The United Nations declared
2015 as the International Year of Soils and the California Compost Coalition has launched a healthy soils campaign to help
spread the word. Residential gardeners can institute their own healthy soils
efforts by enhancing their garden soil now in preparation for the spring
planting season, according to Bill Camarillo, CEO of Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer
of earth-friendly compost products made from organic material collected from
more than 50 California cities.
of the goals of the UN's efforts is to advocate sustainable soil management,"
says Camarillo. "Soil that isn't regularly replenished with new organic
material can easily be stripped of the nutrients needed for strong plant growth.
That's true for soil on farmland as well as in backyards."
find out if your soil is ready for spring, Camarillo suggests gardeners check
soil for nutrient content. Do-it-yourself
soil tester kits are available at local nurseries. "These kits test the pH
level--telling whether your soil is balanced, alkaline or acidic," says
Camarillo. "If the soil is too alkaline or acidic, it may prevent a plant's
ability to properly draw nutrients from the soil. If your soil is out of
balance, make sure to add a soil amendment that brings pH levels to proper
Gardeners can also determine if their soil is clay or
sandy. Clay soil is clumpy, sticky when wet and nonporous. "Look for soil
amendments specifically designed for clay soils," says Camarillo. "Mix the
amendment with existing soil until the clay soil loosens and is workable. This
will enable moisture to penetrate to the roots."
For sandy soil, amendments with organic humus are
recommended, says Camarillo. The humus gives the sandy soil the structure
needed to prevent soil erosion.
"Planting season is just about here," says Camarillo. "Healthy, nutrient-rich soil gives your flower and vegetable plants the jump
start they need for spring."
Labels: California Compost Coalition, clay soil, International Year of Soils, pH level, sandy soil, soil preparation, spring planting