Plants don’t like wet feet
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.