NOTE: THIS IS A REPRINT OF AN ARTICLE ON MY PREVIOUS BLOG AS I REBUILD THIS INFO HERE.
Without soil there would be very little garden and while many of the inner city dwellers opt for container gardening as they’re limited by space, many other gardeners are limited to soil due to costs. So it makes sense to keep your soil healthy.
It stands to reason that your soil is the most important resource in the garden which has sparked considerable debate between fertilising plants vs. improving the soil. Me…I’m certainly sitting on the soil improving side of the fence. That being the case, how do you improve your soil and keep it healthy year after year and crop after crop.
Read on for signs of soil fatigue…
- Non-Water Absorption – often soil can become impermeable by water. This is usually because the soil is packed too tight and won’t allow anything into it. Sandy soils are easily penetrated by water whereas clay soils can resist it. However, very sandy soils struggle to retain the water and clay soils don’t. How do you correct this problem? Trying adding some compost to your soil and digging it through where possible or using it to mulch where it’s not possible. You could even try adding water saving crystals but this should only be viewed as a temporary measure.
- pH Levels – for various reasons your soils may be, or perhaps even become, too alkaline or too acidic for the plants you are trying to grow. On a range of 0-14 (0 being extreme acid; 14 being extreme alkaline) most plans prefer soil that is mainly neutral – 7pH but it will depend on the type of plant. Test your soil using a pH tester and then rectify acidic soils with lime and alkaline soils with compost and manures.
- Compacted soils – this is common with clay soils so if you want to break up the clay, apart from adding organic matter, try adding dolomite.
- Soil-borne diseases – this isn’t common but can occur in your garden. Many gardeners who grow vegetables rotate their crops each season to guard against this happening in their beds. Apart from chemical solutions the best practice is to leave your soil fallow for a year or two.