Organic Soil Amendments

The absolute best type of amendment you can use in your soil is organic soil amendments

because these organic soil amendments can add a reservoir of nutrients for plant roots to absorb.

To produce big juicy nutritional vegetables, your soil must be able to supply the plant with the following five critical nutrients:

*  Nitrogen — for leaf development;
*  magnesium — to help the plants with photosynthesis
*  Calcium and phosphorus — to help the plant bear fruit and help root growth.
*  Potassium — for root development and to resist disease.
*  a range of micronutrients such as boron, iron and zinc.

Adding organic matter as organic soil amendments stimulates the natural cycles that enrich soil. Earthworms and soil microorganisms break down organic matter into forms that plants can use. As organic materials are slowly broken down by microorganisms, they are releasing their nutrients slowly over months or even years.

Organic soil admendments are far superior to synthetic chemical fertilizers because synthetic fertilizers are water-soluble and produce a sudden flush of mineral salts that are taken up rapidly py plants. However, even though such salts can produce good yields, they also repel earthworms and other compost-making creatures, our most important allies to keeping the soil fertile and rich. (Here’s a personal experience which showed me how worms hate synthetic fertilizers.)

If you use only synthetic chemical fertilizers, your soil will be lifeless soil, low in nutrients, and low to nil in compost. The only way to support your crops would be to add more doses of chemicals — and you’ve started on a merry-go–round of ruining your soil.

Because your soil is not being replenished, it will have less and less of the necessary nutrients for lush and healthy growth, the plants/vegetables will be less and less healthy thus more and more susceptible to being attacked by insects and pests.

To avoid this type of catastophic ending to nutritious food and better health, you might want to consider the opposite route of feeding the soil — i.e. using organic soil amendments.

If you want to find out exactly what nutrients might be missing in your soil, discover how to take a soil sample and send the sample to get your soil tested. The testers can tell you exactly what soil amendments must be added to your soil.

Organic soil amendments can be made of

natural plants (ex leaf mold or peatmoss) or animal materials (such as bloodmeal or bonemeal) or of powdered minerals or rock (such as rock phosphate or granite meal).

Different Ways to Create Organic Soil Amendments:

Here are examples of good common organic soil amendments you can use. These natural materials will feed and remedy any soil structure.

1. Compost or decomposing plant material — organic soil amendments which improve soil texture and add nutrients to the soil. Straw, grass clippings, or shredded leaves are examples of such mulches.

When organic soil amendments are added to the upper few inches of soil as mulch and are allowed to slowly decompose naturally, you are in fact mimicking nature’s process of feeding not only plants but also the soil.

The end result is the creation of humus, a stable form of decomposed organic matter that improves soil structure so roots can penetrate the soil easily.

Not only is the soil being replenished with nutrients, the compost or humus also increases the soil’s capacity to hold air and water.

On the other hand, you can choose to use compost bins to make compost– a mix of decomposed plant and animal materials.  This organic soil amendment can then be worked into your soil in the spring before you plant or in the fall after harvest time.

OR…you can choose to cold compost also.  All these methods of composting are explained step by step in the ebook How To Compost In Your Backyard or you may choose to read individual posts outlining each of the   four composting methods step by step.

2. Peat moss, a lightweight and inexpensive natural and organic soil amendment, — helps loosen heavy soils or in the case of sand, to radically improve the ability of soil to hold moisture.  Peat moss can be bought in big or small quantities.  I always used to keep a bag or two in my shed.

3.  Composted manure, (usually cow or sheep manure which can be bought in bags) — improves drainage and moisture retention in the soil and adds nitrogen among other nutrients. Composted manure has a rich, dark texture and is easy to work into soil.

4. Leaf mold (composted or decomposed leaves) — helps loosen the soil.  High in nitrogen and potassium, the leaf mold releases its nutrients slowly in soil. Leaf mold and other garden leftovers are often called “the gardener’s gold” for when decomposed, the resulting organic soil amendment helps any type of soil become rich loam.

5. Shredded bark or wood chippings — improves soil texture by making it more airy and help with proper soil drainage.  Shredded bark such as cedar bark is often used to mulch around the base of plants and trees.

Avoid shredding or chipping any wood which has been painted or have been tainted with oil preservatives or such things as plywood which is kept together with glue.

6. Worm castings — is a terrific addition to organic soil amendments which bring with it much needed nutrients. I have been using worm castings for my balcony and indoor potted plants and have found worm castings to be every bit as good as composted plant material.

7. Green manure, — a great organic soil amendment which can add many nutrients and amend texture immensely.

Green manure is easy to make.  In the fall after the harvest, plant alfalfa seeds or soy seeds (be sure the seeds are  GMO-free) in your garden.  Allow it to grow some, and in the early spring before the crop starts making seeds, cut the growing plant to the ground and then plow it in or with a shovel turn this green manure under.  I’ve used this method extensively during the last five years I still had my house.

By adding the proper organic soil amendments to change the texture of your soil, you are well on the way to producing rich loam, the road to healthier, more nutritious vegetables and plants which are lush and vibrant.

Marcie

Bio: A gardener since the 70′s, Marcie Snyder knows that it is important to grow your own vegetables and plants organically and that adding organic soil amendments is extremely important to growing healthy nourishing vegetables.
You will find loads of great tips in her FREE ebook “The Complete Guide to Organic Vegetable Gardening” (OVG GUIDE), as well as a very comprehensive step-by-step ebook detailing 4 methods of composting. Check for more articles at http://organicvegetablegardeningguide.com/blog

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