After last year’s completely bombed harvest in my backyard garden, I am determined to improve the sandy, nutrient deficient dirt in my backyard for the upcoming growing season. I’ve been gardening forever it seems, but apparently I have a couple of things to brush up on and wanted to make sure that it was done the most natural organic manner.
So I thought if I would like to turn my sandy soil into rich loam I’d better do it right this time and I began with doing some research. To make a long story short, this is what I have discovered; the two of what I want to do and how to go about doing this.
- Organic matter improves the texture of sandy soil by filling in the spaces between the very small stones which then increases the water holding nutrient holding capacity of the soil allowing the dirt to maintain both water and fertilizer for the plants so that they could get to it instead of it running off or seeping down.
- What is organic matter? Organic matter includes plant materials like shredded leaves, grass clippings, horse, cow, sheep, goat and poultry manure, peat moss, pulled weeds, kitchen scraps like egg shells, vegetable peelings, coffee grounds (no meat or fish scraps though), sawdust, wood chips, and seaweed/kelp. FYI – most weed seeds will be killed off by the warmth of the decomposition, but I’d still need to steer clear of any invasive or noxious weeds (i.e.: bitter sweet, poison ivy, etc), just in case!
- It’s ideal to build your organic thing up in a compost heap of some type. This heap could be any where you find to be out of the way but available to add to it and also to have the ability to turn the materials over occasionally to accelerate the decomposition. Your heap could be a fancy especially made bin which turns – which will really speed things up, turning your yard and kitchen wastes into magical dirt in a couple of weeks.
- Compost does not smell if done correctly. All organic matter ought to be composted first (already well rotted) before adding to the present soil. Compost is known as humus once it has become the rich colored soil. It will enhance the moisture retention, soil structure and fertility of your sandy soil.
- How can I add the finished compost or humus to my backyard? You only have to set the humus in addition to the present soil as if you’d mulch at about 2″- 4″deep (this works well in established perennial beds or around shrubs and trees ) or scratching to the upper layer of soil lightly or you’ll be able to work it entirely into the current soil with a spade, fork or roto-tiller. You can also do both working it into the present soil and then putting some on top as mulch. This will have to be done each year from now on.
- Test the soil to discover the pH level of acidity and alkalinity. Most plants do well when the pH is between 6 and 7, meaning the soil is slightly acidic. A pH that is less than 7 means the soil is acidic – the lower the number the more acid it is. You’ll have to bring some agricultural lime to produce the soil sweeter or to make it less acidity. A pH that is greater than 7 means that the soil is alkaline. If the number is extremely high you’ll have to add agricultural sulfur to decrease the pH level.
- Here’s a little advice when adding fertilizer is desired. Complete fertilizer comprises 3 significant components – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Nitrogen encourages leaf growth, and potassium and phosphorus help out with flowering and fruit production.
That’s lots of advice, but I hope that it will help you too and is simple enough to follow. After all, we put plenty of blood, sweat and tears into our gardens and have such high hopes for them that we deserve to have our dreams come true for life. Good luck and happy organic gardening!