How to know the soil is a healthy, balanced one

lotusindustrialMarch 15, 2012

I want to plant a plant. But I don't know how to know the soil is a healthy, balanced one. Who can tell me that? Thank you very much.

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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

Does anything else (like weeds, perhaps) grow there? Just plant something cheap and easy to grow, and see if it grows. That's probably the easiest and least expensive way to find out. What are you wanting to plant?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:51PM
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Look at your soil, deeply.
How much organic matter is in that soil?
Hpw well does that soil drain?
How well does that soil retain moisture?
What does that soil smell like?
What is the tilth of that soil?
What is that soils pH?
What kind of nutrients are in that soil and are they in balance?
What kind of soil do you have?
Knowing your soil is a start in knowing whether that soil is good and healthy and will grow strong and healthy plants.
Contact your state universities Cooperative Extension Service office about having a good, reliable soil test done for that soil pH and nutrient numbers and dig in with these simple soil tests,
1) Structure. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. A good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains� too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.
to see what is there.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 6:59AM
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You can tell a lot simply by observing what grows there (I know that sounds like a Yogi Berra quote).

Here is a link that might be useful: Weeding reading

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 12:10PM
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Thanks all of you. Maybe I can buy a cheap plant to plant in the soil. It may be the simple way.Then I can buy a fertilizer to improve.

Here is a link that might be useful: organic fertilizer

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:28PM
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nice self-promotion.
Epic fail.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Is there a way to report these spammers? I don't see a "report" button anywhere.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 10:06PM
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Plant a radish. Seriously. Stick a radish where ever you intend to plant. Takes only about 30 days to grow. I mean, water it to start, of course and care for it. Don't add fertilizer, though. When the radish is done in about 30 days inspect it's size, shape, growth pattern, etc. Then, google this particular agenda and see what the results mean. A radish with hardly any root and a lot of leaves, for example, means one thing (maybe high nites but no phosphorous?) and a radish with a tough root and few leaves might mean something else. SO, let your plants tell you. That's the best way to know how. For most, just gardening and learning over time is the way to go even if you're an expert. Sometimes we just don't know until we get in there and do it. Note: I'm stating the results of the radish from memory. I don't remember what everything means. I was just trying to give examples. I have radishes growing all over the place right now for my own test. Hope to be ready in a couple of weeks!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 4:41AM
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hsw (zone 6, Boston area)
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