Preserving Topsoil, The Organic Way
Lawns and gardens often require a lot of maintenance and care. Topsoil is a major component of the care routine since it gets eroded away easily. If you need topsoil for your garden, you can search for “topsoil near me” and buy some from your nearest store. While that may work in the short term, preventing topsoil erosion and degradation in the long term is the best solution. Let’s check out how you can do that the organic way:
- Proper soil irrigation – Irrigation is a big part of gardening and a major part of lawn care. However, irrigating soil the wrong way can lead to soil erosion and also wash away nutrients from the soil. If you live in a dry environment, the soil can lose moisture very quickly and get loose. That makes it highly susceptible to soil erosion. On the other hand, if you have an inefficient irrigation system then you’re going to overwater your lawn and wash away the soil.
Instead, you can implement a smart irrigation system. Smart irrigation systems work efficiently with sensors and can be programmed according to your needs. These irrigation systems allow you to map your garden and adjust the amount of water needed for different parts of the garden and lawn according to the plant’s needs. The irrigation systems can also use weather data and soil moisture sensors to water your property and keep the plants satiated while keeping the soil moist.
- Replace the lawn with native vegetation – Lawn grass is the most grown crop in the United States. That’s more than corn. It’s also a very impractical thing to plant in your yard since it is water hungry and grows over a very thin layer of topsoil. That’s why lawn grass is water-hungry, gets easily uprooted, and can’t protect the soil from compaction. You end up replacing your turf and the topsoil.
While some people prefer to replace lawn grass with synthetic turf, that isn’t good for your space either. While it does help in soil erosion, it is made from plastic that gets very hot and releases harmful fumes from being roasted under the sun. Instead, you can replace your turf with native vegetation. Native plants and vegetation are adapted to the local soil and weather and can also grow deep roots to protect the soil. Consult a reputed arborist to figure out the native plants you can grow on your property.
- Use organic mulch – Most homeowners mulch their garden and yard in some way. While some stick to the organic route, others prefer to use plastic mulch or rocks and stones to protect the soil from temperature swings and erosion. However, when you do that, you miss out on the benefits of organic mulch.
While plastic mulch, rocks, and stones are good for protecting the soil from temperature swings and shielding the soil to prevent weeds from sprouting, they can never replace organic mulch. Organic mulch made from paper, wood shavings, and other such materials don’t just create an insulation layer over the soil, but also break down slowly and become a part of the soil.
They add valuable nutrients to the microbes and worms residing in the soil. These organisms keep the soil fertility high and have an important symbiotic relationship with the root system of most plants. Moreover, they improve the soil structure.
- Test the pH level and salinity level of the soil – The pH and salinity level of soil affects the plants you grow on it. If you have soil that’s too acidic or the other way around, you have a very limited number of plants you can grow on it. Anything else will die quickly and turn the soil weak without the support of root systems. This leads to soil erosion. Similarly, the salinity of the soil has a negative effect on plant health and metabolism.
Figure out the pH and salinity level of the soil by ordering a home testing kit or by sending the soil sample to a soil testing lab. To fix the pH level, you can add compost, lime, and even organic fertilizers and amend the soil. On the other hand, there is only one organic way of fixing the salinity level. You need to let your irrigation system leach the soil and wash away excess salt through a drainage system.
- Crop Rotation – You may like to grow a certain variety of tomatoes and garlic in your garden. However, growing the same crop year after year has many negative effects on the soil. It builds up toxins and sucks away certain nutrients from the soil. This makes the soil lose its fertility until eventually, the soil can’t grow any plants.
You can fix this by relying on crop rotation. With crop rotation, you plant cover crops during the less busy seasons. These cover crops usually include legumes, radishes, turnips, and other such crops that replenish nitrogen and other valuable nutrients back into the soil. They also become green manure for your exotic crops. Apart from boosting soil fertility, they also keep the topsoil covered and free from weeds.
- No-till gardening – If you’re not a fan of crop rotation, you can also switch to no-till gardening practices. With a no-till organic garden, you don’t disturb the soil and hence preserve its structure. This can drastically reduce soil erosion and also reduce labor on your part. A no-till garden also has fewer pests and weeds. You can either start from scratch by raising beds or prepare your soil for years of no-till by double digging it at the start. Either way, it’s great for preserving topsoil.
As you can see, there are numerous organic ways of preserving your topsoil. You can implement these practices to prevent nutrition loss from the soil and also keep it from eroding away. However, if you need a fresh topsoil bed to start from scratch, you can search for “topsoil near me” and buy some from the nearest store.