Soil fertility depends on a range of factors. To get an attractive blooming garden or harvest, you have to care about your ground's quality and state. Indeed, the type of soil also plays a vital role. However, you can improve the situation in any case. You can get healthy and fertile soil using crop rotation practice, green manure crops, and other valuable methods. In this piece, we give a short guide on soil improvement.
Get a soil test
This step is critical in the beginning. Even if your soil has enough nutrients, it is still significant to determine whether soil chemistry is balanced. These parameters are connected, and some nutrients can still be unavailable to the soil depending on the chemistry. However, there is a way out, just make a test, and you'll realize what to do to change the situation.
Soil can be naturally acidic or alkaline, depending on the region you live. The soil test will determine this, and you will adjust the soil's chemical balance from the pH values standpoint.
Adjust the soil pH
If acid or alkaline levels are imbalanced in the soil, it can't take up the nutrients properly. The test will show you what's wrong, and you'll get recommendations on how to achieve a perfect range. If the pH has to be raised, you can add lime or sulfur if it has to be lowered. The amount of sulfur or lime added will differ depending on whether you are using these substances in an already finished garden or creating a new one. The pH level should be checked every few years, as the used substances will be used up over time.
Adjust the soil texture
Soil texture plays a vital role when it comes to root nutrition. Clay soil, for example, traps moisture, which can lead to flooding and then root rot. The correct soil texture allows the root system to absorb moisture and air in just the right amount. Adding organic materials is the best way to improve the soil texture.
You can use compost or peat moss as organic material. These substances can significantly advance the soil state. Organic material retains water, preventing runoff, making the soil looser where needed, and allowing water and air to penetrate the roots. It also promotes the activity of beneficial microorganisms and increases the number of nutrients. Manure and grass clippings can also be used as organic materials. Besides, cover crops contribute significantly to improving soil texture.
Prevent soil compaction
This step is also intended to improve the soil's water and oxygen permeability. Compacted and hard soil can't provide plants with the right conditions for development. Young plants cannot receive the necessary nutrition and die, and the ground dries up and becomes sterile.
Microbiological activity is also hampered if the soil is compacted. Compaction is standard in clay soils and can also occur when working with too wet soil. In the first case, the addition of organic materials can solve the problem. If we talk about damp soil processing or other activities, then after winter, you should wait until the snow melts and the moisture evaporates completely.
You have to remember that walking in the beds can also provoke soil compaction. It is recommended to make paths for the passage between the beds. It will prevent the soil from trampling down, and it will be convenient for you to care for the plants without stepping on the ground.
Crop rotation is a time-tested practice. It involves changing crops in the same area, season after season. Why is this needed? The fact is that many pathogens may not appear in the first generation of the crop, but because the culture is the same, the disease may appear next year. In addition, pest infestations can also be repeated if the plants are not changed in the same area. Crop rotation does not allow various pests, pathogens, and diseases to take root and adapt to a specific crop type.
There is a range of connected practices and methods of soil improvement. However, you have to determine the soil type in your garden and adjust the pH levels to achieve success. It's also significant to adjust soil texture and prevent compaction to provide access to oxygen, water, and nutrients to the root system. Every described step is helpful if you want to improve garden soil.