Understanding Fertile Soil

Soil is soil, isn’t that right? No! Keeping the right kind of garden soil will help you grow beautiful and healthy plants, and greatly enhance your landscape. Before changing your home’s garden soil, you need to test it to find out its pH level as well as its texture like clay or sand. This test will help you determine what needs to be added to have the best garden soil. Sulfur or limestone will take the pH to fairly neutral, which is ideal for many plants, and compost will boost the nutrients in the garden soil.


Soil Test

The best garden soil completely depends on what you want to grow. The acidity or alkalinity measure (pH) of the soil influences the way nutrients are absorbed by the roots of the plant. Most of the common plants do well with a pH of 7. Most soils are usually between 0 and 5 pH. So, you can easily do a soil test to know as well as to analyze where your existing garden soils falls on the pH scale. You can purchase a home kit to do such tests, or you can take a sample of your existing soil to the professional at a private lab or a county office.


When you collect the samples of the garden soil, you could likewise check the texture falling into one of these categories:

  1. Loam
  2. Clay
  3. Sand

Sandy soils usually require more light watering. Loam brings together the ratios of sand, clay, and silt; make it perfect soil for plants. Clay soil is good for maintaining moisture, which means taking care for clay soil is difficult.


The main texture, as well as the pH, will help you determine what needs to be added to the soil. It is not generally important to change your soil; however, including organic material like manure, compost, decayed leaves, or grass clippings, can enhance the nutrients in the soil. You can add 5-7.5 cm every year to improve the nutrients. Compost is commonly used as an additive and you can easily get it from your local Public Works Department.  Hummus or composted manure can also be good for your garden soil. Peat moss is ideal for sandy soils; however, a few gardeners are worried about the durability of peat moss harvesting.  Here is more information on soil fertility.

Bottom Line

If the pH is very high or low, you can add sulfur or limestone to amend the soil chemistry. Sulfur can lower the pH, while limestone can raise it; however, if you include organic material, then it might slowly affect the pH of your soil. If you are not getting the desired result, you might need to retest the soil.

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