How To Care For Your Plant Soil
This year’s National Allotment Week theme is all about ‘Soil Health’ and the importance of having healthy soil to yield a successful harvest, as well as the positive impacts healthy soil can have on the wildlife in your local area. Ensuring you have healthy well-draining and nutrient rich soil is a key part in any garden, so here are our some of our key signs to help monitor your soil health:
Soil & Plant Colour
Healthy soil will typically be on the darker side, retaining moisture whilst not being muddy. Poor soil will typically appear to look like dirt, pale brown and dry. If you look at the plants you have growing, the foliage will be a rich deep colour if growing in healthy soil, whereas in poor soil plant foliage will appear dull and/or yellowing.
Structure & Texture
Test your soil when it’s not to dry or wet by collecting a cupful from around 8 inches below the surface. Looking at the texture of the soil, healthy soil should hold its shape but also crumble with ununiformed crumbs easily in your hands – this means the soil will have space throughout for a healthy flow of water and oxygen to develop healthy roots. Poor soil, however, will either crumble into large clumps or not break apart easily which would mean the soil is too hard with no spacing for water or oxygen to flow through the roots.
Top Tip: If you want to increase the quality and texture of your soil you should try adding mulch or organic matters to produce a richer soil. Starting your own compost pile is a great place to start.
Pests & Organisms In The Garden
A nice simple one, if your plants are constantly attacked by bugs (pests) they can tell the plants are weak and not supplied with enough nutrients, which should be coming from the soil. A healthy plant growing in healthy soil will have a natural resistance to bugs (pests).
In terms of organisms below the surface, such as spiders, beetles, earthworms etc, these are a positive sign. Healthy soil will allow plants and organisms to happily cohabitate with the organisms actually helping to produce nutrient rich soils from breaking down organic materials.
So, Remember: Pests Poor – Organisms Okay
Checking the temperature and pH level of soil can be a great indication of your soil quality. A healthy temperature for plants to thrive in the UK is between 10 & 24 degrees Celsius. You can test your soil by buying a ‘soil pH Test’ and ‘Soil Thermometer’ in store with us. The pH kit is a simple way to read the pH levels of the soil to find out if you need to make some improvements to bring the pH back to 7.0.
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