Rarely do we see healthy raw land ready to plant our gardens to survive. We usually have to help him in this area. Healthy soil can make the difference between a garden that produces abundantly and one that produces little for your efforts. If we’re already planting, we probably already know that we need to keep maintaining the soil in the garden if we want it to keep producing for us.
Here’s a double handful of anticipation that we can balance in different ways with the produce from our gardens and orchards.
Healthy soil must be tested
Many extension offices in the region offer free or low-cost tests to measure pH and the three most important macronutrients, NPK: Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. If certain plant substances are present, they can also be tested for trace elements.
The pH of the soil affects the availability of nutrients in a healthy soil for plants.
By knowing what soils are already there and what crops will grow there, we can adjust our rotations and changes as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Laboratory soil analysis kit
The soil test kit shows the exact amount of lime and fertilizer and allows you to buy no more than you need. A soil test can make the difference between the best food you can imagine and total failure.
Preparers can benefit from professional testing and using a meter or home testing in the same year to determine their accuracy. Then fill with additional test strips or a meter for further testing.
Be sure to collect soil from the root zones, not just the surface. Especially in areas where the soil is heavy, clayey or sandy, and where pines or oaks are superimposed, streaks and degradations can occur, creating very different areas at different depths.
* Just put on a clean pot lid to catch the steam from the cooking pot or kettle and let it drain if the stove, oven or grill is still working.
Healthy soil must be covered
How tired are we of talking about mulch? Yet they are so useful for healthy soil.
Mulch protects the soil from compaction, regulates temperature, reduces weed competition, stimulates the soil’s most beneficial microbes, helps prevent flooding during heavy rains, reduces evaporation and runoff, and in most cases feeds the soil slowly throughout the season(s).
When used correctly, they not only reduce the daily work of the gardener, but also provide long-term benefits for healthy soil.
If you don’t feel like mulching, at least cover your gardens in the off-season. Garbage bags or plastic wrap from trays or boats, tarps, children’s pools and irons from salvage yards, cardboard from the liquor store, blankets and whole sheets – anything that can be stacked will help prevent the growth of weed seeds and reduce the removal of soil and nutrients by rain and snowmelt.
Recycled wood waste
The trees in the neighborhood can meet many of our gardening needs. Sticks and branches can be cut to form fences and supports, they can be used with logs to create raised land edges, they can be used as wood cores or as bases in raised flower beds, they create slow moving plants and water bowls that keep our soil much more productive. Leaves or cut needles and branches make an excellent mulch.
A poplar fence can be made with sticks on your property.
They all have a great advantage over other plants or inorganic materials that we can use instead.
These trees have nice, deep roots, you know? They collect nutrients in layers of soil that are much deeper and wider than the flora of shallow water. When harvested, our gardens and orchards get an extra supply of micronutrients and the amount of nutrients our soil so desperately needs.
Some of our garden waste is fairly well known, such as coffee, tea and egg shells. Some of the less common options…
Household and municipal waste = fodder for your soil
- Leftover meat – If you or someone else kills (or cooks), save most of the meat. Before anyone gets carried away with the animal parts: You can buy bone and blood meal for your compost and garden, or you can make it yourself at home to save money and close the waste line. Compost requires balance and moderation in some things, especially wormholes, not extreme diets like we have.
- Feathers can be mixed directly into the garden, composted or shredded, which promotes both nutrients and soil structure – in this respect they serve almost as a substitute for peat.
- Cutting hides and pieces from shaving offers the same, as well as excellent moisture retention.
- Roast or boil the bones and then dry them outside or in an oven/dryer. Grind them with a small hammer on a sturdy cloth in an alley or bucket (which can also work with a drill pulling a chain on the bird’s hollow bones; the chain is heavier, but the theory is the same as fine-grain grinding). Then put it through a sausage grinder, coffee grinder or small grinder and scatter the resulting flakes and pieces in the garden or compost.
- Blood is an excellent addition to healthy soil and can be poured into flowerbeds or at the base of perennials, or go into compost or be put in a bag with leaves for leaf mold, as you buy blood meal to add to the garden.
All of the above products can also be reduced to ash or charcoal, or burned using craft methods using charcoal.
Balloon Nearly all
Wood ash, pseudochar and biochar can be made from a variety of household and home products that are readily available to feed our floors.
Don’t overdo it with the application of biochar or ash. A little is a lot, and maybe too much of a good thing. (Some recent studies have disinfected biochar after replacing 25 and 50% of the soil – most supplements have failed). Use the same small doses as for lime, granular fertilizers, powdered additives and ash.
