Whether you’re an avid vegetable gardener, a flower enthusiast, or just want a nice looking landscape, the secret to your success begins with your soil. Rather than simple and static, the soil is a dynamic environment. In an ideal situation, it is full of tiny plants and animals, microbial activity, and all of the organic processes that lead to healthy plant life.
Here are a few ways to tell if your soil is functioning properly, and if Monty’s Liquid Carbon Organic Soil Conditioner can help.
Look – The first step to assessing soil health is to simply look for clues. By observing what is going on at the surface you will have a good indication of what is taking place throughout your soil profile.
- Large clods after tilling
- Cracks in the soil as it dries
- Bare patches or areas where vegetation won’t grow
- Heavy weed population
- Standing water after a rain
- Persistent “wet spots” or mud
- No, or few, earthworms, pill bugs, and other signs of healthy insects
- Heavy thatch layer or plant debris that does not decompose after a season
- Pale soil ranging from almost white to light brown. Healthy soil should be a rich brown to black.
Touch – Dig in to your soil. This is the fun part of gardening and maintaining your landscape. By actually getting your hands into the soil you can tell a lot about the make-up, tilth and texture of your soil. Good quality soil should be loose and light. In the morning when moisture will be at its peak level, dig in a few inches and grab a small handful of soil. Clench your fist around the dirt and then open your hand. What happens?
- If it falls apart into small pieces the soil is lacking enough organic matter and is tending towards a sand content that is too high.
- If it stays together in one large clod it is likely holding too much water and is primarily clay, which can lead to compaction problems and anaerobic conditions which will favor the formation of harmful bacteria.
- If it forms one central clod that breaks apart easily with slight touch or movement, is encircled by loose, separate bits of soil, you are on your way to creating an ideal environment for most plants.
Finally, if you have problems even digging into your soil at least 5-6 inches, you know that you have compaction problems that need to be addressed.
Smell – This is one that you may not have thought about, however, with a little practice your nose can tell you much about the condition of your soil. Healthy soils should smell earthy and moist, almost like well-maintained compost. If, on the other hand, what you smell is flat or non-existent, if it smells like a stagnant pond, or if it smells somewhat acrid, you know that you have situations that need to be addressed.
Gardening Practices – Some gardening practices themselves actually can be harmful to soil, especially over time. And, even beneficial gardening practices may be enhanced. If you are currently doing any of these things, consider using Monty’s Liquid Carbon to remediate, improve, or expedite your current practices.
Not all soils can be transformed into an ideal state, but they all can be improved. By observing, touching, and smelling your soil, and by analyzing your current lawn and garden activities you can begin to see where improvements can be made. By making simple, seasonal applications of Monty’s Liquid Carbon Organic Soil Conditioner, either in concentrate or with the new ready-to-spray bottle, you can maximize the potential of your soil and return it to a plant-friendly, vibrant environment.