Soil Acidity and Texture – The Controllers of How Does Your Garden Grow
Today, we want to talk to you about the condition of your soil. To get the best results in your garden it is imperative to ensure that the acidity or pH and texture are correct for the plants you are intending to grow.
Once you have assessed these two things you will be able to make informed decisions about what may or may not need to be added to your soil to enrich it.
Just as we humans and the swimming pools we bathe in need to have the correct pH, it is important to have the correct pH in your soil.
An ideal pH level for all living things—animal, mineral or vegetable is 7.
This does not mean that certain plants will not thrive in other pH levels. You will even find that some plants prefer to have either alkaline or acidic soils.
You can purchase a simple reasonably priced soil test to assist you with this step from your local hardware store.
Soil pH will inform you of the organic matter within the soil. If your soil registers a pH under 7, it is termed acidic and it will require some compost. Soils registering over 7 are termed alkaline, which means they will also require treatment.
The texture test is all about determining the amount of sand, silt and clay that exists within your garden.
Source soil from near the surface and no deeper than 8 inches. Let it dry out and pulverise it so that it is in smooth granules.
Place it in a glass jar that will have it at an approximate level of 1 inch. Add a quarter teaspoon of dishwasher soap (this does not foam) and enough water to fill the jar to two-thirds.
Shake it well and put it in a place where it will not be disturbed.
At intervals, you will need to mark the settling of the sediment. One minute indicates the amount of sand. Four hours indicates the amount of silt. The rest is the amount of clay and can take several days to completely settle.
The ratio of sand to clay will tell you what sort of drainage your garden has and how often it will need watering. It will also indicate if it requires any assistance with either letting the water get away or encouraging it to hang around.
Bacchus Marsh Redgum & Garden Centre is able to make up and supply just about any type of soil mix you require, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Stay tuned for more installment on How Does Your Garden Grow.