7 Steps to Maintaining a Healthy Garden

7 Steps to Maintaining a Healthy Garden
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    Maintaining healthy and biologically active soil in your garden contributes to healthier plants that are less vulnerable to diseases and pests,
    increased yields and lesser runoff or wasted water...


How To Maintain A Healthy Garden

Maintaining healthy and biologically active soil in your garden contributes to healthier plants that are less vulnerable to diseases and pests, increased yields and lesser runoff or wasted water. Soil comprises of many types of microbes, bacteria and fungi that avails chemicals and minerals to plants as food. Preparing the soil in your garden without shaking it up too much and adding organic matter to the soil is so important in maintaining and building healthy soil.

You must first know your soil in order to prepare it for gardening. You should know the texture of your soil (loam, sandy and clay soil) in order to determine how it retains water and know the amount of nutrients and minerals available in the soil.

Here are some tips that can help you in maintaining a healthy garden:

1) Balance your soil pH

A soil that is too acidic or alkaline makes the growth of plants difficult. A pH test evaluates the ratio of hydrogen ions to hydroxyl ions in the soil. A soil that is highly acidic in nature has a higher amount of hydrogen ions.

The pH ranges from 0 to 14 and we consider a soil with a pH of 7 as a neutral soil. Most of the important plant nutrients are normally soluble at pH ranges of between 6.5 and 6.8. pH levels that are much lower or higher make soil nutrients get bound in the soil particles thus depriving the plants of nutrients.

2) Try composting

While preparing your garden, you can utilize normal waste products like animal manures and plant materials. The compost materials normally neutralize excessive pH, helps maintain soil moisture and encourages the growth of soil building organisms like earthworms. Earthworms feed on garden waste to excrete a healthy form of fertilizer and compost.

3) Use cover crops

Cover crops grown prior to the planting season helps in maintaining a healthy garden. Cover crops maintain the texture of the soil by preventing erosion and reducing compaction. The use of cover crops also increases the amount of organic matter and helps the soil to draw nutrients.

4) Consider how you water your soil

The amount of water required depends on the type of garden soil (loam, sandy and clay soil), the type of plant found in your garden and the climate. You should water your plants directly on the roots and leaves during a hot and dry climate and water only the roots in a warm and humid climate to lower the distribution of fungal diseases.

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5) Consider mulching

This is the application of a layer of materials on the soil surface to modify soil texture, keep the soil cool, suppresses weed growth and to reduce evaporation of water. Mulching prevents the soil from crusting and drying to help preserve a healthy soil structure.

6) Do crop rotation

Crop rotation helps balance nutrients, maintain soil fertility and avoid pests or diseases. Some plants like legumes give nutrients to the soil while broccoli and greens take away nutrients.

7) Design your garden

Create pathways and make your beds narrow enough in order for you to reach across them. Avoid keeping heavy things on your soil and install a drip irrigation system to minimize the impact of water on your soil.

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