We covered a lot of this ground already In our Disease Prevention guide here.

With all of the attention that we give to our plants, it’s easy to forget about the importance of healthy soil. Soil is a living thing – it is full of microorganisms that help plants to grow. However, soil can become unhealthy if it is not managed properly.

Step 1 Keep it Covered, but not too covered

Weather will erode and damage soil, too much water flow can wash away nutrients  – Loose mulch is great for this as it will break down overtime and add to the nutrients, however cover crops also provide the same benefits.

We do not want to restrict or encourage water to pool. Because we are starting with a quality soil or have taken the time to improve our soil and have decent irrigation setup this shouldn’t be an issue. Our Disease Prevention guide here is a quick primer for this.

Step 2 Restrict Chemical use

The use of harsh chemicals can kill off beneficial microbes and leave the soil sterile.

This means using natural fertilisers and compost to feed the soil, and avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides. With proper care, healthy soils will support strong plants that are resistant to diseases and pests.

The use of harsh chemicals can kill off beneficial microbes and leave the soil sterile.

Step 3 Avoid Over-tilling 

Over-tilling disrupts the structure of the soil, making it harder for roots to take hold. Similarly it can also lead to compaction. Which prevents air and water from circulating properly.

In addition, over-tilling can destroy beneficial microorganisms that play an important role in plant health. For these reasons, it’s important to avoid over-tilling your garden. It can destroy earth worm and other beneficial insect homes. Though tilling is essential when first setting up a garden it should really only be done sparingly. Or if weeds have taken hold, severe compaction has occurred or the soil needs more nutrients.

Step 4 Rotate Crops

When growing food, crops should be rotated. Crops grown in the same spot can gradually lose their productivity.

Crop rotation is a practice that helps to address this issue by replenishing the soil with nutrients. By growing different crops in different areas over the course of several years, gardeners can help to ensure that the soil remains fertile and healthy. In addition, crop rotation can also help to control pests and diseases.

By growing a variety of crops, farmers can make it more difficult for pests and diseases to establish themselves

Step 5 Add Nutrients

Similarly, adding organic matter such as compost or manure, or organic fertilisers assists in soil health. This helps to improve drainage and aeration while also increasing the amount of nutrients available to plants.

Step 6 Encourage helpful insects

As with insects for pest control, a lot of this comes down to not harming beneficial insects.
If you are having issues with a garden void of earth-worms, these can be purchased and introduced.

 

Ultimately, look after your soil and it will look after you.

Products and links mentioned in this article:

Gardena
Neta

Charlie Carp Available from Bunnings: https://www.bunnings.co.nz/charlie-carp-1l-premium-organic-fertiliser-concentrate_p3020034 or Mitre 10 in Australia
Neem Oil Available from LSG: https://www.landscapeandgrower.com/shop/product/6157_neem_tree_oil/
Topbuxus Available from LSG: https://www.landscapeandgrower.com/shop/product/6180_topbuxus_health-mix/

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