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Author: admin, 09.09.2014. Category: Organic Foods

A CONSTRUCTION firm has donated 20 tonnes of topsoil to help landscape a community garden in Sheffield.
VINCI Construction UK worked with Worrall Community Association on the project for The Memorial Hall on Towngate Road, Worrall. The firm worked provided and delivered the soil, which will be landscaped and seeded by payback volunteers.
Dr Mary Cooke, association chairman, said: “We appreciate VINCI Construction UK helped us achieve our latest goal of being able to landscape the Memorial Hall garden.
As defined by the Soil Science Society of America soil is a “complex mixtures of minerals, water, air, organic matter, and organisms, which form at the surface of land.” In other words, soil is the thin outermost layer of the Earth’s crust that forms the basis for existence of life on this planet.
Soil is a precious resource, and we can all do our part to ensure that healthy soil is part of the legacy we leave for future generations.
Understanding soil quality is very important – it is our single best indicator of sustainable land management.
Promoting plant, animal, and human health (ie: promoting plant resistance to diseases and pests, breaking down toxins, and decomposing waste products).
Bare soil in pastures, paddocks, and driveways is quickly lost as water moves across the surface. In the summer months, bare dry soil is easily carried from your farm to your neighbor’s with the wind. Compaction damages the natural soil structure and delicate plant roots struggle to grow through hard and compacted soil.

Repeated tillage can break-down the natural soil structure that is so important for healthy roots and soil microbes. Plants remove nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium from the soil as they grow. Soil organic matter is made up of plant and animal materials in various stages of decomposition (manure, compost, dead and decomposing plants and insects, etc.).
Most soils in western Washington are acidic due to the climate and the fact that many of the areas we use for gardens and pastures were originally forested. Blending a combination of Compost and Manure through this soil adds well needed substance to garden or lawn areas. Cultivate your knowledge by viewing the articles, publications and tutorials written by our horticultural specialists. Like our own skin, we can’t live without the soil but at the same time we often take it for granted!
Water moves across the surface of compacted soils instead of filtering down through the soil and into groundwater.
Consider reducing or eliminating the roto-tiller from your gardening routine, and keep the soil protected with mulches and cover crops.
While soil organic matter makes up only about 5% of the total soil, it plays a very important role in soil quality! Soil is a valuable asset on the farm, but quickly becomes a pollutant when it gets in the water!

Plants depend on roots to draw nutrients from the soil and when root growth is restricted, access to nutrients is restricted. This increases the chances of flooding, standing water, and pollution of to streams and rivers. A soil high in organic matter is more resistant to damage and recovers more quickly from tillage and compaction, and contamination from herbicides or other toxins. Most pasture grasses and agricultural crops thrive in near neutral soils (pH ~ 6 to 7.5), and certain nutrients like iron and phosphorus are less available to plants in very acidic or alkaline soils. Overgrazed pastures are often suffering from compaction and weeds are much more competitive than pasture grasses in compacted soils. Adding compost, manure, or fertilizers back to the soil is important to keep the soil healthy and the plants growing.
Lime can be used to raise the pH of acidic soils and add calcium (an essential plant nutrient). By allowing overgrazing of pastures, you are increasing the weed pressure and putting grasses at a disadvantage.
Most pastures in Snohomish County benefit from yearly applications of 1-2 tons of lime per acre.  For more information, see Soil Fertility.

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