Why soil preparation is so important for your plantation?
Soil is the base for all plants and trees. It is also the home of a rich and secret underground life.
So we need to take care of it. Here are the main two reasons why trees need a healthy soil:
– to grow roots easily
– to be able to thrive in good conditions.
In this blog post, we will share what are the key elements to prepare a good soil for your Miyawaki mini-forest.
The insight of Terra Preta
What makes a good soil?
To grow plants in a healthy way, you need a dark, smooth, loose soil.
A good soil has:
– a high content of organic material, to support soil activity
– a high porosity (high percentage of void), it is not compact and allows air to circulate
– a good capacity to retain water, to keep moisture and avoid erosion or water runoff.
With these basics set in place, you may get an incredible soil life with microorganisms, fungi and hard-working earthworms! As explained in a next part, earthworms will provide a positive feedback loop thanks to their galleries, making your soil airy.
In terms of percentage organic material, the color of your soil is a good indicator. To make it simple: the darker your soil is, the better it is!
All of this is needed for our plants to grow well.
C, N, P, K ? What is that?
These are main elements that you need in your soil to get a healthy growth of your plants.
– C is Carbon: nourishes the life of the soil, as a source of energy.
– N is Nitrogen: makes plants grow, in particular with healthy leaves.
– P is Phosphorus: promotes the development of the root system and regulates flowering and fruit processes.
– K is Potassium: plays a role in the regulation of the vital functions for strong plants.
But, in a 80/20 Pareto effort, if there is only 1 thing to focus on, it is the Carbon! First we should focus on charging our soil with organic matter to increase the content of Carbon.
2) recreate healthy soils and secure local food chains
How to identify your type of soil?
It is important to know the texture of your soil.
I have already explained it in another blog post here: Step 2 – Prepare the Soil .
Soil is made from 3 major components. There is a simple way, with your hand, to define the main element:
– if it is crunhy, it is sand
– if it is soft, it is silt
– if it sticks, with the possibility to mark a fingerprint in it, it is clay.
Based on that, you will know the feature of your soil and define what to add in your soil for water retention and perforation of the roots.
Earthworms, your silent ally for a healthy soil
Earthworms will mix the layers of soil for you. They will make the connection between the different layers of soil. Travelling and working between the underground deep layers towards the topsoil, and vice-versa.
If your piece of land has an army of earthworms, you will not have even to mix the organic matter. If you let long enough to the earthworms, they will do the work for you. With no tillage or mechanical work, you won’t have to burry your organic matter. It will save you time and money and preserve the microbiology of the soil.
Afterwards, earthworms will also do the work of mineralisation. They will transforms organic matter into water, mineral salts (N, P, K) and CO2, useful for the plants growth.
From now on, you have all the basics you need to prepare your soil for your plantation.
So go for it!
You will learn by doing and discover that if you set the right conditions with your soil, Nature will help you to do the remaining work.