There are many factors that determine the success of a flower or vegetable garden, including the soil. In order to get healthy plants, the soil needs to contain nutrients to feed them so they are healthy. To determine if the soil in your garden is capable of nutritionally supporting the plants you wish to grow, you should test it.
There are two factors that determine the health of soil: its texture and pH balance. Testing for the soil’s pH isn’t difficult and there are testing kits that you can purchase at garden stores or online. Soil may be acidic or alkaline, both of which affect the type of plants that you can grow. For most plants, including vegetables, fruits, and flowers, the soil should be neutral or slightly acidic with a pH reading of six or seven.
You can change the pH of your soil if it is too acidic by adding lime. However, if your soil is alkaline, it can take a long time to lower its pH. If the soil contains free limestone or chalk, then the alkaline balance will be impossible to change. An easy way to test for the presence of limestone or chalk is to pour vinegar on a soil sample. If it fizzes, then those elements are present.
If your soil isn’t nutritionally dense enough to support plants, then you can mix in healthy topsoil to give yourself a better chance of growing a healthy garden. After testing your soil, if you discover that it is alkaline, you can change its pH by adding healthy topsoil. Topsoil in Thirsk can be worked into your existing soil or you can use it by itself in a raised bed.
The texture of a soil can determine whether it can grow healthy plants. Its texture depends on the size of the mineral particles within it. A very fine soil texture usually indicates the presence of clay while a coarser texture usually has sand in it. Ideally, a healthy soil will be a loam, which is a good mix of soil particles.
Workability of Soil
Sandy soil can be easy to work with and drains well after it rains or watering the garden. Plants that like a drier climate will do well in sandy soil. Soil with clay in it can be more difficult to work with as it is denser and it can be waterlogged after it gets wet. Plants that like lots of water can do well in clay soil but many plants will die or become diseased if they are too wet for a prolonged amount of time.
Adding topsoil can help balance out these soils, provide better drainage, and improve their workability. If you are making raised beds or borders and using topsoil, then you can purchase it in smaller bags. However, if you are adding topsoil to your entire garden so that it can thrive, you can have a truckload delivered to work into the garden and give your flowers, vegetables, or fruits a healthy start.