Instead of looking to the sky for drought relief, we should all cast our eyes down and take a good look at our soil. Healthy soils capture and retain more moisture, which contributes to drought resiliency.
To improve soil health, you must first determine what type of soil you have. Do you need a jackhammer in the summer to dig a 6-inch hole? Or does your soil soak up five gallons of water in 30 seconds?
San Luis Obispo County has a wide variety of soil types with different water retention, nutrient and pH characteristics.
At the Advice to Grow By Workshop this Saturday, we will teach you how to build healthy soil. You’ll learn the components of soil and how to identify your soil type. We will discuss soil pH and how that affects the availability of nutrients and minerals in your garden. We will show you how to determine the correct amount of fertilizer to add to your soil and better understand the percentage of nutrients listed on the bag.
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Improving your soil with nutrient-rich organic matter pro vides the foundation for soil to function properly. In healthy soil, earthworms, arthropods and decaying roots create pores into which water can flow and then be stored within the soil. Just a 5 percent increase in organic material quadruples the soil’s water holding capacity.
A terrific way to incorporate organic matter is with compost. Compost is great stuff! You can produce it in your own yard. It loosens tight soils and helps porous, sandy soils retain moisture. At Saturday’s workshop you will learn the difference between compost and mulch, how to make compost, and how to use it efficiently.
Join us at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo, from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. With all this information under your belt, you can take an educated approach to determine your soil’s needs and improve soil health. In doing so, you will ultimately maximize soil water retention.
Save the date!! The UCCE Master Gardener’s Tomato Extravaganza will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. It will feature tomato and basil tastings, a plant sale, presentations, and more. Watch for the full article on Aug. 26!