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How to Know if You Have the Most Fertile Soil for Growing Flowers and Other Plants

Updated on May 27, 2013

Plants & Soil

Plant Image - Picture of Plant Growing
Plant Image - Picture of Plant Growing
growing Soil - Healthy Fruits
growing Soil - Healthy Fruits

Soils for Plants

In this hub, we will be focusing primarily on soil for plants. We are now approaching the Spring season, which means many of us have been looking forward to do some outdoor gardening. However, the fact that the soil have been sitting idly for almost a year or more, taking quite a bit of punishment first from the scorching summer sun and then from the bitter winter; it's highly possible that it may have lost some of its nutrients.

If you are looking forward to a more prolific harvest this year, it's important that your soil has all the correct balance of all the necessary nutrients. The question is however, especially for those of you who might be considering doing some gardening for the first time -- how will you be able to tell if your soil is fertile enough to produce a bumper crop? Well, the only way to know is to do a soil test.

Bear in mind that if you are interested in planting a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers etc, you will need to do several separate testing of the areas selected for gardening, because different plants tend to thrive in different soil conditions.

To know if you have the right soil for plants, you may perform a simple soil test. There are two approaches to soil testing; you can either do it yourself, or send it to a soil testing laboratory for a soil analysis. If you prefer to do it yourself, you may purchase a do-it-yourself soil-testing kit and take your soil sample as directed by the instruction manual that accompanies the kit.

Once you have the results, the instruction manual or written recommendation from a lab will let you know what approach you need to take to correct the deficiencies. This may require the addition of vital nutrients.

According to soil experts, a good soil test should reveal at least four major soil conditions and how to adjust them.

  1. Beginning with the pH level -- the numerical value will reveal at least four major soil conditions and how to best adjust them. Based on findings, most gardens are said to do exceptionally well when the pH ranges between 5.8 and 6.6. Fertilizers and nourishment will be blocked from entering the plant if pH levels are too high or too low.
  2. For green lawns and leafy vegetables, the correct amount of nitrogen is of paramount importance.
  3. Since phosphorous promotes bright colorful flower formation and seed germination it's also important that an adequate level of phosphorous is in the soil.
  4. For roots, stem and stalks of a plant to form, the right potash level is also considered essential.

Some plants may require the ideal level of additional nutrients to thrive, such as calcium, magnesium and aluminum. Strong acidity and high levels of exchangeable aluminum for example, are believed to be harmful to many crops. Aluminum toxicity may restrict effective rooting depth.

Based on findings, other factors that may affect fertility of soil include low moisture holding capacity and poor air capacity of the soil. All of the these conditions may lead to soil limitation such as poor rooting and low moisture availability. Other factors affecting limitations of soil use is poor fertility secondary to chemically poor subsoil, dense, poorly rootable subsoil, prone to water logging, and in a few cases, low water availability.

Top Soil

For those of you who have been farming on a much larger scale, it's recommended that top soil should be preserved. Clearing by burning is therefore not recommended because it leads to loss or compaction of top soil. To be more specific, burning exposes the soil. In order to avoid soil physical deterioration, the soil should be kept as much as possible under a vegetative cover throughout the year. It is also advisable to apply lime and fertilizer (calcium and phosphorus) not only to improve rooting conditions, but also to increase water holding capacity and also air capacity of soil.


Flourishing, beautiful and healthy plants are often the result of two very important factors which are: having the right soil for plants and choosing the right time of the year for planting certain plants or crops. Remember, poor soil care, yield stunted plants and a poor harvest!


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