Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


                    If you take care of your soil, the plants will take care of themselves.

Creating the proper soil conditions requires a little manipulation of the natural soil.

AERATION:  Plants and soil organisms will suffocate if insufficient air flow in the root system is unavailable.  Plant roots absorb oxygen from the air and give off carbon dioxide.  The leaves absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.  Plants must be able to breathe.  Dense or compacted soil does not allow for air flow to the root system causing impaired growth and failure.

WATER:  The gravitational pull of the water percolates down into the roots.  As it flows downward it is replaced by fresh air from above.  In heavy, dense soil the water does not drain off fast enough and plants can literally drown.  Water vegetation with and inch of water weekly.  Not all water flows downward, some remains in the tiny spaces between the soil particles or is captured in humus.  This is the water taken in by the roots to hydrate and transfer minerals to the plants.  Good soil is both well drained and also has the ability to hold capillary water.

BALANCED NUTRIENTS:  Nutrients are the source of the plant growth.  They consist of mineral subsistence's found in the soil.  Plants require a balanced supply of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, and other trace elements.  If a plant has an overall balance of nutrients it will produce good crops.  In deficient amounts, the plants will have poor health, slow growth and crop failure.

BALANCED PH:  "Potential Hydrogen" (ph) is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity of any substance.  Purchase a test kit at your local garden center or nursery.  PH is measured on a scale from 0-14.  Seven is neutral.  Most garden vegetables will grow in a soil PH of 6.0-7.0.  In acidic conditions, plant nutrients are attached tightly to the soil and cannot be absorbed by the roots.  In alkaline soils the nutrients combine through chemical bonds into substances the plants are unable to utilize.


To improve your soil first determine the PH ratio, the humus content, and the type of soil; clay, sandy or loam.

This simple method will help you determine what your soil content is:
Use a quart jar and add one cup of your garden soil.
Fill with water .  Place on the lid and shake the jar vigorously.
Let the soil in the jar settle for about an hour.  It  will separate into layers.  The ideal soil contains equal parts of clay, sand, silt or loam.  This test will help determine what to add to your existing soil.  If it is heavy clay, add sand, compost , and organic matter.  Add compost, humus, and organic matter to sandy soil to help it retain moisture.  COMPOST is beneficial to all soil types.  Compost mitigates both PH extremes.  The higher the organic matter content, the higher the soil quality.  The benefits of organic matter are biological, physical, and chemical, it influences microbial populations, it affects the stability of the soil structure, adding air to the soil, breaks up clay, binds together sand particles, and is an important nutrient source.  It improves drainage, prevents erosion, neutralizes toxins, and creates a  healthy soil for worms and fungi.  Compost contains some nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but is especially important for trace elements it adds to the soil.  The humic acids in compost dissolve soil minerals and trace elements that make them available to the plants.  Compost hold 6 times its own weight and regulates the supply of water to be absorbed by the vegetation.  Fewer nutrients will leach out of the soil if it has adequate organic matter.  There are 16 elements known to be essentials to plants if they are to grow and re-produce.  They are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, boron, manganese, iron, copper, molybdenum, zinc, and chlorine.  A soil rich in organic matter supplies plants with adequate amounts of the trace minerals.  If a soil is deficient in a mineral, only a small amount is needed to correct proper balance.  By using compost, mineral deficiencies are practically non-existent. 

for more info about composting

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