Know Your Backyard : Soil

The Importance of Soil to Plant Life


Have you ever wondered what it is that makes the difference between a healthy plant and a weak one? The answer could be right there,in your garden: Soil

It is therefore important to know the soil type that exists in your backyard, it’s formation and make up .


Soil is the natural occurring material that forms the top most layer of the earth’s crust.It provides anchorage,nutrients and water :elements that are crucial to plant sustenance .It is a natural resource that consists of organic matter and weathered rock.


Humus is contained in the top most layer. It contains organic matter which is crucial in plant growth. It is therefore important to ensure your garden is well drained ,so as to contain erosion.


For your seedbed or nursery,the soil’s physical condition must be assessed, so as to facilitate seedling germination and growth.Here,the depth and looseness of soil clods play a great role.


The seedbed’s preparation facilitates aeration,water infiltration,root penetration into the soil,killing of weeds,and the destruction of plant pests.


To determine the maturity of soil ,it is the soil profile that guides you .This is the vertical arrangement of soil layers at different development stages.


A well developed profile is crucial for plant growth and development. It is the quality and depth of the top soil that determine how well your plants will grow,as this is where most nutrients are found.If your soil profile consists of three or more horizons,it is then considered fully developed.


Note that,soil profiles do not necessarily have defined boundaries.


Air,Minerals,Water,Organic matter and Living organisms make up your soil composition.Water is the most important of these.Water and oxygen also determine a soil’s structure,texture,porosity,temperature,density,resistivity ,colour and consistency.


The parent material determines the structure,colour,texture,and consistency.The texture of a soil’s parent material affects it’s formation rate.Soil texture is also determined by the mineral component.The color is influenced by drainage,organic matter and oxidation of the soil.There are three components of the soil structure .These are the clay,sand and loam components.Remember,the darker the soil,the richer it is.


Moisture retention is crucial ,as water forms the basis for soil formation .It acts as a solvent for minerals ,which are formed as a result of weathered rock.Weathered rock determines the actual mineral content .It is from this rock,that the minerals present in soil,are derived.


It is however,important to note that the availability of,or the amount of nutrients in soil could be affected by your soil’s pH .


You can also add natural or chemical fertilizers to enrich soil and accelerate plant growth.


It is also crucial to determine what plant life can exist in your garden for a colorful and healthy garden and surrounding environment.