The soil is always one of the first things that we look for when starting a new garden or when we want to plant some seedlings in pots and bottles. While it is apparent that plants need soil to grow how does soil affect plant growth?
Soil PH, soil aeration, soil drainage and soil type are some terms that you will come across as a gardener. Understanding them is vital as it will help you comprehend how soil affects plant growth and why you always need to find the best.
The soil consists of living organisms, minerals, and organic matter. The organic matter in the dirt comes from decaying material like dead animals and rotting plants. Minerals come from crushed rocks, and so the type and amount of mineral in the soil depend on the rocks found in that geographic area.
The living organisms that make up soil will include things like bacteria and worms. Everything from the organic matter to the living organisms in the ground affects plant growth.
Plants need a stable ground to grow their roots, and this is what soil provides. Soil ensures that the roots system can grow outwards and downwards and hence give your plants the support they need to grow. Without soil, it would be tough for the plants to germinate or get the nutrients that they need.
If a plant is not stable, it would not be able to grow well. And even if you can find something else to offer the support it will still not be as useful as soil.
Every living thing including plants requires oxygen in one way or the other. Oxygen helps plants to break down the sugars and nutrients so as to produce the energy they need to germinate and grow. The soil has tiny spaces between its particles which allow air to seep through from the surface. This air is what in turn ensures a steady supply of oxygen to the plant’s roots.
And so it is always crucial to make sure that you always plant in a well-aerated soil. A well-aerated soil means that there is enough space for air and so the roots get enough of it. If the earth is not well-aerated plants, tend to grow slowly since the lack of enough oxygen also affects nutrient uptake.
Soil contains a lot of nutrients which it gets from decaying plants and animals. These nutrients act as food for the plants. And so soil aids in plant growth by supplying the plants with food in the form of nutrients. There are also various living organisms in the dirt which also provide nutrients for the plants.
Soil will also hold or store the nutrients that you provide to your plants in the form of compost, manure or fertilizers. And so with soil, your plants will always get nutrients and minerals as and when they need them provided the soil is fertile.
The spaces between the soil particles are not just for holding air because they also contain water. Plants will consume the water through their roots, and this is the most important thing that they need to grow. Also, the soil stores water for future use by minimizing evaporation. A well-aerated soil does this best because it contains more space between the particles.
Water cools the plants as it evaporates from the soil, carries essential nutrients, maintains the right cells size to prevent wilt and it is also a key ingredient for photosynthesis. And so dirt that can hold enough of it is crucial for your plants to thrive.
Soil PH is one of the things that you must understand for successful gardening or farming. It is also important to have a PH meter for measuring it or be ready to use professional services for this.
The bacteria that release nitrogen and other essential minerals from organic matter and most fertilizer types will work best at a PH level of between 5.5 and 7.0. PH also affects the availability of nutrients and also the structure of the soil. But, the right PH for your garden will depend on the plants that you grow because some thrive in acidic soils while others prefer those that are more alkaline.
Any sudden rise or fall of temperature can affect the plant’s roots and hence also the growth of the plants. However, soil cushions the roots from this and this is more so during the days or seasons that are excessively cold or hot.
Now that you know how soil affects the growth of plants you are probably wondering if it is necessary for plants or not. But the answer is very straightforward and to state it clearly, the presence of dirt is not essential for plants to grow.
If you can provide the essential nutrients that they need which include nitrogen, phosphorous and nitrogen you do not need soil. Hydroponics gardening or farming does not use any dirt. With this method of planting, you provide the nutrients in the water and use artificial things like foam, stakes or strings for anchorage or support.
The soil is always an important factor for gardening. And so it is necessary to make sure that you have the best for your plants so that they get the nutrients, minerals, water, and oxygen that they need to grow. Although there are modern farming methods like hydroponics that do not involve soil, it is still vital if you want to do some “truly” organic farming.