Organic conditioners enhance soil texture and supply nutrients your plants need.
Many soil problems can be corrected by simply adding natural organic conditioners such as composted animal manures to well composted leaf matter. This not only improves the soil drainage but also adds vital nutrients to maintain healthy plants. The best time to condition the soil is before you plant in early spring which will ensure the new growth gets the best start.
Q. How do I get water to penetrate my soil? It is like powder and sheds the water.
A. This particular type of soil is lacking in organic matter (humus) and can be improved by increasing the humus content of the soil. As this soil is very dry begin by applying a liquid soil wetter, then cultivate your garden bed and thoroughly blend in organic matter such as well composted animal manures, mushroom compost along with dolomite lime. Apply a second application of liquid soil wetter before planting.
At time of planting add water crystals to the hole ensuring moisture stays at the root-ball, water crystals continue to be effective for up to 5 years. Mulch around your plants with sugar cane mulch, this will assist in the soil retaining moisture and as it rots into the soil will add to the humus content of the garden bed. The humus content will need to be renewed from time to time, especially in annual flower and vegetable beds which are continually cultivated.
Q. My soil is very sandy, what can I do to retain more moisture and to improve my soil?
A. Sandy soil consists of large air spaces between particles allowing good drainage but unfortunately does not hold moisture or nutrients well. This can be improved by adding organic matter, mushroom compost and best of all, animal manures. Green manure crops are also an excellent additive when dug into the soil. Peat is also good for holding moisture in the soil, this should be moistened before adding to the soil. The humus content of sandy soil will need to be renewed regularly.
Q. I have clay soil which holds the moisture, what do you suggest I do to improve my soil?
A. The particles of clay soils are tightly packed together therefore the drainage and aeration is poor. Improve the soil by adding organic matter along with gypsum, this will help the soil to function more effectively turning the clay particles into crumbs. Do not dig when too wet as the crumb structure of clay soil will be destroyed and do not dig so deeply as to bring subsoil to the surface. Clay soil will benefit from regular applications of organic matter and gypsum.