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Healthy Garden Soil
The health of the garden soil influences the success of the crops that are being grown and how much it can yield for the summer in the garden with companion planting.
There are 3 basic types of soil: clay, loamy and sand. To find out what type of soil you have, take the test below
This soil test will help you discover what type of soil you have. It is important to improve the quality naturally with organic matter. Mulch (or organic ground cover) is placed on top of the soil around the plants using them as soil healers and protectors. This method will assist in neutralize the soil, depositing minerals that enrich the soil that assists in growing a healthy, organic vegetable garden.
3 Basic types of soil
There are 3 basic types of soil: clay, loam and sand. To identify the type of soil you are dealing with, grab a handful of moist soil from the area where the garden is going to be. Roll it into a ball shape.
If it stays formed and is sticky, that means the soil contains clay. This soil tends to stay water logged and cracks when it dries. Clay soil needs attention with generous amounts of organic matter to break up the density, creating air space for the seeds to grow.
When rolling a handful of moist soil into a ball. The shape will quickly fall apart. That means the soil does not hold water well. Sandy soil needs large amounts of organic matter added to it. This will make it nutritious enough for seeds to germinate and sustain the crop to flower then turn into vegetables.
When rolling a handful of moist soil into a ball. The shape will hold but will fall apart. That means the soil is a mixture of clay and sand which is the preferred soil to grow organic vegetables, herbs and flowers.
What color is your soil?
The color of the soil depends on the mineral content. Soil that is pale/ white has very little nutritional value. Light brown and orange soil has a small amount of nutritional value and the dark brown and almost black soil is the richest in nutritional value, ready to be used for growing. The lighter the soil the more it need attention for nutritional help.
How to identify the pH of the soil?
The pH of the soil is important to identify if the soil is acidic or alkaline? Are your strawberries growing well in the garden? That is a sure sign of acidity. Is the site surrounded by cedar trees? Acidity. Are dandelions growing? That is a sure sign of alkalinity. Slight alkalinity is the best pH for the soil to have in the garden. Earthworms find aslightly alkaline soil the ideal conditions to help nourish the soil by getting nutrients ready for the plants when the vegetables, herbs and flowers grow for us to utilize their nutritional benefits in healthy food. When in doubt, send a soil sample to your local agricultural office or university to find out your soil's pH (a chemical breakdown of the soil)
What additives to use for nutrition to get the soil healthy?
All soil can be improved by adding mulch to the soil in your organic garden. Keep pulling out the weeds and place them on top of the soil as mulch. A Co-Op is also a good place to pick up mulch material. Leaves and straw is an excellent source of mulch.
What is Mulch and benefits when using it
Mulch is organic matter that is placed on the soil to nourish and protect it. Any organic matter like leaves, straw, hay, paper, cardboard can be used. Anything that can be shredded into small bits and that will decompose. There are many benefits of mulch in the organic garden. It will keep moisture in the soil; keep the weeds under control while feeding the soil nutrients, making this method very productive.
The Benefits of using Green Mulch
Green mulch are soil conditioning plants like mustard, linseed and alfalfa. Broadcast the seed on the soil and keep it well watered till it germinates. Just before the plants are about to go to seed, pull them out and lay them on top of the soil. This is really useful when you do not have access to other mulch material - a kind of grow your own mulch. The alfalfa can be cut back close to the ground and it will regrow, giving you a constant source of fresh green mulch materials. Follow this link to helpful plants for fixing soil.
Liquid Manure and benefits to using it
Making liquid manure is a way to provide plants with a fast liquid nutrient. The process involves rotting plants in water (this is rather smelly). Use a bucket with a tight fitting lid, suspend a sack of plant matter and manure in water. Allow this to rot for 2 -3 weeks and it is ready to use to feed your organic garden. Dilute the liquid manure in a ratio of 1:10, feed this mixture to the plants that you have transplanted or plants that are ailing.
Composting and benefits when doing it
Composting is the process of recycling organic matter from the kitchen and organic matter from the garden together, allowing it to decompose in order to create new soil with high content of nutrients. A benefit of composting is having your own personal supply of healthy, organic soil on hand. Knowing exactly what ingredient was added when making the compost........more on composting
Weeds growing from the soil
Most of the "weeds" in the garden are some kind of soil indicator of what is lacking in the soil. Weeds represent what minerals are missing in the soil. Weeds can restore a natural balance in the soil when they are placed back onto the soil. Weeds are useful mulch material and should be used to cover the soil, around the plants.
What to do with weeds?
Use weeds from the garden to repair and prepare the soil for the spring. Instead of throwing out the weeds use them to make mulch. Pull out all the weeds in the garden. Put them in a designated spot, in a pile on the soil. This will allow the weeds to deposit nutrients back into the soil. Use leaves from the maple trees or old grass cuttings. Cover the soil with any organic matter. This will provide nourishment for the soil naturally. Get the soil ready to grow vegetables, herbs & flowers in a natural enviroment.
Health of the garden soil is dependant on good soil nutrition. Look out for earthworms in particular; they are good indicators of soil health. They assist the soil to work effiently.
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**Disclaimer**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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