December 29, 2016 Sustainable Farming Written by Greentumble
How to Improve Soil Fertility Naturally
If you’re interested in growing your

own garden, improving soil fertility is something you should definitely learn about. Anybody can stick a few plants in the ground, but ultimately for a healthy garden that produces nice, edible food, healthy soil is a must. There are numerous ways to improve the fertility of soil. When used in conjunction, you’ll have rich and fertile soil that will spawn wonderful produce.

    • Add organic matter

A diverse range of organic matter is the best way to improve soil fertility [1]. Firstly, manure should be added for nitrogen, which is a critical component of fertile soil. Livestock manure (cow, goat, pig) is a good option. Try to get manure from healthy, free range animals, not from factory farmed animals.

Manure from unhealthy and confined animals is more likely to have pathogens which may contaminate your crops. Even with manure from healthy animals, make sure you wait at least three months between before you apply the manure to the garden bed and when you harvest your vegetables. This will guard against contamination.

    • Add compost

Another great source of nitrogen for your garden is compost. Compost has the added benefit of helping to break up clay particles, allowing water to drain better [2].

Additionally, in sandy loam it binds the grains together to reduce moisture, making the soil more fertile.

Compost is quite simple to make. It is made of organic materials such as garden clippings, dry leaves, kitchen vegetable scraps and even shredded paper [3]. Once the compost is ready, apply to your garden bed. This will make the soil more nitrous and will result in beautiful, healthy vegetables.

    • Mixed cropping

A lesser-known way to improve soil fertility is to plant different crops in the same field in order to prevent soil erosion and control the spread of soil-borne plant disease [4]. Doing this with legumes will have the benefit of adding nitrate to the soil. Try to use deep rooted vegetables, which will improve soil fertility naturally.

    • Mulch

Mulch is a way to cover the soil which helps retain water, control weeds and prevent erosion, thus improving soil fertility [5]. You can use plant waste as mulch, or you can buy it from a gardening shop. Make sure not to use a mulch that is too thick, as this may have the effect of holding too much moisture and causing plant diseases.

All of these ways, when properly researched and used correctly, are great ways to naturally improve the fertility of your soil. Having your own garden is an excellent way to help the planet and your health at the same time. In order to grow your own vegetables though, soil fertility is crucial, so it’s worth investing some time in learning about these techniques.