Organic garden soil has been getting a big push more and more lately. This is for good reason; it is a sustainable way to grow food for your family, and beautiful flowers for your enjoyment. Organic mulch and black mulch are two additional products that go nicely with an organic garden. When you set out to start looking at how to do this though there are two main schools of thought: you can feed the plant, or you can feed the soil. Ultimately, both must be done in order to have a sustainable garden that can be used over the years.
Your plants need food and water, just like you. Plants take in the food they need through their roots, and what they take in is less complex than what you or I need. What plants need are minerals and the elements which are in healthy and fertile ground. Not all soil is created equal, but with a bit of work you can improve any soil enough to make it grow great vegetables and flowers.
The basic things your plants will need to have in the soil are elements such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, cobalt, and boron. If these are not present in the soil in adequate quantities all the watering in the world will not help them grow. So before you begin growing in your garden let’s look at what you can do to get your soil ready by breaking it down into 4 categories. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get to it.
You will need to apply some kind of limestone; this will be to maintain the pH levels in your soil. Ideally, these levels will be between a range of 6 and 7. Don’t know what that means? Get a professional in to look at your soil for you. Your plants will have a difficult time growing if their pH levels are too high or too low. Make sure you add a lime that has magnesium and calcium in it as well.
You will need a large supply of composted organic matter. Start out with a bed of straw, all the peelings from vegetables in your kitchen, the leaves you rake up in the fall, anything from last year’s garden, and any other organic matter you can get your hands on. Your compost should be just damp enough to keep it from drying out. The nitrogen in a good compost is exactly what your garden needs.
Your phosphates will have to be replenished every four years. You will expect to use about 1 to 2 tons per acre, depending on the quality of soil you have. You can use either colloidal or hard rock phosphate, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you do it every four years.
The last category is marl. This is a rock powder that has potassium in it, and that your garden must have. Your garden needs it in the same quantity, and in the same frequency, as phosphates. That would be 1 to 2 tons per acre, and every 4 years. The two go together perfectly in a well planned organic garden soil plan.