Plants don’t like wet feet

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

For best re­sults, you need well-drained soil. That is Gar­den­ing 101. But how do you know if your soil is well-drained?

Try this test in dif­fer­ent parts of your land­scape to get an idea of where plants will thrive.

Dig a hole about 12 inches wide and at least 12 to 18 inches deep. It doesn’t have to be mea­sured pre­cisely for the test to work. Fill the hole with wa­ter and let it drain com­pletely. Fill the hole again and mea­sure the depth of the wa­ter. Mea­sure the depth ev­ery hour for two or three hours.

The wa­ter level of well-drain­ing soil will drop at least an inch per hour.

Work­ing in or­ganic mat­ter, such as com­post or leaf mold, is a great way to im­prove soil drainage.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to overdo it, so go ahead and work in as much as you can, and dig as deeply as pos­si­ble.

The or­ganic mat­ter you add to the soil im­proves the soil struc­ture. It also at­tracts earth­worms, which process the or­ganic mat- ter and make nu­tri­ents read­ily avail­able to plants.

Or­ganic mat­ter helps solve prob­lems such as heavy clay soil or com­paction from con­struc­tion equip­ment and heavy foot traf­fic.

If the land has a high wa­ter ta­ble, you need to raise the level of the soil. If haul­ing truck­loads of soil isn’t an op­tion, you can build raised beds.

A bed six or eight inches above the sur­round­ing soil al­lows you to grow a wide va­ri­ety of plants. Fill in low-ly­ing ar­eas where wa­ter stands.

Plant roots need air to sur­vive. When soil doesn’t drain well, the space be­tween the soil par­ti­cles that would nor­mally be filled with air is filled with wa­ter. This causes the roots to rot. You can see ev­i­dence of root rot by lift­ing a plant out of the ground and ex­am­in­ing the roots. Healthy roots are firm and white. Rot­ting roots are dark-col­ored and feel slimy to touch. Well-drained soil is more likely to have an abun­dance of earth­worms and micro­organ­isms that keep the soil healthy and nu­tri­ent-rich. As earth­worms con­sume or­ganic mat­ter, they leave be­hind waste ma­te­rial that is much higher in nu­tri­ents, like ni­tro­gen, than the sur­round­ing soil. They also loosen the soil and cre­ate deep tun­nels that al­low roots to reach fur­ther into the soil for the min­er­als they need.

The next time you find that the plants you’ve cho­sen for your gar­den need well-drained soil, take the time to make sure your soil drains freely.

It’s easy, and your plants will thank you by thriv­ing in their new home.

Read more at Gar­den­ing Know How: Check­ing Soil Drainage: Tips For Mak­ing Sure Soil Drains Well https://www.gar­den­ing­knowhow. com/ gar­den- howto/ soil- fer­til­iz­ers/ mak­ing- sure­soil-drains-well.htm

WORTH THE WAIT: Grow­ing ap­ples from scratch can be time-con­sum­ing and labour-in­ten­sive. Pest con­trol is vi­tal, par­tic­u­larly in the early years. Once es­tab­lished, how­ever, trees such as this dwarf va­ri­ety, can pro­duce boun­ti­ful crops for years to come.

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