Gardening Tips: Keeping the Soil Healthy

Fertile soils are necessary for the growth and lushness of all plants in the soil. Luckily, the climate of Ghana makes it quite easy to cultivate plants in your garden.  Characteristics of a good soil include

  • richness of the soil which normally gives it it’s black colour.
  • rich nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium content.
  • good soils do not retain water; there are well-drained.
  • the presence of organic matter and it have a top soil.
  • there are living organisms which play an important role in keeping the soil fertile.

Microorganisms and other living organisms do have an important role to play in fertilizing the soil. Soil micro-organisms break up raw materials in the soil to make humus. Here is how humus aids in soil fertility:

  • Actions of microorganism break down organic and inorganic matter which change the chemical and physical composition of the soil.
  • Micro-organisms bind the materials in the soil and that help clean up ‘dirt’ or ‘polluted’ soils.
  • Living organisms such as earthworms, nematodes, termites, arthropods keep the soil well-aerated
  • Through activities of the living organisms, the soil is able to retain nutrients.
  • Humus enriches and helps in retaining the water content of the soil.

If living and micro-organisms keep the soil fertile, how best can a gardener ensure that algae, bacteria, viruses and other living organisms present in the soil are performing their activities to their optimum level.

  • Fortunately, the weather in Ghana is warm during most part of the year and that is what keeps the living and micro-organisms active. This should give you every reason to keep a garden in your home.
  • Never keep the soil too dry. If the soils dry up, activities of microorganisms reduce drastically. The clue here is never to keep the soil or else the living organisms will die.
  • The soils can be kept moist in a process called mulching. Mulching is the covering the topsoil with a plastic to prevent water in the soil from evaporating, controls weeds and increases the activities of the living organisms in the soil.
  • Pesticides, weedicides and herbicides destroy living and microorganisms in the soil.
  • Living and microorganisms work better in the soil when there is organic content in the soil.
  • In the dry season, ensure the soil is watered to prevent it from getting dried up. Remember to keep the soil moist not water-logged. Waterlogged soils destroy the activities of the microorganisms in the soil.
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