Saturday, August 3, 2013

Topsoil Tips For The New Gardener

New gardeners are a pretty enthusiastic bunch. They envision great things about the bare earth, deciding on what vegetation or shrubs to plant and where to put them. They plot their charts and count the days until the next bloom. But the first thing they have to worry about is whether or not their topsoil can nurture their vision. Find out if plants will GROW.

G - Get acquainted with the ground. The existing topsoil could be made of sand, silt, or clay or a mix of all three. Sand is common in coastal and desert areas. Silt is deposited near rivers and lakes. Clay is usually found in mountainous regions. All three have their own disadvantages. Sand may not be able to retain a lot of water, silt might get too compact, and clay could get too hard. An ideal mixture of loam consists of 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay.

R - Recognize viable plant life. Whether the existing soil or a topsoil hybrid is used, plant life will still be at the mercy of local weather conditions. Narrow down the choices by considering the plant life that would mature on the soil considering the climate. It is still possible to nurture more exotic species, though, but it would mean putting in the effort to simulate their natural environment.

O- Observe the topsoil. Analyze the soil with a DIY test kit, litmus paper, an electric pH meter, or simply look for plants that have grown wild in the backyard and find out the ideal pH for their growth. In general, the perfect topsoil for plant development has a pH level between 6 and 7. As the pH lowers, topsoil becomes more acidic. This lead to stunted plants and weak scrunched up leaves. Topsoil that has a higher pH becomes alkaline and can dry up the earth, preventing growth altogether. Nevertheless, there are certain also plants that blossom in soil that is slightly more acidic or more alkaline. The key is finding the right temperament for it.

W- Weigh the options. There are many ways to provide the right ecosystem for a good-looking garden. Premium topsoil can be bought. Soil remediation techniques can be used. Soil treatments can also be applied. Keep in mind that appropriate amounts of water, air, fertilizer and compost are needed either way.
Gardening is a great way to pass the time. The time and hard work it requires develops patience and diligence. It isn't just about digging the dirt and burying seeds either. It's also about having the right topsoil to make the environment conducive for growth.

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