Preparing the Garden Soil begins with one of four basic soil types.
Garden soil definitions differ in infinite varieties of characteristics and composition. Garden Soil Composition varies with the arrangement of sand, silt, and clay particles, content of organic matter and minerals.
The challenge to the vegetable or herb gardener is to discover the percentage of organic matter, each type of soil particle is contained in the garden soil.
garden soil composition can be divided into four basic soil types or garden soil definitions.
High sand/clay, rock content. This is the predominant soil type of the south central and desert Southwestern United States. Because of the high sand content the soil has a poor ability top hold water.
Average organic matter of 2.5% to 3.5%. Good for your herb garden; Typical of the fertile Midwestern farm belt; great soil, rich in humus with good tilth and it drains well.
High in organic matter of 4-5% and above. Glacier type soils typical in the North Central United States. Very rich but not very porous, slow drying.
High clay content. Miserable stuff in which to grow anything! Very typical of the fill soil surrounding new home construction. Noted for its very poor ability to absorb and hold water; dries very hard and is difficult to till.
See the article directory listed in our site map for specific reference material on soil types and the growing list of other helpful herb articles.
The next challenge is understanding soil tests
Annual Soil Testing using quality soil test kits is the basis for any successful vegetable or herb garden. Most garden suppliers provide inexpensive, safe and easy to use soil test kits. The average Soil Test Kits will provide an accurate garden soil profile.
The results from types of soil tests include a summary of the available nutrients represented by the three numbers seen on all fertilizer containers:
(N) Nitrogen- Nitrogen is required by the plant mainly for leaf growth. Nitrogen stimulates the growth of foliage and is readily leached from the soil by rainfall and watering. Since nitrogen is quickly lost from the soil two or three applications per year may be required.
(P) Phosphorus (Phosphate) - Phosphorus gives a rapid and vigorous start to plants, promotes root formation while stimulating flowering and seed formation. It is not subject to heavy loss by leaching from watering or rainfall.
(K) Potassium (Potash) - Potassium produces strong stems and stand-ability while imparting increased vigor and disease resistance. It is also not affected by leaching.
(pH) Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. Soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is to be an acid soil and one with a pH higher than 7.0 is considered alkaline. Most plants can grow well in soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. A few plants may do better in soil with a pH outside of this range. Consult the articles on each herb for more specific information. Just remember that altering the pH in your herb garden soil takes time. Be patient and don't expect rapid changes. Work steadily towards giving your herb plants the ideal soil in your herb garden, for a bountiful harvest.
Each of our garden suppliers has accurate information regarding organic fertilizer or chemical fertilizers and the advantages or disadvantages of each when used with the various soil types in your area.
Annual Soil Testing using quality soil test kits is the basis for any successful herb garden or herb growing enterprise.
It is the plain, simple truth. Find out how simple and easy it is to soil test your herb garden soil!