One People, One Planet, One Future

Close

Mindful Gardening

3 Natural Soil Boosters

September 19, 2017

Is it a struggle to keep your garden alive? It takes more than the right balance of sunlight and water to keep your greenery thriving—nutrient-filled, well-balanced soil is also important. Adding a few organic materials to your soil can improve the nutrient issues and turn a brown gardening thumb green.

The minerals and organic matter in soil help grow and sustain plant life. Over time soil loses these nutrients in various ways. For instance, when water constantly flows over the soil (from excessive watering or rainfall), it can cause erosion and wash away nutrients. Excessive cultivation can also destroy the soil as well.

If the nutrients aren’t replaced the soil can reduce your crop growth and even kill your plants. Listed below are a few ways you can nurture your soil back to good health.

First Things First: Buy a Soil Test Kit

Some expert gardeners can decipher what their soil needs by the yellowing of certain plants or the distortion of the new leaves. If you would rather take the guesswork out of the equation, consider soil test kits. There are kits that will measure things such as nitrogen, potassium, pH, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus levels in your soil. You can use the results from this test to improve your soil quality with a few natural ingredients.

  1. Eggshells for calcium. Calcium helps build healthy cell walls in plants, so it’s a necessary ingredient in your soil. If your tests show a calcium deficiency you can help replenish the soil with eggshells, which are entirely made from calcium carbonate crystals. In the fall, grind up the eggshells into fine shards and till them into the soil. It’ll take a few months for the eggshells to break down, but by spring you soil should improve.
  1. Coffee grounds for a nitrogen boost. Nitrogen is absolutely necessary for healthy plant life. It gives plants its vibrant green color, fosters new plant growth, and helps the plant create food through photosynthesis. If your garden lacks adequate levels of nitrogen you can boost the numbers with coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are a great source of nitrogen (two percent by volume). Add the grounds directly to your soil and rake the coffee through the dirt (to make sure it is incorporated and not just sitting on top). 
  1. Wood ash for low potassium levels. Without potassium in the soil, your plants may develop poor root development. If your soil has low levels of potassium consider adding wood ash. Wood ash is high in potassium as well as phosphorus and calcium.

Before adding wood ash to your garden it’s important to remember two things: moderation is key (a thin layer well incorporated into the topsoil will go a long way) and never use treated wood. The ash from treated wood may contain harmful metals that can hurt your soil and plants.

Bonus. Adding a layer of DIY compost can also boost the nutrient level of your soil. For more composting tips check out this Mindful link.

 

Tags: , , , ,

December 14, 2017

November 3, 2017

October 9, 2017