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Maintenance of soil health and quality for gardening

Maintenance of soil health and quality for gardening

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Asked  10 months ago
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What type of soil can be used for gardening, and how gardeners can improve its health and quality to support maximum plant growth, and production? Is it possible to improve soil healthy by using natural and inexpensive alternatives? Why composting is important for soil health?

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Gardening activities, plant growth, and development and production of beautiful flowers, and nutritional rich delicious edibles is significantly dependent on the soil type, and external management practices to maintain soil health, fertility, and productivity. The type of soil is mainly determined by the extent of the presence of basic soil particles such as sand, silt, and clay. Soil preparation and management is the most critical and thrilling aspect of gardening and therefore gardeners must pay proper attention to know the soil type and management requirements.

The requirements for soil management and gardening practices are greatly variable for each soil type. A general difference between types of soils is described below

Sandy Soil: These soils have abundant sand particles and cause quick leaching of applied water and nutrients. Therefore, cultivation in the sandy soil is not a good approach and gardeners should mix organic matter, clay, or compost in this soil to improve its water-holding capacity, and physical, chemical, and biological properties to support plant growth.

Clayey Soil: Clay soils have dense and tiny particles and helps to preserve nutrients and moisture contents. These soils offer poor drainage and become compacted and hard after drying, so clayey soils are not good for optimal penetration of plant roots. Therefore, clayey soil also needs amendment with compost, organic matter, potting mix, peat, or muck soil to support growing plants and gardening activities.

Silt Soil: Silt soils have fine soil particles that are tightly packed together and inhibit proper air circulation, and drainage. Therefore, silty soils are not good for gardening activities and must be amended to create well-aerated, and optimal conditions for growing plants.

Loam Soil: Loamy soils are ideal for most of gardening, and agricultural activities as it contains a good balance of humus, sand, silt, and clay.

Addition of Organic Matter and Manure

Gardeners can greatly improve the quality and health status of soil by incorporating contaminants free organic matter and compost. Organic matter is a well-suited amendment for all types of soils and helps to improve retention of nutrients and water holding capacity of soil. While, in the clay soils it is helpful to lose the minerals that become hard when the soil is dry and sticky when the soil is wet.

Moreover, organic matter and compost acts as a rich source of nutrients for plants and soil organisms. Therefore, the need of supplying chemical fertilizers is significantly reduced and growers can enjoy healthy, and contaminants free food. Animal poop is regarded as black gold for agricultural and gardening activities and the addition of animal manure helps to build soil nutritional profile along with adding organic matter and adding microbial action.

Rabbit Manure

Rabbit manure can be directly added to the plants as it is slowly disintegrated and offers slow release of nutrients upon breakdown.

Sheep Manure

Sheep manure is gentle for the plants and is greatly helpful to provide essential nutrients for excellent plant growth, and development.

Chicken Manure

Chicken manure is an excellent source of nitrogen but its direct application to gardening soil is not a good approach. It must be properly composted before adding to garden soil as otherwise it may negatively affect the growing plants.

Regulation of Soil Biota

Soil is home to enormous animals (microorganisms and macro-organisms) that helps to recycle dead leaves, and debris to valuable nutrients. Creation of a favorable environment is significantly helpful to boost the activities of soil biota.

Soil biodiversity and its maintenance is not only helpful to release nutrients but is also helpful to improve soil aeration, water holding capacity, pH, oxidation, and reduction reactions, cation exchange capacity, and anion exchange capacity. Therefore, plant roots can easily penetrate the soil and can access the untapped supplies of nutrients and water contents.

Organic Mulching

Organic mulching or biological mulching is a good and recommended practice of adding organic matter to the garden soil without affecting the roots of growing plants. Mulching does not only help to improve soil health, and fertility but is also helpful to suppress weeds, retain moisture, improved soil aeration, and to regulate soil temperature during weather extremities.

Addition of Earthworms

Earthworms are natural mechanical manipulators of soil and help to improve soil structure by the deposition of powder packed castings or worm manure. However, it is essential to note that earthworms require an optimal feed of mulch and compost and therefore an optimal supply of organic material is a must to improve their growth and functioning.

Cover Crops and Green Manures

Growing and incorporation of green manures and cover crops is essentially helpful to improve soil health and fertility status. Moreover, the addition of chipped debris, trimmings, pruning, and perennial cuttings is also a good practice to restore soil fertility.

Natural Amendments

Gardening activities do not always require a heavy dose of fertilization application as the essential nutrients can also be supplied from kitchen waste and dead plant parts. Therefore, gardeners can provide essential nutrients to the soil and plants by following ways

  • The addition of chopped materials of legume crops, blood meals, and fish emulsion helps to improve the nitrogen contents of the soil.
  • The addition of rock phosphate and bone meal is helpful to provide phosphorus in the gardening soil.
  • The addition of wood ash and banana peels helps to add potassium to the gardening soil.
  • Addition of lime, oyster shells, eggshells, and gypsum help to improve bioavailable calcium contents in the gardening soil.
  • The addition of dolomitic lime and Epsom salt is helpful to add magnesium to the gardening soil.

Raised Beds

If gardeners are not able to amend whole garden soil, they may prefer to grow plants in raised beds. Raised beds require minimum maintenance and management than the whole garden soil and are helpful to fix various problems instantly. Raised beds provide good soil aeration, drainage, and protection and thus plants can survive well in the managed structures.

