Analyze the soil of the garden

Before starting to make a vegetable garden, it is very important to analyze the land you are about to cultivate. Those who are organic horticulturists for passion certainly cannot afford expensive laboratory analyzes that investigate the composition of the earth that is available.

However, we can still rely on some rather simple empirical tests. In this way it is possible to get an idea about the main characteristics of the land and set the agricultural activity accordingly.

Conversely, those who grow vegetables or fruit trees to obtain income may be compensated by having a professional soil analysis done. This is an investment that allows you to study measures aimed at obtaining better harvests.

The simple observation

The first assessments on a land are made without the need for any experiment or instrumentation, but simply by observing and taking note of the climatic conditions, the response to rains and the presence of water.

The climatic conditions. The soil analysis must go hand in hand with the assessment of the climatic conditions to which the cultivated plants will be subjected. This topic can be explored by reading the article that deals with the exposure of the soil to climate, sun and wind. It is necessary to evaluate the exposure to the sun, to understand how many hours of light the crops will have available, to know what the minimum and maximum temperatures are during the various seasons, in order to be able to adjust the sowing period. The garden project must necessarily take all this information into account.

The answer to the rains. Another important observation to make is how the soil responds to rains: just go to the plot during a day of heavy rainfall and try to observe how quickly the earth absorbs rainwater, if there are points where stagnations form. (puddles or mud). Continuing to observe the vegetable garden in the following days, one observes the ability to retain moisture and quickly drain excess water.

The presence of water. Another important check before cultivating whether we have water available, a topic that can be explored by reading the irrigation of the garden.

Soil pH measurement

A very important fact about the soil that we cannot determine at a glance is the ph value. It is a crucial physical relationship in favoring or not the absorption of some substances by plants, also related to the presence of calcium in the soil. The pH analysis can simply be done on your own with the use of a litmus paper, as explained in more detail in the article on measuring the pH of the soil. If the soil is too acidic or too basic, it is possible to intervene to make a correction and make the soil more suitable for the plants we want to grow.

An empirical test on the type of land

Another very useful information about a field is its structure and composition. Knowing if the soil is sandy rather than clayey, light rather than compact, allows you to decide with full knowledge of the facts how to work it. The evaluation of the type of soil can be carried out empirically using a glass jar and a little water, as explained in the article on how to evaluate the type of soil. Obviously, the laboratory analysis provides more complete and accurate data, but for a garden this type of test may be sufficient.

There are many other parameters that escape the simple tests recommended so far: for example, how to evaluate the presence of organic matter and nutritional elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) in the soil. There are expert farmers who get this information by observing which wild herbs populate the earth: for example, where there is nettle, the soil is almost always very rich and humid. However, it is not easy to explain this type of information, also because each locality has its own peculiar herbs. For this reason, if you need more information, all that remains is to have an earth sample tested in the laboratory.

After evaluating the land, we are ready to start making an organic garden and starting with the sowing of the first vegetables. Good job!

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Matteo Cereda2019-01-16T12: 20: 41 + 01: 00
  1. Stephen17 September 2016 at 7:48

    It may also be useful to evaluate the main nutritional elements (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and the quantity of organic matter.

    • Maurizio18 February 2017 at 9:14

      Hi my name is Maurizio I would like to know without spending a lot of money for earth tests, the basic things to do,

      • Matteo Cereda19 February 2017 at 22:13

        Analyze the pH of the soil, litmus paper costs very little. Then you can try to check how clayey it is by using water and letting the earth settle.

  2. Maurizio18 February 2017 at 9:16

    a very clayey soil and very hard to work, what needs to be done to make it softer
    thanks Maurizio

    • Matteo Cereda19 February 2017 at 22:12

      You can add a good amount of sand to it and mill.

  3. andrea campetella3 January 2018 at 21:23

    Hi I have seen an agricultural land that interests me I wanted to grow vegetables to know the type of soil what type of analysis should I do? and then at what depth? What if I have to wait for the soil to dry?

    • Matteo Cereda3 January 2018 at 21:28

      Good morning Andrea. If the land is large and you want to do income-generating activities, it is better to get help from an agronomist, ask for advice from Coldiretti or another trade association in your area. Generally, the soil is analyzed between 10 and 20 cm deep, it must not be soaked with water.

  4. Luigi11 January 2018 at 10:08

    Very detailed and complete throughout. I knew many things but how to do it yourself is very useful.
    An agricultural consortium asked me € 30 to carry out a soil analysis on a 1kg sample.

    • Matteo Cereda11 January 2018 at 10:14

      Thanks for the compliments. The cost of the analysis seems too competitive, however, it is necessary to understand what values ​​it investigates. The do-it-yourself method is for obvious reasons approximate and is useful for those who have a family vegetable garden, those who have a large extension or grow for work may find it convenient to invest some money in professional analyzes.

  5. Davis2 March 2019 at 7:30

    Good morning. Congratulations on the page. I have a question related to this:
    "There are expert farmers who get this information by observing which wild herbs populate the earth: for example, where there is nettle, the soil is almost always very rich and humid."
    If I have a garden of these characteristics above, can it be suitable for vegetables?

    • Matteo Cereda2 March 2019 at 15:56

      Yes, in general it is fertile soil, with regard to wetness it must be earth capable of retaining it, but without excessive stagnation.

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Video: How to improve clay soils for gardening. (January 2021).