Friday , November 16 2018

For a good development plants need water. Most plants grow well in a soil that is described as both moist and well drained. This kind of soil is a well-structured soil where water is held in fine capillary pores, which are usually less than 0.1 mm in diameter, with air in the larger pores. Water is most readily available to plants from pores of he largest diameter. As the pores become smaller, it becomes increasingly difficult for the plants to extract moisture, which means that some soil water always remains unavailable.

Soil Water

Different types of soil retain water in different ways. Clay soils hold the greatest amount of water but they have too many fine capillary pores so plants cannot extract enough water for their needs. Sandy soils contain coarse pores so the water held within them is more readily available for the plants than in clay soils, but they drain quickly and there is little capillary movement of water sideways and upwards and the plants will suffer over dry periods. Loam soils are the most balanced soils as they contain a mixture of coarse and fine pores. Coarse pores will allow rapid drainage while fine pores will retain water, so the plants can benefit of it in dry conditions.

In soil, moisture rises towards the soil surface by capillary action from the water table below. Heavy clay soils may be saturated to 2 m above the water table, with some moisture available to plants roots as much as 3.5 m above it. Silt and most clay soils are saturated to 1.5 m with moisture available to plants roots to 2.5 m above the water table. Fine sand soils are saturated to 1.5 m with moisture available to 2.4 m above the water table. Coarser sand soils are saturated at 30 cm and with moisture available to 1 m. Gravel has no water rise at all. In may gardens the water table is too low to have any influence.

Is important to determine what type of soil you have in your garden in order to know how the water will be available for your plants and how you can help them develop well. This way you will know what plants to choose for your garden, or how you will need to improve your soil to suit your plants.

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Soil Organisms

In order to maintain soil fertility, certain soil organisms are essential. Those are the beneficial organisms and their presence in the soil is a must in order to keep our garden soil in best condition. Beneficial bacteria and fungi prefer well-aerated and acidic soils but will generally tolerate a wide pH. Some fungi, for example mycorrhizae - are able to live symbiotically with living plants, creating a relationship that is beneficial to both, helping plants roots by improving the take-up of nutrients from the soil.

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