and provide decent aeration.
Loam sticks together and is friable but not gritty. It’s composed of coarse and fine particles, providing excellent aeration and drainage that’s excellent for a wonderful variety of plants. Aeration is important as it allows a great intake of air across the main system, a major plus for abundant, healthy plants.
Once you’ve attained a loamy soil in your garden it’s necessary to keep on adding organic matter on a regular basis to keep it in good shape and maintain nutrients. Following these steps will ensure your success with a fantastic healthy harvest.