Posts Tagged ‘soil structure’

PostHeaderIcon Garden Soil (Part 2) – What is Good Soil and How to Improve Soil Health?

Previously, we talked about the composition of soil, its functions and the different soil textures. Loamy soil has the most ideal texture and is the best soil you can ever ask for in gardening. If you have missed our earlier post, click here to read more about the basics of garden soil.

Create healthy soil with compost and organic fertilizers

Image: zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the basic requirements for having a bountiful harvest is to have quality, good soil. Healthy, good soil is determined by the soil structure and soil fertility. Fertile soil has abundant nutrients and a suitable pH value to create the best environment for plants to thrive. It should contain essential nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Nitrogen boosts leaf growth while phosphorous is vital to root growth and the overall health of the plant. Apart from nitrogen and phosphorous, healthy soil should also contain trace elements such as calcium and magnesium.

The pH level of soil refers to its acidity or alkalinity. Plants can be fussy living things and it is not uncommon to find each plant having its own preferred pH value. Planting your vegetables (or other types of plants) into fertile, healthy soil will yield good crops, if other conditions like lighting and climate are favorable too.

Soil texture also plays a part in determining the health level of soil. Previously, we have learned that loamy soil is the best for gardening. Loamy textured soil retains nutrients well and has the right drainage system for water and air to permeate through.

How to Improve Soil Health

To improve soil health, you have to learn how to create healthy soil. If your soil texture is not ideal, simply add organic matter to it. This will help to replenish the nutrients in the soil and improve its texture. You can create organic matter by decomposing your kitchen leftovers, animal manure and plants. You will need to get a compost bin to compost your own organic matter.

The Tumbleweed 200003 Rotating Compost Bin
has 58 gallon capacity and is perfect for your kitchen waste, grass, leaves or animal manure. Its steel frame design is easy to assemble and its stainless steel central helps to aerate each time it tumbles. The Tumbleweed compost bin comes with dual locking lids with 4 vents to provide oxygen to your compost. Composting with the Tumbleweed compost bin is a breeze as composting can be done as quickly as 21 days.

To see the Tumbleweed compost bin in action, click on the video below.





Read customer reviews for Tumbleweed 200003 Rotating Compost Bin


Compost is at its best when it reaches the advanced stage of decomposition, where it is dark and odorless. The rampant microorganism activity encourages soil particles to clump together and form aggregates. Spaces in the soil are then created, thereby improving its drainage.

Suppose you do not have access to compost heap, an alternative to increasing the nutrient level of your soil is to use inorganic or organic fertilizers. Inorganic fertilizers are chemically manufactured inorganic salts. While inorganic fertilizers will work fine, they tend to release their nutrients too quickly. It has also been found that plants tend to develop resistance to inorganic fertilizers, thus requiring a greater amount of fertilizers to achieve the same effect over time.

Organic fertilizers are the preferred option as they are naturally created from the remains or by-product of an organism. Organic fertilizers gradually improve soil health rather than acting like steroids to quickly fix a problem.

Regardless of the soil structure, you can improve your garden soil by feeding nutrients to it. Healthy, fertile soil requires maintenance but the rewards of a good harvest will surely motivate you to work on the soil basics.


PostHeaderIcon Garden Soil (Part 1) – Understanding the Basics

Garden soil is one of the most basic elements required in gardening. A gardener cannot do without soil, regardless of the type of plants he is planting. Good quality soil is essential to your plants’ health but have you ever thought what the humble garden soil is made of?

What is Soil Made of?

There are four main components of soil – mineral matter, organic matter (humus), water and air. Within the soil contains inorganic elements such as stones and gravel. These are the mineral matter and they make up to 40%-60% of the soil volume. Mineral matter originates from the bedrock that is under the soil.

Organic matter or humus is the decomposed remains and waste products of plants and animals. Soil nutrients or the chemical properties of the soil are largely affected by organic matter. In between the mineral matter and organic matter is the space occupied by water and air.

Purpose of Soil

The role of garden soil is much like the role played by parents. They provide support and help the plant to grow strong and healthy, just like the way our parents supported and provided for us when we were young. Soil is needed to support the plant by allowing its roots to grow through the soil and hold itself in place. With its ability to store nutrients and water, soil also plays a vital role in the biological support for the plant.

In addition to supporting plant life, garden soil also supports other life forms. Microorganisms and insects rely on soil to survive while contributing to the plant by decomposing organic material and adding structure to the soil. Microorganisms like fungi and bacteria that live in soil are used to produce antibiotics, which have benefited much to mankind. Soil is also used to support vegetation growth for mankind’s consumption to ensure survival. All life on earth is dependant on it either directly and indirectly.

Now, let’s explore further the different types of soil texture.

Different Types of Soil Texture

Soil texture is determined by the different mineral particles and its respective size distribution. These mineral particles are sand, silt and clay. Sand particles are 2 to 0.05 mm in diameter, silt particles are 0.05 to 0.002 mm in diameter and clay particles are less than 0.002 mm in diameter. These particles exhibit different properties and their combinations in different proportions will have favorable outcomes for certain plant life. Let’s take a look at the most common classes of soil texture:

Sandy soil
As the term suggests, sandy soil feels gritty to the touch and contains a high percentage of sand particles. There is a lot of space in between the particles and therefore, it does not hold water well. Hence, essential plant nutrients also get washed away due to the free draining nature of sandy soil.

Clay soil
Clay soil has small size particles which makes it clump together easily. What this means is, there is less room for air spaces and drainage capability is relatively poor. Besides, clay soil does not hold nutrients well, thus it’s not an ideal garden soil. Clay soil is heavy, feels lumpy and becomes sticky when it’s wet, making it difficult to work with.

Silty soil
Contrary to clay soil, silty soil feels smooth to the touch. It contains a high percentage of silt particles and has good drainage capability due to the small size of the particles. Water is able to permeate through easily with silty soil. Silty soil holds nutrients better than clay soil and is easy to cultivate but it can be compacted quite easily.

Loamy soil
Loamy soil has the best soil texture and is a gardener’s dream soil. It has a good proportion of clay, silt and sand particles thereby providing the perfect amount of drainage. Unlike sandy soil, it does not lose water excessively. Loamy soil is able to retain nutrients for your plants. Thanks to its good structure, loamy soil is also easy to cultivate.

Healthy soil provides the basis for healthy plants. In the second part of our Garden Soil series, we will look at what constitutes healthy soil and how to create healthy soil.

Stay tuned.