In choosing the best soil for growing plants there are a lot of things to consider. First is to find out if the climate of the area where you live is right for growing your chosen plants. If it is then you just have to make sure that the area receives enough sunshine for the plant to grow properly. The right amount of sunlight is vital as the nutrients needed by the plant cannot be transported to the roots if there is little or no sunlight. The right soil will ensure that the nutrients are delivered to the roots.
Soils that are rich in nutrients are often light in color and therefore absorb a lot of sunlight during the entire growing season. Clay soils are usually dark in color due to the presence of clay particles that add to its porous nature. Clay also helps in the absorption of nutrients as they are highly permeable. Soils that are highly permeable and have good drainage tend to be suitable for container gardening as they can drain well.
Soils that are highly nutritious but lack in drainage are less than ideal as water is not able to permeate deep into the ground. Plants that are grown in such soils need regular water maintenance especially during the wet season. Watering is very important during the wet season, as without it the plants can easily dry up. Plants that are grown in a highly porous soil with high levels of dissolved solids will require regular water maintenance especially during the wet seasons as they will not be able to retain moisture and thus becoming parched and dropping their leaves. Soils that are mixed together are normally alkaline in nature as the pH level of the combined soil tends to be close to the neutral pH level of the earth.
Plants that are grown in clay soils usually require fewer fertilizers compared to plants that are grown in other types of soils. This is because the clay soils usually do not contain excess amounts of nitrogen or phosphorous. Clay soils are rich in organic matter and due to this they tend to compost quickly, which helps in reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous in the plant root system. These factors help in maintaining a balanced fertilizer composition in the plant root system. Clay soils are also enriched with micronutrients, trace elements and potassium, minerals that are beneficial to the health of plants.
Plants that are grown in soils with contrasting PH levels can sometimes develop root problems due to uneven distribution of nutrients across the plant’s root system. Plants that are grown in alkaline soils may suffer from deficiencies of certain nutrients. Plants that are grown in acidic soils are often unable to tolerate high levels of salt content in the soil. This leads to plant diseases like leaf spot, leaf blotches and stem diseases. Soils that are either too dark or have too much sodium can lead to ph Galtonia, a deficiency disease that is fatal to many flowering plants. Soils with differing pH levels also pose a problem as they can affect the bio-availability of some bio-available fertilizers like potassium and magnesium.
Plants that are grown in rich loam soils often experience rapid growth due to the increased permeability of the surface layer of soil. This leads to poor water-holding capacity and poor air circulation around the roots. Plants with large roots, like broad leaf plants, are unable to spread on thin substrates. Loam soils that are heavy can be compacted quite easily, leading to sagging and waterlogged conditions.
Potting soils are normally prepared by mixing sand, silt or compost to the topmost layer of moist soil to provide adequate drainage. This mixture is then covered with topsoil or medium and left to settle for a few weeks so that the materials can be incorporated into the remaining soil. Medium pots work well with slow-growing annuals and shrubs while clay pots will work well for most grasses, herbs, aromatic flowers, and vegetables.
Plants are happiest if they are well-fed with good quality nutrients and water. Soil nutrients, water and sun are all important factors that determine the health of a plant. Plants that do not thrive in their environment will not grow to their potential. Therefore, if your garden is not in good shape, it is important to take action before plants become too big and out of control. Do not wait until it is too late, plan on making changes to the garden in the near future to make sure your efforts to grow healthy plants thrive.