By Jannie Vaught
The flowers turning into fruit and vegetables, we will also notice the potential for improvement to next years garden!
First, we need to know and understand what we have under our feet. Here is a super easy way to do a home soil texture test for clay, sand, and silt.
In a quart jar place a core sample of your soil. Using a trowel or shovel and dig into your soil at least 4 inches, getting a good mix of the soil. Place in the jar and cover with water place a tight lid and shake. Now let it set undisturbed until the next day. You will see layers in the jar.. The courser particles will settle out first, followed by the finer darker silt.
Last will be the lighter superfine clay, while organic matter will float. Now you can determine the percentage of the soil components by the amount of each layer. Lots of sand, sandy loam, 70%, 20% silt, 10% clay. Typical yard soil is sandy clay loam, 50% sand, 25% silt, 25% clay. Or you may have extreme clay. Which often is found in specific locations. You can do this test in different locations to determine the soil textures throughout your area.
Now the fun part!
Improving soil texture. Adding organic matter will improve all types of soil. Compost, leaf mold and humus add particles and organic nutrients to soils, especially heavy clay bound soils or overly sandy soil that won’t hold water. After amending your soil do another home test and see how improved they are and keep amending with organic material until you get a good dark soil with lots of fluffy air spaces.
The oxygen is vital for proper plant development. The addition of this material will bring the red wiggler worms and the deeper earthworms to work the soil adding to the richness. This test is simply working with the soil texture. Which is number 1 on the soil improvement list. As we are deep into the growing season it may be time for some evaluation of how each crop is developing and take notes in your garden journal. This will help you go back and evaluate the soil needs for that area and that specific plant.
Yes, we are always improving our soils, and taking notes. For the market gardener or the home gardener, this is some of the often overlooked parts of good responsible garden care. Remember to get that wonderful tomato the soil need to be in top condition, with the ability to oxygenate the plant, feed the nutrients and water to it.
All for the pure fun of gardening. Soil condition is always the topic of most gardeners, hope it gets you curious about what is under your feet.
Out growing green and taking some soil samples today with Jannie!