Soil Preparation and Care Tips – You wouldn’t ever dream of going to a war without sharpening your arms and ammunition – right? Similarly, planting any tree or plant without the correct knowledge of the soil and the right amount of preparation can result in a complete wastage of time as well as efforts.
The most important steps in healthy soil preparation are as follows:
1. Identifying the soil type
The soil can either be a sand type, silt soil or clay soil and each of these has different properties. Sandy soil is very well-drained and therefore, does not retain moisture well while clay soil does not drain well. Hence, it would need to be rectified by adding sand or loam to allow the extra water to drain down while the sandy soil is rectified by adding compost, clay and rich top soil. The rectification again depends on what you want to grow. To rectify silt soil, coarse sand or compost should be added.
2. Testing the pH & N-P-K level
You also need to know whether your soil is acidic, neutral or alkaline in nature. The soil testing kits help you check this aspect. The ideal pH value for soil is around 6 to 7 which supports the right amount of microbial growth in the soil and also improves its health. The amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil also play an important role in the healthy growth of the plants and therefore, need to be known in advance. To correct imbalances, organic fertilizers are helpful.
3. Remove unwanted growth
Clean up the soil by removing unwanted weeds or wild plants.
4. Time to prepare the ground
Preparing the soil at the wrong time i.e when it is too moist or very dry can cause more harm to the soil than well-being which also takes a lot of time for rectification. You can test it by taking a small lump of the soil and rolling it into a ball. Then press a finger against it – if it crumbles uniformly, the time is right.
5. Aerate and water it well
Dig the soil as deep as you can. Usually, 6 to 8 inches is good enough for good root growth. This will help to provide oxygen to the soil which will help the plant roots to breathe and breaking down the organic matter. A good soil is one which contains one-fourth water.
6. Condition the soil & level it
The soil should be conditioned well with dry manure, compost, shredded leaves. The more, the better. Also, allow the soil good amount of time to decompose the organic matter. These should be added while telling. Mulch such as shredded bark and straw help to insulate the soil from extreme climate as well as to keep off weed growth. Unless you want to landscape the area by creating different heights, level the ground by using a rake.
7. Grow cover crops
You may grow temporary plants to avoid soil erosion and also increase the organic content in the soil.
8. The final step
After making necessary rectifications in the soil, allow it to rest for some time and ensure enough watering to maintain the moisture content before final planting.
You may also protect the area by fencing it to avoid rodents and animals.And there, your soil is ready for the plantation!