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Author: admin, 06.12.2013. Category: What Is Organic Food

It’s hard to overstate how important it is for gardeners to understand the soil in their garden. The soil dictates the kind of plants that you can grow and has a huge bearing on how well your plants will grow once you have selected them.
As indicated in our introduction to garden soil, perhaps the two most important characteristics of soil that you need to understand are soil texture and soil structure.
When we talk about soil texture we are concerned with the mineral particles in the soil and in particular with the relative proportions of clay, silt and sand. These different mineral soil particles affect soil texture mainly because of their relative differences in size.
As gardeners we often talk about improving our soil, for example by adding organic matter or fertilisers.
Such additions can indeed improve the soil structure as well as certain characteristics of the soil such as its fertility or its water holding capacity, but the soil texture itself will not be altered. It is possible in some cases to change soil texture at a particular site by adding significant quantities of differently textured soil to what is already in place.
This is because, as indicated, texture is dictated by the relative proportions of the mineral particles. It is useful for soil scientists and even for gardeners to be able to describe soil texture accurately. You might wonder what the difference is between, for example and loamy sand and a sandy loam. However, it will repay you to know whether your soil is sandy, loamy or clayey, because the differences between these broad classes are marked and the soils in the different classes have quite different properties that affect how we need to work with them as gardeners. In straightforward language, 'Gardening for Beginners: How Plants Grow' takes you through the science and the practicalities, linking the theory to the relevant gardening tasks.
You dream about a lush green lawn, a wonderful flower garden or a productive vegetable garden, but the puzzle has a missing piece: good soil.
Don`t be a perfectionist, so let small quantities of scattered grass spread out across the ground. Bees are also attracted by clovers, consequently these tiny insects will come more often and pollinate your plants. It is recommended to rotate plantings from year to year so that the vegetable garden soil gets the opportunity to regenerate its depleted nutrients. Mulch adds organic material to the garden soil, prevents erosion, excessive evaporation and inhibits weed growth. Spread the autumn leaves as mulch over the garden soil, because it will protect the soil from eroding during winter. Do not use black walnut leaves this way because they contain dangerous elements that will poison the soil. The best materials for composting are horse, cow, goat, sheep and poultry manure, fallen leaves, pulled weeds, vegetable peelings, egg shells, grass clippings and leftover food scraps. To see if the soil is warm enough, stick your hand or a finger a few inches down into the soil.
If you plan on planting cool weather crops (like lettuce, peas or cabbage) next year, you will want to do some of your tilling the fall before. Knowing when to till a garden and how to till a garden will help your garden grow better every year.

If you are starting a vegetable garden, or even if you have an established vegetable garden, you may wonder what is the best soil for growing vegetables. Some soil requirements for vegetable plants are the same, while others differ depending on the type of vegetable. We recommend before preparing soil for vegetables that you have your soil tested at your local extension service to see if there is something your soil is lacking in from the lists below.
Organic material – All vegetables need a healthy amount of organic material in the soil they grow in.
Organic material can come from either a compost or well rotted manure, or even a combination of both. Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium – When it comes to soil preparation for vegetable garden, these three nutrients are the basic nutrients that all plants need. Trace nutrients – Vegetables also need a wide variety of trace minerals and nutrients to grow well.
While exact pH requirements for vegetables vary somewhat, in general, the soil in a vegetable garden should fall somewhere be 6 and 7.
Sandy soils are coarse because they are dominated by the relatively large particles of sand. This is because this kind of improvement does not add to or subtract from the mineral (sand, silt, clay) content of the soil. But this does not really work when it comes to any attempts to increase the sand content of clay soil.
Because clay particles are so many times smaller than sand particles, it is virtually impossible, at least in a garden situation, to add sufficient sand to affect the relative proportions of clay to sand particles. The answer is that it is the second word of these descriptions that provides the basic characteristic of the soil. Whether your soil is a silty loam or sandy clay loam is not going to matter much to you, because those soils are quite similar as they are next to each other in the hierarchy.
Even if chemical fertilizers are a good short term solution, they become harmful in long term. This way, compacted soil is loosen, while water absorption and drainage are significantly improved. Legumes are the only plants able to capture nitrogen from the air and convert it into a benefit for other plants. The explanation is that different plants have different nutritional needs, so they consume specific soil nutrients that must be regain afterwards. It is also an option for covering the ground in shady areas, especially under trees and shrubs, where grass doesn`t usually grow. Practically, this means that instead of turning the soil over to a depth of one spade, you turn it to a depth of two spades.
There are compost tumblers that can transform yard and kitchen wastes into good dirt in just a few weeks.
There are some people in the world of gardening who believe that you should be tilling your soil at least once, maybe twice a year. If you are unable to keep your hand or finger in the soil for a full minute, than the soil is not warm enough.
The soil will not be dry enough or warm enough to till in the early spring when these plants need to be put in the ground.

Things like the right amendments and the right soil pH for vegetables can help your vegetable garden grow better. They are also known together as N-P-K and are the numbers you see on a bag of fertilizer (e.g.
If your vegetable garden soil tests significantly above that, you will need to lower the pH of the soil.
So, in this example a loamy sand is more sand than loam, whereas a sandy loam is more loam than sand.
Instead, organic materials are the most appropriate method to improve the structure and the fertility of the soil even if the results are not immediate. Don`t use lawn aerator shoes as they actually compact the soil due to the small size of the spikes. Straw is great mulch for vegetable gardens and it must be dug under after the harvest so that it can decompose during winter and enrich the soil for spring. Aeration and drainage are improved, particularly when combined with the raised bed technique of bed preparation. When done right, composting doesn`t smell and generates the best dirt for you to dig into your garden. Improving your garden soil is probably the most important step in grwoing a bgeautiful garden.
There are others who believe that tilling your soil at all can be harmful to your soil in the long term.
Before tilling your soil, you must wait for two things: the soil must be dry enough and warm enough.
If the soil in your vegetable garden tests significantly lower than 6, you will need to raise the pH of your vegetable garden soil.
Other legumes you can grow in your garden for nitrogen-fixing benefits are beans, peas and lupin flowers. During the digging process, ad compost, rotted manure, leaf mold or other organic components that can enrich the garden soil. Called humus, final compost aerates clay soils, improves water retention in sandy ones while enhancing soil structure and fertility. For the purposes of this article, we are assuming that you wish to know how to till a garden on a yearly basis.
Secondly, organic material “softens” soil and makes it so that the roots can more easily spread through the soil. While organic material does provide these nutrients, you may have to adjust them individually depending on your individual soil.
Do not use rocks, pebbles, bricks, pavement or other heavy materials because they compact the ground and do not provide organic materials.
Organic material also acts like small sponges in the soil and allows the soil in your vegetable to retain water.

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