April 27, 2015
Healthy plants add beauty to the landscape and give a property a personality. Done well, healthy plants and tasteful landscaping can even increase the value of a home. But where does it all begin? It starts with healthy soil.
Soil and all of the organisms that live in it provides the foundation for healthy plants and landscapes. Those organisms, also called microbes, protect plants from disease, recycle nutrients and feed healthy plants by enabling them to draw nutrients from the soil. Adding organic matter such as mulch or compost, enhances the soil by feeding the microbes. It also helps to prevent the soil from compacting and to hold moisture.
So how do you know if you have healthy soil? Here are some tips from the Ecological Landscaping Association on how to create the healthy soil you need to grow healthy plants.
- Before you plant test your soil for composition, texture, pH, and overall composition
- Depending on the results, apply organic soil amendments that will add to your particular soils health
- Prevent soil compaction by minimizing the use of heavy equipment in the garden
- Avoid working with wet soil
- Cover exposed slopes and soil to prevent erosion
- Use permeable paving materials for driveways and walkways to prevent runoff and allow rainwater to naturally drain into the earth
- Amend the soil with organic matter such as seaweed, shredded leaves, compost from recycled garden waste and vegetable and fruit scraps
A little up front soil preparation can make all the difference in growing healthy plants and make your gardening experience not only more fruitful but more enjoyable as well.