SOIL CARE understanding soil...
Good quality soil is fundamental to
everything that grows in it. Soil compositions are as
varied and diverse as the plant world itself. With a little knowledge and
the right gardening tools you can reap optimum results from your soil.
Take a simple handful of soil and
feel the condition. Heavy clay or light & sandy, whatever the composition
it can be successfully cultivated.
What type of soil do you
Without good soil, flowers, trees and
shrubs will not grow easily. However we cannot determine the quality of soil
where we live, and cannot choose its make up or structure - but, with special
care, good fertilisation and the best tools, the real goodness of soil can
Light sandy soil
Sandy soil has a fine grain texture and
provides little support for roots and lets water seep away easily. However, on the plus side it does warm up quickly in spring and can be worked with little
effort. Adding humus and watering sufficiently will improve this type of
Heavy clay soil
When this type of soil dries out, it
typically has a hard crust. Water seeps in slowly and roots find it
difficult to spread out. Clay can take some time to warm up and is very
strenuous to work, so adding a little sand and loosening the composition will improve it's quality.
Medium-heavy loamy soil
You're very lucky if you have this type
of soil in your garden. It's a good mixture of clay and sand and can be worked
easily. It gives plants adequate support and can absorb water and air with ease.
Breaking up soil
After the winter months the soil
remains encrusted and compacted. Breaking up the soil in early spring
thoroughly loosens the earth and allows fresh air and water to penetrate more easily. Using the multistage culti-weeder you can prevent the
upper layer from drying out.
Prior to sowing or planting it is
useful to break down coarse soil. Using the soil miller, we crumble through the
rough structure of the upper layer directly after breaking it up. This
loosely crumbled soil will then store moisture more effectively and provide
necessary support for plants.
Plants which are to take root, whether it be
after sowing or planting, encounter ideal conditions in finely crumbled
soil, which generally offers minimum physical resistance - seeds and plants
will get off to a great start in these conditions.
With temperatures rising the soil
will warm up and now is the time to plant and sow. When sowing allow the
ground to dry out as much as possible. Utilise the advantages of a
multistage soil rake, which gives you the right depth for sowing and the
appropriate distance between rows. For planting seedlings the multistage
hand trowel is an essential aid.
Loosening the ground regularly
between the plants is an effective way of encouraging growth. This improves
the soil structure and ensures adequate aeration, it also allows
water and the necessary nutrients to reach the tip of a plants roots more
With repeated loosening during the gardening season, you will improve the
soil condition and consequently plant growth, thus inhibiting undesirable
Nutrients from the soil reserves are
washed away and absorbed by the plants over a period of time, it is vital
that these nutrients are replenished. To see the state of your soil consider
purchasing a soil analysing kit. This will help you determine the best way to
replenish the nutrients and help you apply the best fertiliser to re-nourish
Regular weeding helps keep the weeds
in check before they plague your plants, competing with them for light, air
Under natural conditions, hardly any
soil is bare. It is constantly covered with grass, wild herbs and weeds, or
rotting organic material. Similarly, one also encounters broken off twigs,
foliage and petals, or left overs from weeds. However garden waste can prove
to be a nuisance. Weeds which have been hoed up often carry seeds for
undesirable offspring. Foliage left around for too long is an ideal breeding
ground for fungal disease.
In order that the soil is fit for
winter and above all for the following spring you should take the
opportunity in autumn to turn it over. Nature can then work
undisturbed over the winter months. It is recommended that soil is dug to a
depth of 15-20cm or deeper if possible.
...of course, if all this seems like too much work, or you simply don't have the time, our gardeners are only a phone call away!