Almost anything you feed a chicken or goat and use as mulch or compost can be turned into biofuel: Stems and cobs of sunflowers, corn and other grains; pea, bean or peanut pods; shredded wood; sugar beet, cane or sorghum pulp; crushed nut shells.
Hair removal and depilation of pets
The hairs can also be sprinkled or incorporated into soil, compost piles or worm bins.
It does nothing for predators and predatory parasites, little for soil structure, its hair and fur are absolutely full of all kinds of trace elements that can be quickly removed from our gardens, as well as large individuals: Nitrogen.
Worms are almost as diverse as horse or dog breeds, and like our animals, they have different tasks and needs. Old worms are big. Ideally, you’ll also see a group of much smaller, shyer, and leaner species wiggle.
They are even more responsible for creating the horizontal matrix of tunnels through the soil that promotes aeration and proper movement of water. They are also a much better indicator of healthy soil structure (they are not as powerful as earthworms) and, because they are more sensitive and specific, they indicate healthy soil biology in the form of microbes that allow these worms to recycle organic matter and release their black and gold rejects.
Both species provide compacted and easily accessible nutrients through wormholes and help translate nutrients into accessible formats for annual plants. They are most often seen in gardens that are rich in organic matter, low in pesticides and fungicides, and easy to work, especially with deep tillage.
If you throw a worm bin in your garden every 1 to 3 years only to see big pink earthworms or greenish woodworms, you need to seriously consider how home compost and leaf mold work and find alternatives to the powders and sprays you use, as well as the following two suggestions.
Stop stirring the soil
Understand what plowing is. He does certain things when he loosens the ground. This provides air (which can cause nitrogen blisters, which is one thing) and provides an easier platform for root expansion. It also decomposes the surface and underground plant matter and destroys all the fine, microscopic flora and fauna in the soil.
Sometimes it’s great. However, when matter is broken down, it is broken down faster and disappears faster – reducing the slow breakdown of matter and release of nutrients we see in healthy forests and grasslands. Moreover, it is no longer there to hold the floor in place or to keep it closed and protected.
This soil then crumbles under the influence of rain and traffic. In addition to losing air circulation, it loses its ability to move and retain water – both because the bags collapse and because there is not enough organic material to absorb moisture.
Tilling and compaction also prevents the reproduction and feeding of the microorganisms we depend on for healthy soil – like these worms.
That’s not what Greenie thinks. We’ve seen it many times, throughout history and lately often enough to capture it in photos and video.
We can buy and store supplements, fertilizers and pest control products, install worm tanks for nutrients, water and replanting and continue to burn fuel while treating and spreading, or we can even work with mechanical systems that provide better support and generally healthy soil so we don’t need them.
Do not walk on the floor
Even if we are mainland residents, we can designate beds and point out paths between them.
Ideally, walkways should be adequately padded (turf, mulch, etc.) to reduce walking and driving pressure.
In any case, small marginal areas are created in between where healthy life can thrive, and depending on the shelter, even the areas where we walk and don’t plow the ground become breeding grounds for beneficial insects and serve as water and nutrient retention areas that our plants can later access.
Our soil is like a human civilization, with specialists and generalists performing tasks in society, and people being healthier when they eat a wide variety of foods. The last two of our dirty dozen fill the roles of these workers and a varied diet:
If the same thing is repeated over and over again, the soil will eventually become impoverished. In many cases, they can also transmit diseases that accumulate over time.
Switching crops between plots and planting companion crops to meet some of their nutritional needs or to break disease cycles will help alleviate the problems.
Our soil then absorbs a variety of textures, compounds and nutrients that these plants provide as they are broken down.
Companion plants also add habitat diversity to our gardens and vegetable gardens by creating areas where beneficial insects feed and reproduce and protect soil microbes from other insects, creating their own functional ecosystem.
Are you ready for healthy soil?
The land looks like a small prosperous village. It depends on all kinds of inputs and outputs – bakers, gardeners, meat and grain producers, waste management, water management, roads to transport everything in and out, energy production, families to produce for future generations, someone to keep the bad guys safe, someone to protect them from seasonal changes and strange weather.
As a village, our soil should be noisy, with many shapes and sizes of soil and organic matter and even insects.
The more opportunities we have to feed and support this small community, the more profitable our gardens and orchards will be with bigger and better yields that require less work.
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