Your first purchase as a new gardener should be a fresh bag of gardening soil. Although the world is full of naturally occurring soil right below our feet, it does not always have the ideal combination of nutrients and minerals for growing healthy plants.
1. What is soil?
To fully understand why soil is important for gardening, you must first ask: What is soil?
Soil is a mixture of minerals, nutrients, and organic matter with a parent material such as rock erosion or sediment. Fertile soil has everything a plant needs to survive.
There are different textures of soil, including sand, silt, and clay. The combination of these three-particle textures is what creates all the different types of soil. For example, loam is a common gardening soil, and it has about the same amount of sand and silt, with less than 27% clay. On the other hand, desert soil is composed of 90-95% sand.
The phase of the soil formation will effect it’s content of sand, clay and silt.
2. The Importance of soil for plants
As long as the soil has suitable physical properties like soil pH and temperature that a plant needs, it can provide all of the essentials to plant roots, including nutrients, water, and minerals.
3. How to choose the right soil
Not all gardening soils are the same. It may all look like dirt, but each has a unique mixture of minerals, nutrients, and organic materials.
Click on the following link to read how Amanda Lander chooses the right soil for each of her plants.
The best gardening soils are organic, have no added chemical fertilizers, and are the correct type of soil. Most garden plants do well with a loam soil that has a pH of about 6.5. Usually, the soil bag label will tell you everything you need to know about its contents, and some even advise as to which plants grow best with that particular soil.
Click here to learn what methods you can use to define the pH of your soil and know what kind of actions you need to take.
In the end, the best soil for your garden will depend on the plants. Every type of plant has its preferences when it comes to soil, so do your research before buying soil.
4. The different types of gardening soil
Here are some of the best gardening soils that you can buy online. Of course, there are tons of options available in-store, as well. But, buying online has the advantage of being convenient.
Soil for Container Gardening
It is important to be aware of the fact that not all gardening soils work indoors and outdoors. Typically, the label will tell you, but make sure to check because one soil may work perfectly outside but will stunt the growth of an indoor potted plant.
If you plan to put your plant in a container and move it between indoors and outdoors when the seasons change, be sure to acquire a soil that can do both.
Soil for Organic Gardening
Organic gardening soils are the best for gardens because they pose no risk of endangering the plants. Some soils get away with adding unnatural fillers and an excessively high level of minerals and nutrients, but organic gardening soils are well-balanced and 100% natural.
Soil for Raised Bed Gardening
Some gardening soils are specially formulated to help plants that make their home in raised garden beds. Miracle-Gro has a great option for raised bed gardening soil, which can help to keep your plants thriving all year round.
Mushroom Soil for Gardening
Mushroom soil is a rich compost that can be used to cultivate mushrooms, or just to add plenty of extra nutrients and organic materials to your gardening soil. Mushroom soil is not easy to find online, but here are a few options that received good ratings from previous customers.
Top Soil for gardening
Topsoil is soil that comes from the O horizon, the highest of all soil horizons. usually filled will all the right nutrients due to its organic content. However, if you take soil directly from the ground, it still may need some changes in the pH or other aspects.
5. Soil Additives
The most common soil additives are products for raising or lowering soil pH. Another common additive is garden coir, which comes from the fibers of coconuts. Coir sometimes comes pre-mixed in gardening soil, but you can also purchase it separately to help with water retention in your garden.
With the right fertilizer, you can increase the fertility of the soil to where plants will grow faster and healthier. It is important to stick with organic fertilizers. With the right product, you can significantly boost plant growth.
Here’s what Amanda Lander had to say about fertilizers, and when you should use them.
7. Soil Test Kits
Soil test kits are a useful tool in deciding what to add to your garden soil. Many soil test kits will measure the pH, moisture content, and even the level of some important minerals for plants. You can buy separate soil testers or buy a soil testing kit, which will provide the means for testing more than one aspect of the soil.
The more you learn about your soil and what it lacks, the better you will be able to take care of the garden and help it grow.