Rich soil: Best foundation for plants


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It is the dirtiest secret among gardeners: soil provides the key to plant’s health and a garden’s vitality. The type and quality of your soil affects not only the success of your garden, but also how you’ll spend much of your time working there. Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil – but you don’t have to live with it. Most gardeners don’t start with great soil. Whether yours is hard and compacted, sandy, stony, heavy, clay or wet, you can get best garden soil which is possible through amendments, composting, mulching, using rotted manure and more.

Ideal soil offers a hospitable environment for plants in a blend of air, water, and nutrients. But the ideal soil loam, a humus-rich balance of silt, sand, and clay eludes most gardeners. Even those who are fortunate enough to start with good soil must contribute to its improvement regularly because soil is a living layer of earth that changes naturally with time and the weather. Even if you are lucky enough to have great soil, you can’t expect that soil to remain rich and productive without replenishing the nutrients that are consumed each growing season.

Get Started With Composting
Turn yard waste into valuable soil booster.
Compost is an essential element in organic gardening. Compost is a rich and crumbly blend of partially decomposed organic material that does wonderful things for your garden. The compost adds humus, organic matter that cannot be broken down any further, to the soil. The humus aids in nutrient and moisture retection in the soil and also changes the density of the soil. Composting is not only beneficial for its soil building properties; it also greatly reduces the amount of garbage that can end up in a landfill where they take up space and release methane, a portent greenhouse gas. So composting also helps to reduce methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint. The compost ingredients are naturally decomposed and reused instead of being thrown away. Compost can also help reduce the amount of toxins in soil due to pesticides or fuels. Compost can regenerate the soil and prevent the spread of the toxins to other plants and into water sources.

Building And Maintaining A Compost Pile is the surest, easiest way to becoming a better gardener. Not only will you be producing the best possible food for your garden, but watching leaves, eggshells, orange rinds, and grass clippings become transformed into rich compost filled with earthworms and other soil creatures, you’ll be learning what healthy soil is all about. Composting is a natural process of recycling organic material such as leaves and vegetable scraps into a rich soil amendment that gardeners fondly nicknamed ‘Black Gold.’

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Compost Is Garden Insurance
Even very experienced gardeners often have soil that is less perfect. Adding compost moderates pH and fertility problems, so you can concentrate on the pleasures of gardening, not the science of your soil’s chemical composition. Unlike organic or inorganic fertilizers, which need to be applied at the right time and in the right amount. Compost can be applied at any time and in any amount. You can’t really over-apply it. Plants use exactly what they need, when they need it.

Can A Gardener Ever Have Enough Compost?
It is doubtful. Compost is the perfect thing to spread around when you are creating a new garden seeding a new lawn area, or planting a new tree. Compost can be sprinkled around plants during the growing season or used as mulch in your perennial garden. You can add compost to your containers and patio planters. You can also use it to enrich the potting soil for your indoor plants.

Guidelines To Success In Working On Your Soil:
For long-term success, it is better to feed the soil than the plant
Feed your soil every season and every time you plant, using organic matter, such as compost, rotted manure, and chopped leaves.
Don’t dig when soil is too wet or too dry- it damages the soil.

Don’t walk on your beds. Stepping on your soil compacts it, preventing air, water, and nutrients from reaching plants.
Avoid over tilling. Excessive rototilling or digging destroys the soils structure, leaving it powdery or rock hard.

When you want to grow healthy plants in your garden, the soil is as important a factor as are water and sunlight. You an improve your soils ability to support thriving plants of all kinds by protecting it from compaction, amending with nutrients and adding mulch as top dressing. An ideal soil includes various proportions of clay, sand, humus, water and air. You can smell a good soil when you’ve got it.

Source: The Guardian Newspaper