Having a big yard creates excellent potential for creating a garden or planting trees. Instead of just using your yard for storing random stuff or letting it be a vacant space, why not make the most of the area and the soil? There’s quite few ways you can improve the quality of soil in your yard, so that it can be optimal for planting.
Whether you are planning to grow vegetable garden plants, ornamentals, or fruit-bearing trees, here are six DIY soil care ideas for you to consider:
1. Determine Your Soil Type
Keep in mind that you won’t know how to improve your soil’s quality if you don’t understand the type of soil you have. This is why it is essential that you learn this because each soil type has a different texture and pH balance that affects how they provide water and nutrients to plants.
Typically, soil with a neutral pH (between 6 and 7) is preferred by plants, but there are those that thrive better in more acidic or more alkaline soil. You can do a quick soil pH test to know what type of soil you have. You just need to get at least a cup of soil from different parts of your yard, divide each cup into two and place them in separate containers.
Add half a cup of vinegar to the soil and see if it creates a fizz, which indicates that it is alkaline soil. If it doesn’t, pour distilled water into the other container of soil until it turns muddy. Then add half a cup of baking soda while watching out for some fizzing. If it fizzes, it means you have acidic soil. If, after taking these steps, you notice that your soil doesn’t respond, it means that you have the coveted neutral soil!
2. Use Organic Matter to Enhance the Soil Structure
Regardless of the type of soil in your yard, you can always do something to improve its structure. One of the best things for your soil is organic matter, which may be the decaying remains of plants and animals.
Organic matter decomposes and releases nutrients that are then absorbed by microorganisms found in the soil. These waste products from the creatures and their remains are what binds with the soil and improves its structure.
For instance, in soil that is rich in soil, it loosens tightly-packed soil particles to improve drainage and make it more penetrable. If your soil is sandy, they act like a sponge and occupy the large pore spaces to slow down the drainage, so the soil stays moist for much longer. You can also use amendments like mulch to improve the soil’s top layer and, as time passes, even the layers underneath.
3. Work on Having Better Drainage
Do you ever notice that after a rainstorm, your yard looks like a swamp? If so, it’s an indication that you need to work on your soil’s drainage because poor drainage is dangerous to your family’s health.
The first thing you need to do is determine the source of that excess water. It may be just a downspout that needs redirection or perhaps a discharge pipe that needs moving. One thing you can do if you always have poor drainage is to install draining tiles. This task can be tedious as it takes hours of digging, but it will be worth it in the end.
Other approaches include the use of French drains, rain gardens, trenches, and sump pumps. These are applicable for more serious drainage issues, but it is best to ask a drainage professional to do this for you.
4. Make Sure There’s Room for Roots to Grow
Soil that is too compact makes it harder for roots to grow, and water takes too long to seep into the ground. This ultimately means that you’ll encounter poor plant growth. You can prevent soil compaction by creating proper walkways to lessen foot traffic. You can also aerate the soil to improve drainage and airflow.
5. Choose the Right Kinds of Plants for Your Type of Soil
Why waste your time and effort trying to grow plants and trees that require a different type of soil from what you already have? Unless you are prepared to put in the hard yakka, it makes a lot more sense to choose plants that you know will thrive in your soil. For instance, there may be tropical plants that tolerate clay-rich soil better. Enrich your soil with organic matter before you start planting to ensure that your plants take root and grow faster.
6. Seek Professional Advice
Although DIY-ing soil and plant care is a good idea, there’s nothing wrong with asking for professional guidance. Check out your local horticulture society and get researching or drop us a line at Sunshine Coast Plants.
Just because you think you have challenging soil conditions doesn’t mean that you should give up your dream of growing plants and trees in your yard. You can follow the tips above and improve your soil’s structure and texture to make the soil more ideal for plant growth.
Once you have your soil ready, your next step is to find the right plants for your yard. Sunshine Coast Plants is where you’ll find the healthiest and most beautiful plants that could transform your garden. Whether you want tropical garden or landscaping plants in Buderim, QLD or elsewhere in the region, you can find them with us. Order your plants online today, and we’ll have them delivered, safe and healthy, right to your doorstep!
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