Garden Soil Science – A Worm’s Eye View
Understanding your garden soil is the key to liberating the gardener within you. Once you understand just this tiny bit of garden soil science, you will no longer be intimidated by the mystery of how plants grow.
Garden gnomes not only garden in the dirt, they live in it. That gives us a unique perspective – a worm’s eye view of your garden’s soil. Below right is the front door to my burrow where I live beneath my garden.
Let me start by telling you that you can grow the finest vegetables, flowers or herbs in almost any medium available, once you understand the role of soil in your garden.
Soil, or any substance surrounding the roots of your plants, serves only a few important purposes.
First, it anchors the plant roots to keep the plant from blowing away or falling over.
Second, it acts as a reservoir to store water and nutrients to feed the plant.
Finally, the structure of the gardening soil must be porous enough to allow the roots to breath, yet dense enough so the moisture level can keep the roots from completely drying out. So, the “dirt” serves these purposes:
- An anchor for roots
- A nutrient/water storehouse
- A breathing organ for the plant.
As long as the vegetable garden soil is capable of doing those things for your plants, it does not matter what material it is made of, provided it isn’t toxic to the plants. Most of us think of gardening in the native soil contained in our gardens. But you don’t have to, and sometimes there are great advantages in creating your own gardening soil. Read the section on
garden soil recipes
I know a human market gardener that grows a variety of top quality vegetables in those little Styrofoam peanuts that shippers are fond of filling their packages with. Hydroponics growers use things like rock wool, hay bales, or course gravel to anchor the roots that are frequently washed with a nutrient solution.
What they all have in common is the ability to anchor the plant and provide the right combination of water, food and air. In other words, they provide the right structure to nourish the plants.
Back the to soil in your back yard; soil types are usually classified as:
Click on each of the links above to understand the characteristics of each of these soil types and how to improve them.
Many gardeners mistakenly assume that these divisions are dictated by the types of minerals in the your soil, but that is not entirely true. The division actually refers to the particle size of the mineral elements.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each of these soil types, but there is one solution to improving each of them – add
. This is the great secret for improving any garden plot. But, there are things you must know about adding
, so click and read.
If you find it too difficult to garden in the dirt in your place, here is a
garden soil recipe
that is better than dirt.
Learn more about Clay Soil
Learn more about Sandy Soil
Learn more about Silty Soil
Learn more about Loam Soil
Learn about adding Organic Matter to your soil
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