Holistic Gardening – Healthy Soil
The Components of Healthy Soil
The soil you grow in is one of the most important ingredients in Holistic Gardening. This is the domain of the plant roots. Roots have three major functions:
1) absorption of water and inorganic nutrients.
2) anchoring of the plant body to the ground.
3) storage of food and nutrients.
To preform all of these tasks the soil needs to be taylored to meet the needs of the plants you are growing. There is not one soil that can meet the needs of all plants. What we grow today comes from all over the world and are native to many different soils. Amounts of water, water pH, nutrients, organic matter in the siol, soil pH sunlight, airmovement and temperature variations all need to be looked at as well as beneficial soil biology.
Healthy well balanced soil does not just happen, it takes constant work and care to keep all elements synchronized with each other.
Anytime you plant a crop and take away parts of it for food or other uses you change the makeup of the soil. You have to replace the elements you removed or the next crop will not be as well balanced.
Crop rotation can be a major player in keeping your soil healthy. There are crops that use major amounts of nitrogen out of the soil while others add nitrogen back.
This wheel give a graphic depiction of what all is needed for healthy soil:
Soil Structure, soil biology, organic material and plant nutrients are all needed for healthy plant life. You need to get tests run on your soil to find out where it is weak and work on those portions to build it to where you need it for the corps you are planning on growing. There are plants like blue berries that like soil pH as low as 4.5 while oregano can go as high as 9.0.
The water you use can have a major impact on your soil. City water with chorine can seriously damage your soil biology. If it is what you have to use be sure and water with some sort of sprinker that breaks it up into a spray. Most of the chorine will eveaporate befor it hits the plants. Well water should be tested and you should talk to your local extension agent to get his recommendations.
Adding compost is a great way to keep the organic content of the soil where you need it. There is many articles written on composting that can help you.
Adding mulch is a good way to protect you soil from heat and evaporation. One thing you need to watch is that some types of mulch act to pull nitorgen out of the soil so you may need ot add some when you mulch. It also in many cases becomes next years compost.
Keeping a nutrient balance in your soil is never easy so there are times when I go to foliar spray when I see problems developing in the leaves. It does not replace good soil structure but works a short term remedy till you can reballance the soil.
Healthy soil is not difficult if you keep with it and work to build a natural environment for you plants.
Both our Turf and Garden Pro liquid products used as a soil drench or as a foliar spry and our AgriPro Dry use in the soil can make a difference by adding soil biology, trace elements and humates to help retain water and fight disease.
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