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Tips To Improve Your Garden Soils

Do you have trouble getting plants for your garden to grow? Even with a regular water schedule using fertilizer but with no success. The problem may be with your soil.

Soils are the foundation of a garden, and it is important to maintain them. It may not have the correct texture or composition for the plants to grow. While you are not able to change or replace your soil, there are some things you can do to help it. Fixing your soil is easy. If you follow these tips, your garden will look great in no time.

Soil Texture

One of the more common problems is that the soil is not the correct texture. The texture of the soil is important to plant growth. You can test your soil.

There are two ways to test for the texture of the soil:

A) Take a handful of soil, wet the soil slightly and try to form it in a ball in your hand and squeeze it in your hand, if it crumbles easily then it is sand or loam. Sandy soil will not be able to hold the shape.

B) Place a shovelful of soil or sand in a bowl and fill with water, if there are chunks forming then it is clay. Clay will form into a ball and will not break.

Sandy vs Clay

Sandy soil can use fine particles and clay likes coarser particles. Loam is best for the garden. This will provide nutrients and hold the proper amount of water. Sandy soil will not allow for proper draining. Clay soil can be hard and the nutrients will wash away before the plant can use them.

To help the soil add a layer of compost. Add organic matter to your garden beds: Adding organic matter to your garden beds is one way to improve their quality. Compost is a great option since it's easy and inexpensive, but you can also use leaves and other natural materials like straw or wood chips. You should also add compost regularly so that it doesn't get depleted by the roots of plants.

Use mulch: Mulching is another way to improve the quality of your soil. In addition to keeping moisture in for plants and preventing weed growth in between layers of mulch, it also helps prevent weeds and repels insects.

Imbalanced pH level

The improper pH level is another problem. The soil pH level affects the growth of plants such as flowers and vegetables. It is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of soil. The pH levels in soils vary depending on the terrain, climate, rainfall and other natural factors. There are kits to test the pH level at most garden centers.

In general, soils with a pH level below 7 are considered acidic while those with a pH level above 7 are considered alkaline. The ideal pH will be between 6.0 and 7.5.  Anything that is higher or lower will be too acidic or too alkaline.

Acidic vs Alkaline

Alkaline soil is good for plants because they are not bothered by pests and diseases that thrive in acidic soils. Acidic soil on the other hand, which is less common, can cause plant diseases like Botrytis Blight and Pythium Root Rot to flourish.

For alkaline soil, you can use some sawdust, peat moss, wood chips, or pine needles. Similarly, if the soil is too acidic you can add some crushed eggs, clamshells, ashes, or calcitic lime. The addition of these materials will increase the pH of the soil and make it more suitable for plants.

Final Thoughts

If you want to have a beautiful garden, it is important to take the proper steps and let your plants adjust. Be patient with your plants and give them enough time, you should have a beautiful garden in no time.

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