Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants and the preservation of the environment. In good condition, garden soil does not require large expenditures on pesticides and fertilizers. Leaves, compost, and grass clippings turn humus, which helps retain moisture and drain simultaneously. Humus is usually rich in organic soil, which is filled with air, soil friability is maintained, and the roots get access to oxygen.
Organic soil also contains many minerals that are essential for plant growth. In addition, healthy soil is full of living organisms, without which the maintenance of soil quality is impossible. Also, do not forget about such an essential characteristic as pH. In this article, you will find information on how to check the health of the soil in your garden and what to do if it is not healthy.
Most soil nutrients are available in the soil when the pH is between 6 and 6.5. An increased pH level causes substances such as phosphorus and iron to become less available. When the pH drops, nutrients can reach toxic levels and harm plants. A soil analysis test can help eliminate nutrient problems and take the guesswork out of fertilizer selection.
In addition to nutrients, the balance of microbial life is also essential. Most of the soil food web includes protozoa, fungi, and bacteria. Among them, there are both beneficial organisms and pathogens. Some keep the soil healthy, while others can cause various problems, including root rot, mold, late blight, and fungi.
A soil test will help you identify soil problems and deficiencies and improve your soil for maximum plant growth. You can choose the next steps to soil health improvement and choose the proper fertilizer based on the results. To learn more about soil health testing, visit https://eos.com/blog/soil-testing/
Approaches to efficiently manage soil fertility
Animal manure delivers nutrients to the soil, which depends on many factors. First, the type of animals, storage conditions, food, and bedding are essential. Also, when applying this type of fertilizer, it is crucial to consider the time of year. It depends on how quickly it is applied to the soil. Soil conditions also affect the rate of penetration of nutrients into the ground.
Animal and bird manure contains potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. The preferred use of waste is compost, and for wet manure, spreading time is critical. For example, it cannot be applied within 120 days after harvest when growing crops that a person will consume. At the same time, if the edible part does not touch the soil, the restriction is valid for 90 days.
Green manure or cover crops are obtained from deciduous plants. Such plants are sown from seed in autumn or spring and grown over several weeks or months. Then, before flowering, these plants are cut and used as mulch.
Gardeners can also resort to planting green manure to control weeds. They also improve drainage, prevent soil compaction, and limit erosion by stabilizing the site. In this way, soil health can be significantly improved before planting the main plantations. Green manure is often used on those beds that are going through a break in cultivation and are preparing for future crops. Growers can add crop rotation or growing green manure in vacant lots as a soil health practice.
Composting is not just a process of decomposition and digestion, as there are ways to store and preserve organic materials that are good for the soil. Otherwise, simple carbohydrates and amino acids would be leached out and oxidized. Microorganisms live in the soil and collect and store nutrients. They are found in large carbon molecules called humic acids. These molecules are associated with clay particles in the earth.
Soil microorganisms are closely related to plants and are actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi. You can promote the activity of these microorganisms. It is necessary to compost organic waste by creating piles, swaths, and piles, mixing them with materials rich in carbon and nitrogen.
Earthworms are also microorganisms and macroorganisms that affect the condition of the soil. They play a critical role in the decomposition of organic matter, the formation of humus, and the processing of nutrients in the soil, which significantly improves their availability to plants. Earthworms feed on dead and decaying materials and excrete nutrient-laden manure. The abundance of compost leads to the appearance of many earthworms. The process of growing earthworms in organic waste is called vermiculture. Vermicomposting is the recycling of waste using this type of microorganism.
The soil is a complex system, the functioning of which directly affects the well-being of plants and productivity. Maintaining soil health is an essential part of gardening. To successfully maintain a healthy soil condition, it is crucial to keep the pH levels in balance so that various nutrients are well absorbed. In addition, it is essential to prevent soil compaction so that the plant roots can be saturated with oxygen. Besides, gardeners should take care of the life of microorganisms, due to which the soil also remains fertile. Soil testing and the described practices help solve many problems related to soil and plant health.