Good soil vital to plant health

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This column is written by members of the Lycoming County Master Gardeners.)

Q: What makes a good soil and why is it so important?

A: Plants take up nutrients and water through the soil in which they are planted, so it is very important that it has all the right components.

A good soil mix drains well yet maintains moisture.

Adding organic matter improves the quality of soil by improving drainage of soil that has more clay in it and improving water retention in soil that contains more sand. It also is a source for nutrients.

You can perform a soil test to find out what your soil may be lacking. Tests may be purchased at local county extension offices.

The results will let you know what you can do to improve your soil.

An important factor to take into consideration for your plants is the pH of your soil. The results of the soil test will give you information as to whether you need to raise or lower the pH according to your plant’s needs.

It will be important to feed the soil to keep it in good condition for plant health by adding organic matter or commercial fertilizers.

Soil testing every three to five years is suggested to make sure your soil is providing everything your plants need for gardening success.

Fox has a deep-rooted love of plants and maintains several garden beds in her pollinator-friendly certified yard.