Soil improvement

The Content Of The Article:

What makes a good garden floor?

In the soil, it depends on the right mix of ingredients to allow the plants to grow as well as possible. A good garden soil has a crumbly structure, stores enough water and is still well ventilated. It provides enough nutrients for the plants and is easy to work with. All these properties are created by the interaction of sand, loam, clay and humus in the soil. Unfortunately, not all floors in our gardens have the desired properties. By deliberately adding certain additives, hobby gardeners can improve their soil so that it approaches the ideal state.

soil sample

The soil type can be easily determined with a hand sample

Determination of soil type

First, you must determine the soil type in your garden. Take a small handful of earth and make it into a ball in your palms. Then try to roll a "sausage" out of the ball. How does the earth behave?
- the earth has a grainy texture and crumbles when compressed, a "sausage" can not be formed, then it is one sandy soil
- The earth feels smooth and the ball stays together well. The earth does not stick to your hands, then you have clay soil in the hand
- the earth feels smooth and sticky, the ball holds together very well. A "sausage" can be formed well and the earth gets a shiny surface, if you rub it, then your garden consists for the most part clay soil.

soil structure

The soil consists of humus, animal and plant organisms of solid mineral particles. They usually come from the so-called source rock, which is located below the fertile soil. It is not necessarily a solid rock, because even sand, clay and even peat are so called in the soil science. This source rock is essentially responsible for the soil type that results from weathering.
Arrangement and size of the mineral parts form the soil structure and thus also the cavities in the underground. These gaps in the soil, the soil pores, are filled with water or air. Depending on the size of the soil pores, the air / water ratio in the earth changes.

Vegetable bed

Good soil structure brings high yield

sand has a coarse grain with individual soil particles between 2 and 0.06 millimeters in diameter. The cavities are particularly large and the rainwater penetrates very well into the ground. Sand can only store water poorly and it quickly dries up underground. The soil pores are filled with air after the water has run out.
silt has a particle size of 0.06 and 0.002 millimeters. Here, the ratio between water and air is balanced, since the soil pores are smaller than in the sandy soil. Excess water can seep in well, while a certain amount of water is kept and ensures a good plant supply. Enough pores remain filled with air.
clay particles have a diameter of less than 0.002 millimeters, the smallest grain size. The pores of a clay soil are extremely fine and keep water very well. Superfluous water is difficult to drain and the air content in the cavities is very low.

Soil type: light soil

Sand soils are commonly referred to as light soils because they are easy to work. Rainwater drains well and there is no waterlogging. Since sandy soil dries quickly, it can be worked almost all year round. However, this also means that it tends to dry out, especially in the summer months. The large soil pores ensure good air supply to the plant roots and allow the soil to warm up quickly in the spring. However, light, humus-poor soil can only store the nutrients supplied via mineral fertilizers to a limited extent.

Soil improvement for light sandy soils

Organic material such as mature compost should be incorporated into the soil every spring. It improves the ability of sandy soil to store water and nutrients. On fallow plots in the vegetable garden or on Neubaugrundst├╝cken you should also sow a green manure. The plants also supply organic matter to the soil via their greens and roots. After mowing, you can leave the plants on the surface if it is not otherwise used. The organic mulch layer reduces the evaporation of the soil water and protects against strong temperature fluctuations - both promote soil life.

Distribute compost

For light soils, you should incorporate compost to improve water retention and nutrient content

Test the pH of your soil every three years and lime it in the spring if it is below 5.5.In addition, promote Earth's ability to store nutrients by applying water retention enhancers such as perlite or crushed ground minerals such as bentonite and incorporating them easily with a cultivator.

Soil Type: Heavy soil

The term heavy soil also indicates the workability of the soil and stands for loam or clay soil. Heavy soil stores the rainwater very well because of its high proportion of fine pores. As a result, he tends to waterlogging and lack of air. Heavy soil remains cold for a long time in spring so that plant growth starts relatively late. Once the soil is no longer wet, it can be dug up or planted. On the other hand, if the water content is too low, cracks quickly form and the hard soil can barely be worked on. Because the optimal processing period is very short, heavy soil in agriculture is also called minute soil. The poorly infiltrating water on soils with high clay content easily leads to waterlogging. Therefore, the structure of such soils needs to be improved with suitable materials. Again, perlite helps to improve the soil as it not only stores water but also aerates the soil.

Soil improvement for heavy loam and clay soils

Work on clay and clay soils to get the most out of mature soil compost. With the help of the organic material, the clay particles combine to crumbles, between which form larger cavities. The air content of the earth rises, rainwater can drain better and the plants root through the soil more easily. If possible, also mix sand. It improves the water balance sustainably by loosening impermeable clay layers.

Incorporate sand

Spread sand on heavy clay soils with a rake. He sinks slowly into the ground and makes him more permeable

In order to eliminate compaction in the clay soil, the soil should be dug as deeply as possible every year before the first severe frost. The minus degrees freeze the groundwater. It expands to small ice crystals and blows up the compacted clods. In this way, the so-called Frostgare arises. If necessary, sow a green manure from spring to late summer, which loosens the substrate with its strong roots. For heavy soils, for example, oil radish or lupins are suitable.

Deep loosening and drainage

Whether more complex measures for soil drainage are necessary depends on the cause of the water retention. A compacted soil should be loosened up to the layers that do not allow water to pass. For larger gardens, you should entrust a landscape gardener with this job because he has special machines for soil loosening.

Waterlogging through impermeable soil

One joy is the other's suffering: Too much compacted soil ensures waterlogging

When the subsoil is compacted down to deeper layers of the earth, only the drainage system usually remains. Several drainage pipes are placed parallel to each other in a gravel or sand bed in the ground. The water seeps through these coarse materials and accumulates in the perforated tubes. Due to the slight incline of the pipes, the water either flows into nearby trenches or into extra drainage shafts. Landscape gardeners are usually well acquainted with the laying of drainage systems and are familiar with the necessary depth and slope of the pipes.

Video: Drag and analyze soil sample

soil analysis

"My" editor Dieke van Dieken pulls a soil sample in the garden and then shows in the Agricultural Technology Center Augustenberg in Karlsruhe, what exactly happens in a soil analysis

Video Board: How to improve garden soil quality: Here are 8 proven techniques.

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