Garden soil-Nature’s Gold
One thing to remember is that in order to have a healthy garden, soil plays an important part if you are to have any success. Those delicious fruits and vegetables that we see when we go to the supermarket can only be produced in part because of the soil quality that they were grown in. The soil is such an important part of plant life that without it, we can forget about those wonderful fruits, vegetables and herbs that we love and flavor our meals with.
So with that said we will be looking at different soil types. But what is also important to know is that good garden soil is not dead as some people think but is very much alive.
What that simply means is that soil contains billions of microbes that live in the soil working hard to enrich that soil to meet the requirements that all plant life needs in order to survive.
These microbes break down leaves that fall on the soil surface i.e. dead plant roots, grass clippings, tree stumps, the bodies of dead insect and animal. This process enriches the soil while the plants, in turn, take up the nutrients through their roots.
Names of soil microbes
Sandy soil particles are larger than any other soil particle. It is dry and course and because the spaces between them are so far apart they cannot hold water. The water holding capacity is poor.
And so because of this, plants growing in this type soil do not get the adequate water nor vitamins that they need to survive. To test if you have sandy soil get a sample and wet it thoroughly. Place it in your hands to make a ball and if the ball crumbles after you release pressure by opening your hand then that’s a sign that you have sandy soil.
The good thing though about sandy soil is that you can plant desert type plants like cactus, zz plants and other drought tolerant plants in this type soil. Sandy soils can also be added to clay soils to help with better drainage.
Saline soil is brackish because of its high salt content. This type soil can cause damage to plants and kill plant seeds due to the build up of soluble salts in the rhizosphere. Excessive salt contents prevent water uptake by plants leading to drought stress. Signs that you have this type soil are white layers coating the surface of the soil, additionally, your plants are weak and leggy and they are suffering from leaf tip burn mostly in the younger leaves or new growth.
Silt soil has much smaller particles so that when you rub your finger over it, it feels smooth. This soil type holds water but when it comes to nutrients it cannot absorb it completely because of its structure. This soil compacts very easily because of continued foot traffic.
The soil particles of clay soil are so small and the spaces between them are so close that this soil type can retain or hold a lot of water, becoming gummy when it is moist.
When it is very dry it has a smooth texture. Clay soil drains poorly because of the size of its particles. Air circulation is poor also with this soil type. Clay soil can be very hard to work with when it is dry, especially during periods of hot weather this soil can compact easily.
Peat soil has a black brownish color and does not hold water very well. The key is not to let the soil dry out completely because once it does, it is hard for this the soil to retain water again. The upside of this soil type is that during hot summer months this soil as long as it is kept moist can hold or retain water very long for plant uptake.
Loam soil is the ideal soil for anyone who desires to have a garden where everything is growing good and healthy. Loam contains humus or organic matter, silt, sand and clay.
It has a good ph content along with calcium. Loam is dry and dark in color, forms a ball in your hand when you add pressure to it but crumbles when you release it and touch it. If you don’t have this type of soil, one of the things you can do is to add organic matter to your existing soil i.e. dry leaves, grass clippings, mulch etc.
Adding organic material to soils can also adjust the soil ph naturally without adding chemicals.
To know what soil type you have, you can always take samples from different areas of your garden and get it tested in a lab or you can do a simple home test.
Fill a small jar with soil samples from your garden.
Fill the jar with water, shake the jar vigorously and let this mixture sit overnight.
The day after you’ll see soil layers.
Clay at the top, Silt in between and Sand at the bottom.
Their positions will give you an idea of your soil type.
So remember nature’s gold makes it possible for us to grow all those wonderful fruits and veggies.