How Do I Prepare and Test My Soil?

Just like we need good food to ensure we have enough energy and live happy, healthy lives, plants also need the best food and nutrients to avoid disease and to survive. The reason organic farming in Australia is a growing industry is because we realise that local food which is free of pesticides has a range of positive effects on our lives and the environment. So it’s necessary we give our crops the same treatment to protect the quality of what we produce.

 

Preparing your soil improves its ability to hold water, which means your plants will have more reserves throughout the year. The best time to prepare your soil for planting is in autumn and can generally be put into three group: sand, clay and loam.

 

Getting to Know Your Soil

Finding out which soil type you’re dealing with is easy- simply dig down around 10cm and take a handful of soil to inspect. Make a fist and squeeze your soil into a ball to see if you have loamy soil, because if it is, the soil will make a ball which crumbles easily. This means it has both rougher and finer particles and a good range of organic material in it.

 

Clay soil will form a smooth, round ball when you squeeze it and will harden if you let it dry. If you have clay soil, that means it doesn’t have to be watered as often as loamy soil and will hold onto nutrients longer.

 

But clay soil can become waterlogged without adequate drainage and aeration. This means that heavy clay gardens may need a natural mineral called gypsum to improve its structure.

 

Sandy soil, on the other hand, won’t form a ball because it has large, coarse particles. Sandy soil may need organic matter added to it so it doesn’t become water repellent and bad for plants.

 

To understand how much water your soil can hold, pour a litre of water into a pot of soil. Measure what drains out of it and remember that the more your soil holds, the better. If you need to improve the water-holding capacity of your soil, add compost, animal manure or any other safe form of organic matter to strengthen your soil.

For more information on testing and preparing your soil for the year, as well as advice on innovative Japanese paper pot planters to reduce strain and time on physical labour, call 0449 268 131, email us at curlysplanter@outlook.com or fill in our Contact Us form today.

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