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Maintenance of soil health and quality for gardening

Maintenance of soil health and quality for gardening

bounty icon
$50
Single winner
Asked  10 months ago
Viewed  0 times

What type of soil can be used for gardening, and how gardeners can improve its health and quality to support maximum plant growth, and production? Is it possible to improve soil healthy by using natural and inexpensive alternatives? Why composting is important for soil health?

  • add comment
avatar

Gardening activities, plant growth, and development and production of beautiful flowers, and nutritional rich delicious edibles is significantly dependent on the soil type, and external management practices to maintain soil health, fertility, and productivity. The type of soil is mainly determined by the extent of the presence of basic soil particles such as sand, silt, and clay. Soil preparation and management is the most critical and thrilling aspect of gardening and therefore gardeners must pay proper attention to know the soil type and management requirements.

The requirements for soil management and gardening practices are greatly variable for each soil type. A general difference between types of soils is described below

Sandy Soil: These soils have abundant sand particles and cause quick leaching of applied water and nutrients. Therefore, cultivation in the sandy soil is not a good approach and gardeners should mix organic matter, clay, or compost in this soil to improve its water-holding capacity, and physical, chemical, and biological properties to support plant growth.

Clayey Soil: Clay soils have dense and tiny particles and helps to preserve nutrients and moisture contents. These soils offer poor drainage and become compacted and hard after drying, so clayey soils are not good for optimal penetration of plant roots. Therefore, clayey soil also needs amendment with compost, organic matter, potting mix, peat, or muck soil to support growing plants and gardening activities.

Silt Soil: Silt soils have fine soil particles that are tightly packed together and inhibit proper air circulation, and drainage. Therefore, silty soils are not good for gardening activities and must be amended to create well-aerated, and optimal conditions for growing plants.

Loam Soil: Loamy soils are ideal for most of gardening, and agricultural activities as it contains a good balance of humus, sand, silt, and clay.

Addition of Organic Matter and Manure

Gardeners can greatly improve the quality and health status of soil by incorporating contaminants free organic matter and compost. Organic matter is a well-suited amendment for all types of soils and helps to improve retention of nutrients and water holding capacity of soil. While, in the clay soils it is helpful to lose the minerals that become hard when the soil is dry and sticky when the soil is wet.

Moreover, organic matter and compost acts as a rich source of nutrients for plants and soil organisms. Therefore, the need of supplying chemical fertilizers is significantly reduced and growers can enjoy healthy, and contaminants free food. Animal poop is regarded as black gold for agricultural and gardening activities and the addition of animal manure helps to build soil nutritional profile along with adding organic matter and adding microbial action.

Rabbit Manure

Rabbit manure can be directly added to the plants as it is slowly disintegrated and offers slow release of nutrients upon breakdown.

Sheep Manure

Sheep manure is gentle for the plants and is greatly helpful to provide essential nutrients for excellent plant growth, and development.

Chicken Manure

Chicken manure is an excellent source of nitrogen but its direct application to gardening soil is not a good approach. It must be properly composted before adding to garden soil as otherwise it may negatively affect the growing plants.

Regulation of Soil Biota

Soil is home to enormous animals (microorganisms and macro-organisms) that helps to recycle dead leaves, and debris to valuable nutrients. Creation of a favorable environment is significantly helpful to boost the activities of soil biota.

Soil biodiversity and its maintenance is not only helpful to release nutrients but is also helpful to improve soil aeration, water holding capacity, pH, oxidation, and reduction reactions, cation exchange capacity, and anion exchange capacity. Therefore, plant roots can easily penetrate the soil and can access the untapped supplies of nutrients and water contents.

Organic Mulching

Organic mulching or biological mulching is a good and recommended practice of adding organic matter to the garden soil without affecting the roots of growing plants. Mulching does not only help to improve soil health, and fertility but is also helpful to suppress weeds, retain moisture, improved soil aeration, and to regulate soil temperature during weather extremities.

Addition of Earthworms

Earthworms are natural mechanical manipulators of soil and help to improve soil structure by the deposition of powder packed castings or worm manure. However, it is essential to note that earthworms require an optimal feed of mulch and compost and therefore an optimal supply of organic material is a must to improve their growth and functioning.

Cover Crops and Green Manures

Growing and incorporation of green manures and cover crops is essentially helpful to improve soil health and fertility status. Moreover, the addition of chipped debris, trimmings, pruning, and perennial cuttings is also a good practice to restore soil fertility.

Natural Amendments

Gardening activities do not always require a heavy dose of fertilization application as the essential nutrients can also be supplied from kitchen waste and dead plant parts. Therefore, gardeners can provide essential nutrients to the soil and plants by following ways

  • The addition of chopped materials of legume crops, blood meals, and fish emulsion helps to improve the nitrogen contents of the soil.
  • The addition of rock phosphate and bone meal is helpful to provide phosphorus in the gardening soil.
  • The addition of wood ash and banana peels helps to add potassium to the gardening soil.
  • Addition of lime, oyster shells, eggshells, and gypsum help to improve bioavailable calcium contents in the gardening soil.
  • The addition of dolomitic lime and Epsom salt is helpful to add magnesium to the gardening soil.

Raised Beds

If gardeners are not able to amend whole garden soil, they may prefer to grow plants in raised beds. Raised beds require minimum maintenance and management than the whole garden soil and are helpful to fix various problems instantly. Raised beds provide good soil aeration, drainage, and protection and thus plants can survive well in the managed structures.

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