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A Balanced Diet For a Healthy Soil

Most soil samples tested are rich in the nutrients tested for; Phosphorus, Potassium, and magnesium. This is a good sign of healthy soil.

The exception, however, is sandy soil. This is because potassium and magnesium tend to be washed out. Phosphorus tends to build up in soil over time; this then forms a reserve that is released over many years. Nitrogen is the other major nutrient however this is hard to test for as it gets washed out by the rainfall in winter and is then replenished in spring and summer.

Adding organic matter such as compost or manure releases nitrogen adds more of the other nutrients and holds moisture. This is, therefore, the basis of plant food. The benefits last for up to four years.

When organic matter is added to the soil this raises the alkaline level and becomes more than ideal. Ornamental plants, fruit trees, and shrubs like slightly acidic based soils whereas ericaceous plants such as camellia and rhododendron will not prosper if the soil is too alkaline. 

However, despite this, moderate use of organic matter does more good than harm. For instance, in a vegetable garden, the raised level in alkalinity reduces the risk of clubroot. The nutrients found in organic matter are good for vegetable crops.

Timing nevertheless is critical, late winter is the best time to mulch and fertilise the beds and borders. By looking after your soil now, it will look after your plants.

If you would like more information on a “Balanced Diet for a Healthy Soil” or would like us to come and take a look at your lawn, as it is nearing the end of winter, to see what is best for your lawn. Please contact us.