Soil remains to be one of the most important aspects of growing your very own organic garden. Its basic structure provides the nourishment necessary for your plants to thrive. Usually, soil consists of clay, sand, silt, limestone, and peat. Here’s an introduction to the benefits and negatives of each soil type.
Silt is a basic type of soil that suffers, like clay, from major drainage issues. Silt soil is composed of may small particles which causes sticking and packing. If you’re working with silt, you must make sure to avoid walking or standing on the soil, and when cultivating, make sure it’s dry enough to stick to the bottom of your boots. Treat silt like you would clay, and dig it in Autumn. This will help to expose those particles to surface elements. If you’d like to improve silt soil drainage, dig a bucketful or two of grit into it every yard. Do this when you are applying organic matter. What will this do? In the slightest, it will raise your beds, creating a deeper bedding system. This should help your soil to warm up quickly.
Clay soils often create problems right away for the same reason. It’s not easy to work with such as sand, and at times, it can become an awful, boggy, soggy mess. Sand disallows the free passage of both water and air, and when it dries out, it can become almost like concrete. Clay is notorious for draining badly. However, if you improve the overall structure of the existing soil, clay can be an excellent soil to work with. In fact, clay is capable of producing some of the best-tasting, organic vegetables, but it requires some tender loving care. If you are dealing with clay soils, make sure that you dig during autumn. Also, make sure that the surface of your garden is uneven through the winter months. Why is this important? It’s simple. When the soil is exposed to surface elements, it can break down more rapidly. Just add organic matter to the clay soils, and the particles will be held apart so water will eventually pass through the roots more efficiently.
Sand is obviously one of the worst water hogs you can find. Sandy soils drain easily, and they can be extremely demanding as far as how much water they need. They also require a hefty amount of extra organic matter and plant food. Since nutrients drain more quickly, they’ll need much larger quantities. Even though sandy soils have obvious drainage problems, there are a few good things to consider when working with these soils. Sandy soils warm quickly, so they’re absolutely perfect for beginning plant growth. Also, the time to cultivate is not as important as other soils, so you can leave them during winter months. Sand is usually composed of larger particles making it simple to cultivate the tilth. If you refrain from walking on the soil when it’s at a stick consistency, you will be ok. If you would like to reduce the amount of drainage in your sandy soil, sprinkle some mulch across it as often as possible.
Alkaline soils are dry, thin, and hungry. Alkaline particles are just as large as sand particles, so water has the tendency to drain from them at a rapid pace. Why is this bad? It causes many plants to lose nutrients that are necessary for healthy growth. To absolve this problem, you’ll need to add fertilizers, organic fertilizers that is, to ensure that they receive the right nutrients. More often than not, alkaline soils are unsuitable for proper plant growth. You can leave this soil to rough over during the winter months. When timing your cultivation, you can also add a layer of topsoil. Eventually, your soil will be on its way to working for you instead of against you.
Finally, the last soil to consider is peat. If you are lucky enough to get peat as a soil, you’re an organic gardening millionaire. Grow often, grow a lot, and grow as intensively as you possibly can. Peat is very fertile, and peat is extremely easy to work with. Since they contain large amounts of acid however, they can through your pH levels off a bit. It’s necessary that you choose the right plants, and there shouldn’t be too many problems. The best part about peat besides its tendency to produce healthy, abundant plant growth, is that there is no specific time to cultivate with peat. It can be left to rough during winter months, and it’s a most sought-after soil.
Knowing your soils is the first step in producing your very own organic garden. Once you know your soils, you’ll be on your way to producing healthy vegetables that you can enjoy daily. In this day an age, when large pesticide-abusing agribusiness is pushing unhealthy foods onto the shelves and into our health, it’s necessary to take action. If you’ve ever considered growing your own organic garden, now is the time.