Top Ways to Prepare Your Garden Soil so it’s Nutrient Rich before Planting
Perfectly fertile soil is a blessing that all gardeners can appreciate. However, fate isn’t solely responsible for the kind of soil you end up with. You can practically modify your soil and make it nutrient rich for a successful plantation. It’s not too difficult either and just requires a basic understanding of what healthy soil comprises of.
The texture of the soil plays an integral role in the cultivation of plants. Ideal soil texture should be crumbly. It is also abundant in organic matter like dead animals and plants that enrich the soil with all the nutrients that the plants need. The soil should have adequate aeration so that oxygen can reach the roots. It should have good drainage to prevent waterlogging and must also have a pH that is close to neutral yet slightly acidic since the efficient mineral uptake by the plant occurs best in this range.
Here are some of the best ways to prepare your garden soil so that it’s nutrient-rich before planting!
Manure from all livestock introduces plenty of nutrients for soil organisms and plants, mainly nitrogen. As beneficial as manure may be for the soil, it runs the risk of contaminating your homegrown vegetables. Even though the presence of pathogens in manure from small farms or homesteads is almost rare, you must allow a three-month gap between the application of manure and the harvesting of leafy vegetables that are close to the ground. If you’re using manure, you must be wary of its overuse which can result in excess amounts of phosphorus. So don’t use fresh manure unless it’s for heavy feeding plants like corn.
Composting mainly recycles the organic content in the soil while stabilizing the highly volatile and soluble nutrients, catalyzing the formation of soil humus. When done right, composting can effectively suppress plant diseases and significantly improve the soil’s ability to hold water. You must apply one-quarter of an inch of compost per season to allow that desired slow release of nutrients for your crops. There are a few ways to go about composting.
The classic composting method requires you to assemble tall piles of high nitrogen greens like grass clippings in a bin and alternating their laters. High nitrogen greens are the first to go down so they’re in direct contact with soil to provide it with essential nutrients while the dry and coarse browns containing dry leaves are applied at the covering layer to keep the soil from losing volatile nutrients and water.
Regulate the pH
Plants grow best when the required nutrients are readily available. However, most of the essential nutrients for plants are soluble between the pH 6.5 to 6.8. Therefore, in this pH range, plants are able to readily uptake these essential nutrients and grow at a qui0ck rate. If the soil pH is higher or lower than this, these nutrients are no longer soluble and bind to soil particles, making them unavailable to be taken up by the roots. If your soil pH is higher or lower than this, modifying it within the aforementioned range takes a couple of growing seasons at least. In case your soil pH is lower than 6.5, apply powdered limestone to it during the fall season since it will take several months to bring increase the soil pH. Wood ash works quicker than limestone to raise the pH. Apply 4 pounds of powdered limestone per 100 square feet in sandy soil, 8 pounds in good garden soil and 10 pounds in heavy clay soil. In case your soil pH is higher than 6.8, you can acidify it by adding ground sulfur, conifer needles, peat moss, sawdust and oak leaves. Apply about 1 pound of ground sulfur per 200 square feet of sandy soil, 2 pounds for good garden soil and 2 pounds in heavy clay soil.