Soil is the skin of the earth and probably our most valuable asset but commonly referred to as dirt. As a lad growing up on a Bedfordshire small holding I was taught how important it was to look after soil and was never allowed to refer to it as dirt – dirt was a nasty substance that should be avoided.
Soil acts as an engineering medium, a habitat for soil organisms, a recycling system for nutrients and organic wastes, a regulator of water quality, a modifier of atmospheric composition, and a medium for plant growth. Since soil has a tremendous range of available niches and habitats, it contains most of the earth’s genetic diversity. A handful of soil can contain billions of organisms, belonging to thousands of species.
The pH value of soil is important as when at its optimum level nutrients required for plant growth are freed and made available for the plant to absorb them via its root system. With that in mind, yesterday I processed some samples of soil taken from my garden as a base point.
Four samples from different parts of the garden have been allowed to dry out on the windowsill.
The above pictures show that even in a small garden there is variation, this is party because some areas have received more compost than others and the raised beds have been filled with soil bought in and brought to the garden. With the pH level confirmed to be suitable for growing food plants I intend to record the results and recheck in a years time to see if it improves with regular and generous mulching.