This month at AussieGreenThumb.com is ‘So You Want A Better Garden’ Month, which aims to help you grow better gardens. As part of that I am running a 30 day challenge. The challenge consists of daily tasks of about 10 minutes each. I guarantee that if you complete each days task, by the end of September you will be well on your way towards reaching your gardening goals and growing better gardens. Will you accept the challenge?
Day 11 Challenge Recap – Spend 10 minutes working out if you soil is too sandy, has too much clay or is just right. Dampen a small amount of soil and then pick up a handful. Squeeze. As you open your hand, take note of whether the soil keeps shape or not. If it falls apart you likely have a sandy soil. If you prod it and it then falls apart you probably have good soil. If you prod it and it still sticks together you probably have more clay in your soil. Getting to know your soil will help you understand what you need to do to improve it so that your plants will grow to their best.
Australia, in particular Western Australia, generally has sandy soil. This is not true of every place but it is the norm. This is true of my garden. In fact it is very true. My vegetable garden beds are a little better because I bought in a heap of soil and added a fair amount of manures and fertilisers. The garden beds out the front of my house need a little work.
Garden bed 1 is improving because I have been working on it for a few months. When I added some plants a few months back I added a heap of native soil mix and also some cow manure, which is low in phosphorous, a requirement for native plants. Garden beds 2 and 3 still require the most work. Garden bed 2 was actually under pavers until quite recently and so is pretty much just sand. Garden bed 3 has been growing stuff for a while and so has received some work. Still has room to be improved.
The reason I set this challenge
Even though improving sandy soils and clay soils can be quite similar (adding manures and fertilisers mostly), it is important to understand what kind of soil you have because it will help you understand what other challenges you may face. Sandy soil has great water drainage, which is good for most plants but also, because of this, nutrients may leach away. Clay soil locks in most of the nutrients but then, because of the soil structure in clay soil, it can be hard for plants to access the nutrients. Understanding what challenges your plants will face will help you to rectify in the short term while you start the longer term process off improving your soil structure.
Learn more about understanding your soil
Intrigued to know more about how understanding your soil will impact on your garden? I recently released an ebook called So You Want A Better Garden. Chapter 3 in my ebook delves into the topic of understanding your soil in a way specifically designed to help beginner and intermediate gardeners understand more about how soil impacts on your garden.
You will learn about;
1. What makes good soil;
2. How to improve your soil consistency;
3. Improving the water situation in your soil;
And much, much more!
It’s not too late to join the challenge! You can grow a better garden. Start today! The great thing about this challenge is it can run over any 30 day period. Just check out days 1-5 and start from today. You can grow better gardens.