- Students will be able to describe the characteristics of good soil and identify amendments to improve soil texture.
Tools & Materials
- Soil sample
- Mason jar
- Dish soap
Not all soils are created equal and the idea of perfect soil is an elusive one. But the process of improving soil is a constant for any farmer regardless of the size of land they tend.
The only way to truly understand the condition of the soil is by frequent and repeated testing. Look for deficiencies in texture, nutrients, or biota and apply an amendment to remedy the issue. Then retest to see just how big of an impact your efforts have made.
Compost teas introduce nutrients, fungi, bacteria, and organic particulates into the soil. Side dressing plants with finished compost provides a slow release fertilizer that benefits production over time and adds organic material, And proper use of crop rotation and cover cropping can help to minimize the stress on the system as a whole.
But the starting point is to establish a baseline, to understand exactly what the composition and texture of your soil is to start. Evaluate the texture of the soil in the raised planters by performing a Mason Jar Soil Texturing Test (Additional Resources). Determine which natural inputs could be used to improve the texture.
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