How Can You Improve Your Soil for the Growing Season?
Once winter has disappeared, and spring is on its way, gardeners everywhere are itching to get back outside. One of the first jobs growers do is to check the condition of the earth they will be cultivating their crops and flowers in. At Madingley Mulch in Cambridge we supply a variety of soil improver products, including our own blends, Tony’s Tonic and Denise’s Delight, which will boost your topsoil by adding valuable nutrition.
How Soil Improvers Can Help Your Garden
When the earth is uncultivated, and untouched then there is no need to rally it, as this is done by the plants themselves, with rotting plant matter and animal waste going back into the earth. However, once the ground has been used to raise crops or flowers, then there is a need to further enhance it with vital nutrients and organic matter.
Soil improvement and soil conditioning products contain organic matter and plant food, which all plants need, but some plants in particular need a fertiliser to get the best out of them. These types of enhancers can be used to enrich structure and fertility, increase plant growth and plant yields. Organic matter can also be used as a weed suppressant. It is quite easy to see if your earth needs a pick-up, as it will dry out in summer and your plants will not develop very well.
Different Types of Soil and Ways to Improve Them
Most soils in the East of England have a very small proportion of organic matter, less than in the rest of the country. Clay soil is the main type in the East, and is high on the ph balance scale, with a high alkaline content. This can be hard on your plants, as clay is heavy, very sticky and quite hard to work with. It is made up of lots of tiny mineral particles which reduce the space for air to circulate – which means the ground will retain water and become more compacted. You can tell your soil has a high clay content if you can mould it in your hands!
If your beds and borders go quite hard in the summer, then this is another indication that the earth is full of clay, which will bake and crack on the surface. These soils are very fertile but need help to unlock the nutrients in them. To change the make-up of clay, you can use a 6mm horticultural grit. This will help the soil to break up, increasing the air circulation and drainage capacity, and making it easier to add compost to your garden.
Silt soil has bigger particles than clay and drains easier, and is smoother to the touch and doesn’t hold its shape as well as clay does. A sandy soil has the largest particles and is much more free-draining, due to the air spaces between particles being larger. If the soil is light and gritty, cannot be moulded in the hands and has poor fertility, then you have a sandy soil. This type needs the most improvement, as the nutrients can just be washed away.
Which Crops Are Enriched by a Soil Improver?
All crops will benefit from soil enrichment, but there are some which will need more help. When growing vegetables, improving the soil is very important, as the crop produced is in direct relation to the quality of the ground it is grown in. A spent mushroom compost will restore the health, structure, boost drainage and aeration of heavy clay soils. Root crops such as carrots, swedes, turnips, onions and garlic will all have larger yields and better quality vegetables if the ground is nourished in this way.
Seedlings will need lower nutrient levels and higher phosphate, as this helps to create a strong root structure. This type of organic matter has a finer texture which the roots can grow into. If the earth is too hard or particles too large, then the roots will not be able to develop.
Madingley Mulch’s soil conditioner is perfect for your beds and borders, as it contains essential nutrients for the ground and also has a plant food already added. This will increase the number of flowers growing, and will also enhance longevity and the size of the blooms.
When you are trying to develop the earth in your garden for growing grass,, a lawn dressing is the ideal solution. This product has a loam blend, which includes peat and sharp sand. It is used to correct the topsoil quality and feed the roots of your grass, and is fine to use whether you are laying turf or growing your lawn from seed, as this product will encourage both.
Madingley Mulch are quality suppliers of all your gardening and landscaping needs in East Anglia, including Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, and Essex. We have an excellent range of soil improvers, including Denise’s Delight, which is half made up of well-rotted horse manure and half of Black Fen soil, composts and topsoil. For more information or to arrange delivery, contact Madingley Mulch or visit our shop to see our wide range of products.
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