Category Archives: Soil

Preventing Soil Erosion in Your Garden

soil-erosionSoil erosion is one of the most destructive factors which can affect the home gardening activities as well as the quality of soil structure. In the long run, you will notice a great reduction in the production aspect and growth pattern of your plant resulting in poor yields and tremendous losses. It will strip the soil of valuable nutrients, required for plant life to flourish. Even though some degrees of erosion is simply inevitable, there are practical steps that can be taken to control the destruction caused by soil erosion. Taking the step to take care of your garden from losing the vital nutrients needed by plant life to survive will benefit the productivity of crops significantly.

There are various methods that can be applied in your garden in order to protect the soil. Cover crops, mulching, use of raised beds, creating healthy organic soil structure and succession planting are all practices which can be used in soil erosion prevention. Constructing canals around the garden will help establish a permanent area of water flow in the garden. This would in turn prevent rain water from passing through the garden site and instead direct the water directly to the water canals around. In areas well known for recurrent erosion problems, planting vegetation such as flower seeds can help prevent soil erosion in your garden.

The key to any thriving garden is the soil. Therefore, creating a healthy soil structure offers many benefits for flourishing of plant life that no other gardening method can provide. Moisture retention, drainage, tilth and nutrient retention can all be improved in the soil by use of organic matter. A healthy soil allows proper draining of excess water and retains enough moisture required for plant life to gain from when needed alongside retaining soluble nutrients which naturally exist in the soil and which are needed by the plants. Healthy soil is the most essential of all the methods in preventing soil erosion.

Another gardening practice that I have discovered  and which can be applied as a preventative measure for soil erosion is succession planting. This is achieved by growing plants that mature at diverse times all through the growing season within the same area or by making multiple plantings of the same plant simultaneously. Organic mulch and cover crops are two other ways in which soil erosion can be prevented. Both methods are great for improving soil structure at the same time. They offer a source of organic food to keep soil microbial activity thriving and improve the soil quality.

Soil cultivation is a primary source of soil erosion by both rain and wind. When the soil is turned over to a minimum and soil amendments are added, soil erosion will be greatly reduced. Converting to no till gardening method will be a great way to get rid of the effort of having to till the garden. Another good alternative is the raised bed gardens. They are a great way to improve a garden when the conditions of the soil are an issue such as in rocky areas or ledges that cannot be worked on. The raised beds built above the existing natural ground elevation.

What you Need to Know About Soil Pests

mole-cricketAccording sources, soil pests are insects that spend a great portion of their lives in the soil. This bests includes but not limited to bugs, weevil, leatherjacket, beetles and flies. Some of these pests are harmful because they cause a lot of damage to bulbs and roots of plant eventually killing the plant. There are also other soil pests that do not eat plants roots but they spend a part of their lives in soil developing later to emerge and become plant eating insects. There is also a group of soil pests that is not harmful but beneficial to the soil and plants. Theses pests prey on other pests and also perform useful tasks such a nitrogen fixation in the soil. Other insects help crops such as eggplants, squash, melons and cucumber to pollinate.

Pest control

In practicing pest control, the time of the year is the major variable that an individual should be concerned with as not all targeted pests will be in the soil at a particular moment. Different pests spend during a season several times in the soil, while others are ever present. Others are only available once per year. Another important strategy for pests control that I found on is to recognize the beneficial pests and learning about their diets, behaviors and their life cycles. A combination of cultural and mechanical strategies works well in reducing harmful pests without interfering with the beneficial insects. Some of these strategies include;

1. Crop rotation. This is alternating of crop plant planted every season. Planting of a single crop in the same piece of land continuously leads to population increase especially of soil dwelling pests such as maggots, wireworms and grubs. If the crop is susceptible to one of the best replace it with a crop that cannot be harmed by such pest.

2. Use of natural enemies. For good pest control one should recognize and introduce insects that prey on the undesired pests. Examples of these insects are spiders, predatory flies, mites and bugs.

3. Use of row covers. Use of floating covers only allows water, light and air through to plants, blocking any pests. These covers are placed over young crops till they are big enough to fight off pests or until when the threat of pests is eliminated. These covers should be removed about four to six weeks before the temperatures rises beyond the crops requirement.

4. Growing of healthy, vigorous plants. Weak plants are more susceptible to attack by pests and suffer from great damage. A plant can be weakened by too much or too little fertilizer or water. A farmer should also ensure that the level of soil pH is that required by the plant for it to remain healthy and less threatened by pests.

5. If those cultural and mechanical strategies don’t work, one can opt to deploy the use of pesticides. In the use of pesticides care should be focused on using only the right amount needed to treat the crop that requires treating. Spot treatments are practical and effective for home gardener. Its however worth to note that use of pesticides also kills both harmful pest and beneficial insects.