Wouldn’t it be nice if all one had to do was spray a little fertilizer on their garden and get rewarded with amazing plants and vegetables every single time? Anyone who spends any amount of time gardening knows that this just isn’t the case. Oftentimes, the struggles we experience with gardening is a result of poor soil condition more than anything else. Here’s a look at some of the most common gardening soil issues and how to fix them.
One of the most common soil issues has to do with either a deficiency or abundance of nitrogen int eh soil. If there isn’t enough nitrogen, the leaves on your plants will turn yellow and eventually die off. If there’s too much nitrogen, you’ll see an abundance of foliage but not as much flowering or fruit production. You’ll also get stunted roots and excess mineral buildup in the soil. The key to managing nitrogen content is to put other plants in the area that can help manage nitrogen in the atmosphere. Regardless of what your main crop is, including things like beans, peas, or alder trees will help maintain appropriate nitrogen levels in the soil.
If your soil doesn’t have enough potassium, you’ll get stunted root growth and poor fruit quality, in addition to the yellowing and dying of leaves. Too much potassium will deplete your plants of calcium and lower the oxygen level in the soil, which can result in poor watering and toxic compounds. A good composting routine will help manage potassium levels, as can adding rock minerals, wood ash, and even seaweed to your soil.
Phosphorous deficiency in your soil results in poor root and leaf growth, delayed fruit maturity, and poor nitrogen fixation. Too much phosphorous results in yellowing leaves and brown spotting and a reduction in absorption of manganese and iron—two valuable nutrients. Composting and mulching will help, as will adding chicken manure, rock phosphates, and bone meal to the soil.
Sulfur deficiency happens in areas with heavy rainfall. The result is yellowing leaves, stunted growth, mass seedling death, and poor flowering. An oversupply of sulfur isn’t all that common, but in the few cases where it does occur, it can cause low levels of selenium and acidity. To manage sulfur content, compost regularly and add gypsum and Epsom salts.