To give your plants the nutrients they need, you need to know what kind of soil you have, how acid it is and what it needs in the way of nutrients. Here we’ll tell you what you need to do and where to get the equipment you need.
So to get the best results we have to control a range of factors. And to do that we need to know fairly accurately what the condition of our soil is.
- Is it’s structure good?
- Does it have adequate organic matter and a good soil population of worms, bacteria and fungi?
- Above all does it have the right degree of acidity (pH) and enough nutrients to grow the crops we want successfully?
The soil itself needs to have a good structure of both large and small pores to have the right balance of water and air to suit the plants. If it’s waterlogged the roots will get no oxygen and will die. If it drains too freely – like pure sand – it will retain very little moisture so the plants will be really under threat of drying out. Its characteristics depend on the size of the particles that make it up. Fine particles give clay soils, intermediate sized particles give silty soils and large particles result in sandy soils. Mixtures are known as loams. Clays have lots of small pores – hold a lot of water but the high surface tension effects may mean it doesn’t get released so well.
So you need to know what type of soil you have – but you also need to know what the acidity of the soil is and how much accessible Nitrogen Phosphate and Potassium is available. (often called NPK for short after the chemical symbols for these elements (K is used for Potassium because of its Latin name Kalium) There are about 12 other minor mineral nutrients that plants need. However the soils we tend to find in Europe and the UK are generally quite rich in these.
So we can offer you professional test kits as used by nursery owners like ourselves. Together with a range of multimeters which will indicate light, moisture and pH values quickly and effectively