The first step is to make soil fertile, is to Test your soil health, understand the Texture and type of soil and then follow the steps mentioned below:
1. Add nitrogen rich manure:
Manure makes a greater contribution to soil aggregation than composts. It is advisable to use organic manure with potting soil to gradually improve the soil quality.
Organic manures increase the humus content and water holding capacity of the soil. Plus it provides most important dose of macro nutrients (NPK) to plants.
Cow dung manure is the most commonly available organic fertilizer in India. It is always a good idea to use well decomposed manure instead of any kind of fresh animal dung. Ideal organic manure is dark, moist, consistent, rich in texture & more importantly it doesn't have any unpleasant odour. Leaves of leguminous ‘green manures’ can be added to convert the otherwise balanced manure into nitrogen rich manure. Click here to buy cow manure online in India.
2. Try composting:
Composting can be defined as a means of recycling almost any organic wastes. The best part about composting is that it reduces the bulk of organic materials, stabilizes their soluble nutrients, and triggers the formation of soil humus. Application of one-quarter inch per season is recommended as it will provide slow-release nutrients, which will dramatically improve your soil’s water retention and suppress disease.
Vermicomposting is one of the renowned composting methods. In this technique, earthworms are used to convert nutrient-dense materials, like manures, food waste and green crop residues, into forms usable by plants. You could also opt for ready made products like Organic veggie mix & ready to use pot-o-mix.
Various organizations are promoting the concept of composting these days vigorously. There are machines available too. Don’t know about it yet? Do watch the new Swachh Bharat commercial casting Amitabh Bachchan and highlighting the benefits of composting on You tube.
3. Plant cover crops:
To feed our soil, build its fertility and improve its structure with time, you should consider growing cover crops. Freshly uprooted cover crops provide already available nutrients for the soil microbes and also for food crop plants. Plus, the pores opened up by the decaying roots of these cover crops permit oxygen flow and water to penetrate the soil. Consider growing clovers, alfalfa, beans and peas as they are valuable cover crops, as they fix the nitrogen from the environment into forms available to crop plants.
Know more about Cover Crops here.
4. Mulching is full of advantages:
Use organic mulch to keep the soil covered. The mulch retains soil moisture and protects it against temperature extremes. Microbes, earthworms and other forms of beneficial living organisms can “nibble” at the mulch, and gradually incorporate their residues into the top layer of the soil. High-carbon mulches are preferable for weed control when compared to the materials that decay promptly since they endure longer before being incorporated into the soil food web. It is necessary and advisable to renew mulches that are in place for the entire growing season.
Understand mulching in depth, Mulching types, techniques and its long-lasting advantages.
5. Use permanent garden beds and paths:
The Key strategy for protecting soil structure is to grow plants in wide permanent beds, restrict foot traffic to the pathways, and plant as closely as possible. Close planting shades the soil surface, which in turn benefits both soil life and plants by conserving moisture and moderating temperature.
You also can use paths to grow mulches, or mulch the paths and take advantage of the foot traffic to grind materials such as straw or leaves. Then add this finely shredded material to the beds, where it will break down readily than in its coarser forms. Read about tools for raised beds.
There is no dearth of tips, and the list is endless. But to begin with, you can follow these primary and necessary ones.
Let’s create happy and healthy gardens!