Improve Soil For Next Season
With most gardens fairly quiet and empty, late winter and early spring is a great time to improve your soil. Healthy soil can make all the difference to your fruit and vegetables. It’s important to replenish your soil as intensive growing can leave it stripped of its goodness.
What Kind Of Soil Do I Have?
There are many remedies to improve the soil in your plot or garden but it is important to first identify what kind of soil you have. You’ll need to know the pH level of your soil and whether you need to alter it.
The majority of fruit and vegetables prefer a pH of about 6 or 7 (about neutral), but slightly on the acidic side. A Soil pH Meter or Soil Testing Kit will allow you to easily test the pH value of your soil.
If you need to increase the pH value of your soil, adding lime is a simple remedy that can increase the alkalinity. However, if you need to decrease the pH value of your soil, adding organic matter, such as compost and leaf mould to your soil can help. Stronger methods for lowering soil pH include the use of sulur.
In terms of texture, your soil can be predominantly made of sand, silt or clay. Sandy soils appear more crumbly and have a gritty element, whereas clay soils can be moulded into shapes and are sticky when wet. You’ll find silt somewhere in between.
Different soil types have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to determine your soil type before attempting to improve its condition. For example, clay soils can suffer drainage problems and may not suit plants that need free draining conditions. Light, sandy soils need a lot of watering.
Organic matter will add a dash of good bacteria and replenish important nutrients. It can be used as a soil improver/conditioner, which is mixed into the soil, or as mulch, which is placed on the surface of the soil.
How To Make Leaf Mould
Earthworms – A Soil’s Best Friend
Earthworms will pull organic matter down into your soil helping to break it down and release nutrients. Worm casts will also benefit your soil as they contain good soil bacteria, as well as a high concentration of beneficial nutrients.
One of the keys to restoring the health of our soils is through the process of remineralisation. Finely crushed rock (or rock dust) contains micronutrients and trace elements that are important to the life cycle of plants. You can buy volcanic rock dust that can put back vital nutrients into the soil. This can be spread across your soil and hoed in during early spring.
Need further help?
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