Soil is a composite found on the surface of the earth. It is made of both organic and inorganic materials. Soil types and how to improve the Quality of Your Soil often vary in both particles and composition.
It is extremely essential to the sustainability of an ecosystem because it serves as the natural medium for the growth of vegetation.
It develops over time and is composed of many different materials.
Soil quality is directly related to the health of your lawn and garden. If your soil is not cared for your garden or your lawn will suffer.
If you are hoping to have a lawn that looks amazing like the lawn care business professionals. Or a garden that produces the best crops and flowers, soil care is where you will need to start.
Types of Soil
There are three types of soil: sand, silt, and clay.
- Sand is made of small particles of weathered rock. Sand is fairly coarse and loose, so water is able to drain through it easily. While this is good for drainage, it doesn’t do very well in helping to maintain or improve your lawn care or garden needs because it will not hold much water or many nutrients.
- Silt can be thought of as fine sand, and it will hold water better than sand. If you were to hold a handful of dry silt, it would feel almost like flour. If you were to add water to the silt in your hand, it would soak up the water, resulting in a silky smooth feeling.
- Clay, on the other hand, is a very fine-grained soil. The particles are even smaller than silt, and tightly packed together. Clay does not drain well or provide space for plants in your garden to flourish.
With this basic knowledge about the types of soil, we can now help increase the quality of your lawn care by doing things such as creating permanent garden beds and pathways. We can effectively make decisions on whether or not to till the soil, pick better sheet mulching options, add the right organic matter as needed, and cover crops in your garden with better results.
See also: How to Keep Your Flower Garden Healthy
How to Improve the Quality of Your Soil
Use Sheet Mulching
Sheet mulching is a no-till method for starting great lawn care habits, creating a new garden, or reigning in a garden that has been overtaken with weeds. It consists of layering organic materials over cardboard.
The cardboard smothers plant matter and weed seeds while simultaneously attracting worms and other beneficial soil organisms to the decomposing cardboard and the plant residue underneath it.
Add Organic Matter
Organic matter has many benefits to soil depending on the specific material used. In general, it will help to improve soil structure, attract many various helpful soil organisms, and make nutrients more available to your lawn and garden.
Organic matter is a great place to start when improving soil quality, simply because it is inexpensive. Most lawn and garden soil care routines are lacking the proper organic matter. Using the right organic matter for your lawn care or garden needs is a great way to get that healthy lawn you covet without breaking the bank.
Create Permanent Garden Beds and Pathways
Establish permanent garden beds and walkways on your lawn. Make sure the garden beds are clearly defined. This will keep foot traffic on the walkways and off of your new healthy lawn. This also means garden beds can improve in time rather than starting each season in an unhealthy state due to poorly constructed walkways.
In addition to keeping soil in the garden beds and the lawn safe, permanent beds will also save time and money. Rather than being forced to use costly fixes over a broad area, these fixes will only need to be applied to the permanent garden bed and healthy lawn areas, as the pathways can be skipped. Irrigation installation with permanent garden beds is easier, too.
Permanent pathways of white clover or wood chips will also attract beneficial insects and fertilize the garden. This means you’re getting even more done without having to put in the extra work of finding ways to attract the right insects on your own.
See also: 10 Best Lawn Fertilizers for Spring
Till the Soil
Tilling is a means to quickly loosen and aerate the soil in preparation for planting your garden. Although tilling is used on large farms where manual soil management would be impractical, a tiller is still a great quick fix in small gardens with problem areas.
Use caution while tilling your lawn or garden as it can also destroy beneficial soil organisms so you need to take care not to overuse this aeration method. Earthworms, fungi, and other beneficial soil organisms exude sticky substances as they build tunnels and networks throughout the soil.
These sticky substances are nature’s way of holding the soil together, so it doesn’t wash or blow away even when it is loose and crumbly. You won’t want to ruin those natural lawn and garden helpers by over-tilling.
Covering Your Plants
Much like sheet mulching, covering plants in your garden can provide organic matter, and nutrients, improve drainage and aeration, attract beneficial soil organisms, and act as a winterization option for your garden’s year-round needs.
While covered plants can be grown in rotation with other plants at any time throughout the year, they are most popularly planted in the late summer or early fall, allowing them to grow over the winter. Many plants are killed by the winter cold making spring planting easier. Other plants will have to be turned under before planting your new garden.
Using these methods will get you started on your way to having an amazing garden or a beautiful lawn. Or even both! The key is to make sure to consistently use these types of tactics every time you care for your garden or lawn. If you aren’t consistent you won’t see the best results.
Soil care takes time so keep in mind you may not see instant results. That doesn’t mean things aren’t improving behind the scenes though. Have patience and keep at it. Soon enough you’ll be able to see the amazing changes in your lawn and garden with your own eyes. It will be worth the effort when that happens.