Soil and knowing how to fix soil problems is one of the most important elements of your garden. Without good soil, you could have a lovely exposure, just enough rainfall, a totally pest free environment, and still be unable to grow a thing. Soil is the plants favourite substrate and its source of moisture and nutrients as well as the closest thing it has to an immune system; it always determines how well a plant will grow.
Fixing Soil Problems
Ideal soils are rare, and one of the most important tasks of any gardener is learning about the soil in the garden and keeping it in tip top condition. You will want to know what kind of texture – sandy, loamy, or clayey – it has, whether it has a compacted or friable structure, what the PH is, whether or not it drains well, if it’s rocky and if it’s fertile or not. Once you know all that, you can set about improving it with mulches, composts, sand and humus until you have the correct loam for whatever you are growing.
Top tip: Acid soil. The PH level of soil – it’s acidity or alkalinity – affects everything else about that soil, from its microbial population and structure to its drainage and the nutrients that are available. Neutral soil has a PH of 7, but for most garden plants the ideal soil has a PH between 6.8 and 6.5 – that is, one that is just slightly acid. Most of the plants you will grow will tolerate soils more acid than this, but when there is a PH below 6 you are likely to see a few problems. and if the PH is 5.5 or below, you will encounter severe problems.