Everyone has a right to own a healthy, productive, organic garden, to learn what goes into our food and how to feed our family with real food. Real food should always be pesticide free, grown organically without the use of chemicals and as natural as possible. Soil conditioners or organic soil amendments are one of the simplest ways in which to establish the right soil for growing the very best garden… It’s a way of creating a balance between your soil and your plants and giving each plant the optimum nutrients it needs.
One of the first nutrients to work into any garden is potassium. Potassium is essential to all living things, plants included, so its presence in the soil is vital. Plants need it for energy and for building a strong structure which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The more potassium present, the larger the amount of carbon dioxide the plants can absorb. A good quality organic soil fertiliser containing 50% potassium will do the trick.
Then there is nitrogen. Nitrogen is another plant nutrients that plants need, but too much of it is poisonous to plant life. To prevent this, you should either make your own compost tea or add a few petals from a flower to the soil when you plant. The petals will contain nitrates that your plant will need for healthy root growth. Another organic soil amendment that you can make yourself is to add lime and sulfur to your soil every few weeks for better plant growth.
The final organic soil amendment that you can add to your garden beds is limestone. This can be added to both the planting area and to the garden bed. Limestone absorbs carbon dioxide naturally and so will help the plant to absorb carbon dioxide in the soil. Because limestone is heavy, it should never be added to planting areas, but is excellent for raised beds where it acts as a natural mulch. It can also be used around the base of trees, particularly flowering plants, for protection against harsh winter weather conditions.
So how do you know if your soil has these necessary nutrients? You must test the soil at least once a year. Soil that contains too many nutrients is known as “dirt” and should be removed right away. Usually, the test results come back with a couple of problems. If the nutrient levels are inadequate for the plants you wish to grow, then the plants just cannot take in enough nutrients and die. However, if the levels are good, then your soil has enough organic matter and your plants can grow normally.
Some gardeners use an organic fertilizer to add organic matter to the soil. This is called composting and is easy to do. All you need is a tumbling area where you will place the fertilizer, such as a large wooden bin, a wheelbarrow with wooden spinner or spade, and a couple of hand tools: a knife and a shovel. If you don’t have any of these tools, you can use garden gloves to accomplish this task.
Mix the organic matter, preferably high-carbon fertilizer like blood meal or red dust, with the soil to mix. Then apply the mixture evenly to the soil. If your soil is too dry, then the nitrogen level in the compost will be too low. If your soil is too moist, then the compost will not take long to break down and will release all of its nutrients. The amount of organic matter in the compost is determined by the type of plants you are growing and the amount of nitrogen needed to help those plants grow.
Most gardeners find that organic gardening with fertilizers is easier than organic gardening without them. Fertilizing plants helps prevent soil erosion, keeps weeds from growing unchecked and promotes healthy root growth. And, as most organic gardening beginners will find out, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of growing your own fresh vegetables without the use of chemicals. So the next time you get an urge to grab that box of organic soil amendments and compost, go ahead and dig some up.