4 Ways to Make Healthy Garden Soil
If you want to grow a lush and beautiful garden this season, you can use these three ways to build healthy soil. Today we will talk about adding organic matter, using raised beds, benefits of animal manure and coffee grounds as mulch. These materials will provide the soil with the nutrients it needs to thrive.
They will also help improve the structure of the soil, form aggregates, and hold water. Keeping your soil healthy also requires a high-quality population of soil organisms, which bind particles together and release nutrients to plants.
A balanced blend of large and small particles called organic matter is a key to healthy garden soil.
According to Wikipedia, organic matter is:
Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of carbon-based compounds found within natural and engineered, terrestrial, and aquatic environments. It is matter composed of organic compounds that have come from the feces and remains of organisms such as plants and animals.Wikipedia.com
Organic matter in the soil helps regulate water content in the ground and is also helpful as a drought-resistant nutrient. By increasing the organic mass in your soil, you’ll significantly reduce erosion and improve the soil’s binding, filtration, and structure. The good news is that organic matter is readily available in any soil type, so you can start enhancing the soil composition right away.
Organic matter contributes various nutrients to the soil, including about 20 to 30 pounds of nitrogen. Nitrogen is essential for healthy plant growth because it promotes stem development and chlorophyll production. Higher percentages of organic matter increase the amounts of sulfur, phosphorus pentoxide, and potassium in the soil. These nutrients provide a food source for plant roots and help plants combat harmful soil organisms.
An excellent way to create healthy garden soil is to use a raised bed. Raised beds allow you to make the soil you need in a controlled environment and are very easy to maintain. Raised beds are highly productive and will enable you to grow various crops. Raised beds also allow you to plant more intensively, so the soil retains more moisture. You can mulch around your plants for additional moisture retention and organic matter.
Soil for raised beds should contain 40 to 50 percent organic matter by volume. Organic matter prevents compaction, provides adequate drainage, and feeds beneficial microbes. Healthy soil has a variety of bacteria, fungi, and other organisms that feed plant roots and maintain a rich environment for plants. These organisms work together to transport nutrients to the roots of plants and release them in exchange for sugars and substances secreted by the plants.
One of the easiest ways to make your garden soil rich with organic nutrients is to use manure. This substance is rich in nitrogen and other essential nutrients and can be an inexpensive source of these vital nutrients. But there are a few things to remember when applying manure to your garden. The nitrogen in manure is in two forms: organic and inorganic. Organic waste is slowly decomposing while inorganic manure is immediately available to plants.
You must apply fresh or composted manure to your garden soil before planting. Composting will increase the soil’s pH, so it’s best to compost it yourself instead of buying it. Fresh manure will need at least two weeks to reach this state. Add manure to your garden slowly over several days to see how your plants react. Too much waste too quickly can burn the soil and delicate roots and kill your plants.
If you are planting hydrangeas or other acid-loving plants, consider using coffee grounds as mulch. They make an excellent ground mulch. Besides being acidic, coffee grounds are also suitable for plants with low pH levels. To get the best results, spread the coffee grounds about one-half inch thick over the soil.
Using coffee grounds as a fertilizer will significantly improve soil moisture retention. The increased organic matter helps the soil retain water better, which improves plant health. Moreover, it is an excellent phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen source. Plants that crave nitrogen will thrive in soil that is rich in nitrogen. Other plants that benefit from nitrogen-rich ground include roses, camellias, and azaleas.