Organic Food and Beverages
Buy Organics: Where and How?
Understanding Different Types of Soil
It's important to understand types of soil when you plan your organic garden. The best soil (in terms of richness and nutrients) will produce the best produce from your organic garden. Different soil types will suit different types of plants and have an impact on how well they grow. It's important to also recognize that working your soil, with the right gardening tools, will ensure good mixing and aeration and a better soil for growing.
Here is a Summary of the Main Types of Soil:
Sandy Soils are gritty in texture as they are made up of large particles of weathered rocks such as granite, limestone and quartz. Due to these large particles and the space formed between them it can lose water and become dry.
This can mean nutrients being flushed through and lost. The addition of organic matter will help the retention of water and make sandy soils easier to cultivate.
Silty soil is known for its high level of fertility. Containing an abundance of organic matter and minerals, it holds more nutrients than the sandy soil. Drainage is also more controlled and moisture retained. The texture of silty soil is easier to work with.
Clay soils can be difficult to manage. Made up of very fine particles, clay soils tend to be more compact. This results in poor aeration and drainage. Both of these problems can be dealt with by adding organic matter.
Although it can take a while to see any improvement it is a worthwhile task as clay soils already excel in nutrients. With the addition of organic matter the nutritional quality will be even better.
If you have loamy soil you have a great head start. Loamy soils are made up of sand, silt and clay with good organic content, and excel in drainage, moisture retention, aeration and nutrition. These are great soils for working with.
Peaty soil is more acidic than the others and consequently organic matter often takes far longer to decompose. This means low levels in nutrients and poor drainage. These problems can be overcome by the use of good organic fertilizers and in some cases artificial drainage.
Chalky Soils and Limestone Soils
These soils are highly alkaline and usually very shallow soils. This can mean low availability of nutrients and a limit to the types of plants that can be grown. Although the use of fertilizers can improve these soils it can be an uphill struggle. Time, patience and sweat are needed to improve the quality of chalk and limestone soils.
Definition of Organic Farming and Gardening
If you find it difficult to match these soil type descriptions to the sample you've taken from your garden, think about sending your soil for professional analysis. A search online using the keyword 'soil analysis' will bring up several websites of organisations that can test your soil for composition as well as pH level.
Many garden centers can also help you to analyze your soil. You can also buy a soil pH tester to check out the acidity/alkalinity of your soil. Understanding the soil in your garden will help you to grow better vegetables, fruits and other plants.
Composting can help you enrich your soil: there are a number of highly effective compost bin designs (for example, a tumbling or spinning composter) that will produce rich, organic soil and fertilizer quickly and effectively and can be added to all types of soil.
Organic gardening and organic farming definitions revolve around producing food naturally, without chemicals and intensive farming techniques that overburden the land. Crop rotation, composting, organic fertilizers and organic pesticides and other natural and organic gardening and farming methods are healthier for you, your family and the planet.
What's New: Grow, Shop, Cook and Eat Organic
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