Does your yard's soil need fertilization or is it already fertilized enough to grow healthy plants? Experts or experienced gardeners can determine the healthiness of the soil by forming a ball out of the soil. A good soil will allow you to form a ball out of it, though it will crumble easily. It will also feel loose and gritty. Meanwhile, soil that allows you to make a hard soil ball out of it is muddy, and is not a good soil for vegetation. Even the soil that will not allow you to make a ball out of it is not healthy. This is sandy and will not give enough nutrients for the plants. Aside from making a soil ball, you can also test the soil quality by making a soil water tester. This is more objective than the first method and will give you better picture of how healthy your soil is by its composition.
Follow these instructions when making a soil water tester:
- Get an empty and clean quart jar. You can use an old mayonnaise for this jar. Make sure it is clean and free of any particles.
- Put clean water in a jar. The water should eat up 2/3 of the quart jar.
- Put in the soil in the jar until the container is almost full. Break lumpy soils for easy shaking later.
- Cover the jar with its lid. Make sure it is covered properly and tightly.
- Shake the jar until the soil turns into small particles. The smaller and finer the soil particles, the better.
- Let the jar settle on a flat surface for about one minute. There will be a soil layer that will settle out from the water-soil mixture. This is the soil’s sand. Put a marker on the layer’s top.
- Wait again for about one hour so as the soil’s silt layer would settle down. Put a mark on the top of this new soil layer.
- Again, let the jar set aside, now, for 24 hours. Put it to a place where it will not be shaken or mixed. You can wait until the water is more or less clear again. Place a mark on the new soil layer’s top. This is the soil’s clay.
- Compare the soil layers and that will determine what kind of soil you have. You have sandy soil if there is more sand layer than other soil layers. The soil is a clay soil if clay composes more of the soil. It’s a loam soil if the soil layers are almost the same in quantity. The healthiest soil is the loam soil since it can hold water better compared with sandy soil and it can allow the water to move freely better than the clay soil.
Aside from making a soil water tester, you can also evaluate the healthiness of your soil through its other factors. These are the color, compaction, texture, temperature, structure, profile, pH level, organic content, and moisture content.
However you do it is fine for as long as you can determine the health condition of your soil. That way, you will know if your soil needs more fertilization and if your effort to cultivate the soil is working great or not.