We live in a time where we have realized the true worth of a green garden or just greenery in general. However, although we might consider our garden and lawns to be green, they are not so. Unless we raise them in an eco-friendly way, they too would contribute negatively to the environment. In fact, modern-day luxuries like golf courses emit a considerable amount of carbon emissions. These directly contribute to the problems like climate change that are seeping the life of our planet. With such environmental crises around us, a dash of green is a soothing sight for the eyes. But for the green to grow the soil quality has to be good. However, in order to improve the soil quality, we use too much of artificial chemicals. These do more bad than good.
10 – Eco-friendly ways to improve soil quality
Here are some ways to improve soil quality and that too by adapting means that are completely eco-friendly. So go ahead and increase fertility and also the quality of the soil by following these simple methods.
Some simple tips to improve soil quality
1. Clear garden beds and pathways:
If you think of it very few gardens actually implement this policy properly. There is no clear demarcation and as a result people often step into the garden beds. These results in the soil there getting more compact than it ideally should be. Also there are many organisms that are great for the soil fertility. So to increase fertility their ecosystem should not be harmed which it is if humans step on them. So make sure that you have well defined garden paths for people to walk on and demarcated garden beds where nobody would step in.
2. Use sheet mulching effectively:
Sheet mulching is a method where you adopt a no tilling stance while you plan to begin a new garden or work on one that is absolutely overrun by weeds. This is known to be very effective to improve soil quality. For this you can have organic matter layered in order over cardboard. The cardboard can smother the plant matters and the seeds of the weeds and help your garden develop. The plant residue underneath and the cardboard undergoing decomposition attracts several helpful organisms and worms which help a lot in the betterment of soil quality.
This is an easy way by which the soil can retain the moisture and the nutrients that go on to make good soil. With different climates around the world the type of mulching followed too is different. Hot and dry climates are more suited for the heavy mulching. In contrast the cooler areas or the areas affected by rain can benefit from a lighter mulch. Be sure that in your attempts at providing some assistance to the beneficial organisms of the soil, you did not assist the growth of some harmful ones.
3. Till wisely:
This is a tricky aspect that you have to deal with when you try to improve soil quality. Tilling in general is useful and necessary and is known to make the soil well aerated and lose. Again a bit too much of it can harm the soil making it more susceptible to the agents of erosion. A lot of the top soil is blown away in the process. It also adversely affects the helpful organisms living in the top soil zone and can prove to be a negative influence on the soil. Also there is a chance that the dormant seeds get sun exposure due to the unwise tilling. A digging fork is our best bet to get the benefits of tilling without inviting the negatives.
4. Add chopped leaves:
We cannot mention enough about the importance of providing organic inputs to the soil. Leaves are one of the best such agents that can be used as the inputs. So you can always add chopped leaves or even the much older leaves. If you can follow it as per the instructions you will enjoy a silent house. So add the chopped leaves and change your fortune in the pressure.
5. Add organic matter to the soil:
When you indulge in organic farming you utilize a lot of the nutrition of the soil. This nutrition is used up to provide you with healthy plant produce. So once in a while it is necessary to replenish all that is lost. This is not only an eco friendly way it also one of the cheapest routes to good soil quality. It can be animal compost or homemade kitchen compost and wood chips. It all works just fine and the soil is provided with just the right nutritional ingredients. This is a nice way to not only get soil quality but also to maintain it over the years.
6. Use cover crops:
This is one of the most effective ways to improve soil quality. The cover plants will be constant supply of organic matter and organisms that improve the quality of the soil. They also provide shade for certain plants for whom the direct sun is a bit too much heat. But one must be careful in choosing the cover crops wisely. If you are planning such a cover crop that is not adjustable in cold weather and place it over plants that grow in winter then it would serve no purpose.
7. Nutrient accumulators:
These are some plants that exist in your garden and use up much of the nutritional values of the soil. For this reason some parts of them may be then chopped off so that they can be used as further additives to the soil. It is a valuable addition to your garden if your idea is to improve soil quality. Apart from being so useful, these are also known to promote the bio diversity and so it can be a thing that you may try out later.
8. Test Your Soil
The first step towards making your lawn and yard eco-friendly would be testing the quality of soil you are going to work with. Understanding the specific characteristics of your lawn’s soil including its pH level and the nutrients it needs you can avoid using pesticides and fertilizers unnecessarily.
Proper soil testing also reveals the salts present in it along with the organic matters it contains. In case the soil lacks organic matter, microbes will not thrive in it leading to deterioration of soil quality. Mulching and use of natural compost can help in increasing organic matter present in the soil, helping you grow a healthier lawn.
9. Get Rid of Pesticides
Apparently, the lawn products you purchase from supermarkets or order online will keep the lawn and yard looking gorgeous. But, underneath the façade of health, they will increase toxic content of soil. Most of the lawn products available in the market contain harmful and toxic pesticides. Even products that proclaim to be ‘Natural’ or ‘Organic’ may contain damaging chemicals. Ban the use of pesticides from your garden to keep the grass greener and healthier naturally.
10. Add Native Plants
A proven way of enhancing the health of your yard is adding some native plants to it. Exotic plants may be desirable but they are not suitable to the local air, water and soil. On the other hand, native plants can improve biodiversity, supporting the local environment. Biodiversity helps in recycling nutrients and fertilizing the soil.
The need of the hour is organic farming and these simple tips will be a great way to go about it. The more we strive the more we realize that there is an eco friendly way for everything and this process too can be accomplished the same way. So implement these ideas and make the world a greener place.