How Soil Might Just Be The Best Investment You Ever Made

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Many people just beginning their journey into home growing have a belief that to achieve optimal results you need expensive and complicated equipment.

Whilst many expert home growers recommend using extensive grow tent setups, intricate air filtration systems and top of the range lighting many beginners overlook the necessity for good quality, organic soil.

That’s not to say that the above equipment doesn’t have its uses and noticeable benefits to any grow. However, these can be thought of as complementary additions to the more experienced grower.

Whereas obtaining healthy, nutrient-rich soil is really the very first weapon in any home grower’s arsenal.

Most people understand that soil is composed of a mixture of weathered (small, broken down) rocks and organic matter as well as water and air.

Few people realize that the true power of any good soil lies in the living organisms that inhabit it.

Small animals including insects, worms and even microbes provide the perfect mixture of nutrients for healthy, growing plants and vegetables.

It is important to note that the prevalence of these living organisms is entirely dependent on specific elements within the soil remaining in balance.

Soil type is generally classified into three main categories. The first category is that of large particles (sand), the second category is composed of medium-sized particles (silt), and lastly the very small particles (clay).

These three distinct particle types and their respective sizes when mixed together will determine the makeup of your soil.

The specific proportions of these particles will affect everything from your soil drainage, the physical texture of the soil and of course, not forgetting, the nutrient availability within your soil.

This nutrient availability will determine how much sustenance your plants and vegetables get and how well they will grow.

A smaller but nonetheless as equally important component of good quality soil is the amount of organic matter within it.

Organic matter normally comprises only a small fraction of your soil but performs an essential job.

Organic matter such as the decomposing remnants of other plant life like moss, leaves and even vegetable matter bind the soil particles together into porous clumps.

These clumps allow air and water to flow easily through the soil as well as retaining that water and storing nutrients.

 

Most essentially these granules of organic matter provide food for all the friendly microorganisms that you want living within your soil.

It’s common knowledge that you can increase the organic matter within your soil by using manure, mulches or for the environmentally-minded amongst us, composting!

This organic matter such as compost makes excellent sustenance for all the soil life inhabiting your soil.

From protozoa to bacteria, nematodes to earthworms, the organisms that live within your soil perform the important function of turning organic matter into the essential vitamins and nutrients that assist with plant growth.

Every home grower’s first job should be to provide these tiny organisms with three key components, namely food, oxygen and water.

Most healthy soils have is made up of around 25% air. Like all living creatures, the tiny organisms within your soil require oxygen to live but additionally the air in the soil is also the source of the nitrogen used by plants.

The aeration of your soil is dependant upon the soil particle makeup we previously discussed and is the reason why finding the perfect balance of particles is an essential job for any home grower.

If you use too many small soil particles such as wilt or clay this may impede the airflow and deprive the soil of vital oxygen.

Conversely using too many large particles, like sand, which has large pocket spaces for air may incite too much airflow, which could lead to matter decomposing too quickly.

It is important therefore to always remember that when growing you need to provide lots of organic matter and a balanced airflow.

Don’t undo all this good work by accidentally tamping the soil down by standing on it or using heavy gardening implements.

Crucially it is also vital not to work on your soil when it is excessively wet as this may have a negative effect on the airflow.

Water is the final key component of good soil and should make up around 25% of your soil.

Proper airflow and particle make up provides a balanced and even route for the water to travel around the soil.

When soil becomes waterlogged for instance, the water has filled the natural cavities within the soil and forced out all the air. This is why a perfect balance of all these components is essential for any grower who wishes to have the best foundation for excellent growth.

Whilst many home growers wish to create this great foundation and environment themselves, it can be difficult to find this perfect balance straight away and I would always recommend sourcing high-quality soil until you are comfortable and experienced enough to be implementing the above strategies yourself.

 

This post was written by Marcus Benson an experienced home grower and blogger.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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Most healthy soils have is made up of around 25% air. Like all living creatures, the tiny organisms within your soil require oxygen to live but additionally the air in the soil is also the source of the nitrogen used by plants.

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