Healthy soil produces healthy plants.
If your soil is not healthy, your plants' yield may not be as high or nutrient dense as it could be.
When growing vegetables and feeding them to your family or when growing crops, you want the harvest to be as abundant and rich in nutrients as possible.
Following are 9 signs of healthy soil:
1. Plenty of organic matter (dead plants and animal tissue)
"Healthy soil produces high yielding crops, even when the weather doesn’t cooperate. For each 1% increase in soil organic matter, soil can store an additional 20,000 gallons of water. That water can come in handy for growing crops if there’s a drought, and probably explains why farmers who used cover crops to improve their soil weathered the historic 2012 drought better than those who did not use cover crops." (Source: NRDC)
"Healthy soil is teeming with life. There are more organisms in a teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on the planet!" (Source: NRDC)
3. Nice, dark, black colour
4. Crumbly texture
When you pull up plants healthy soil will crumble off the roots. The crumbles should have different sizes and shapes and not look uniform. “Different shapes and sizes of crumbs allows the soil to be more porous, which creates an ideal environment for water and oxygen to move freely, which are excellent conditions for plants to develop healthy roots.” (Source: Do Not Disturb Gardening)
5. Easy to work in
For example, if soil is easy to work in, you can easily dig a hole to plant using your hands.
6. Absorbs water easily
Water pooling on top is a sign of compacted soil. When soil is compacted it prevents water from penetrating through the soil to reach plant’s roots.
7. Healthy soil pH
“Soil pH is the measurement of the acidity of your soil. This affects the minerals contained in garden soil and their availability to your plants. In general, the closer to neutral your soil is, the better your plants will be able to take up these minerals. Of course, some plants prefer a more acidic soil, but for most flowers, herbs, and vegetables, a more neutral pH is optimal.” (Source: The Spruce)
8. Plant's roots
Plants in the soil have a healthy root system with long spread out roots.
“Another sign of healthy roots are white coloring with fine strands – almost hairy looking roots.” (Source: Do Not Disturb Gardening)
9. Plants look healthy
If your plants look healthy and strong (good colour, plenty of leaves, etc), don’t have bugs and are producing good yields, then your soil is likely healthy.
There are a number of things you can do and things you should avoid doing to improve the health of your soil. When it comes to gardening, a quick easy tip is to add organic matter such as compost, mulch, grass clippings or shredded leaves.
Check out our “Soil Nutrient Management Tips” blog for more tips on how to deal with depleted soil.
Earth Smart Solutions offers an assortment of products to aid in plant and soil health for a range of applications including agricultural crops, gardening and lawn care. Our biostimulants will improve soil health and aid plant development throughout the plant's life cycle, from seed germination to maturity.
For more information please contact your local Earth Smart Solutions representative or contact our head office at 1-888-444-7174 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do Not Disturb Gardening, How to Know if Your Soil is Healthy: 11 Simple Tests
The Spruce, Healthy Soil and How to Make It