Garden soil treatment

Soil is generally evaluated on fertility and texture. Fertility is a combination of essential nutrients and a pH that makes these nutrients available to the plants. Texture refers to the size of the soil particles and their cohesiveness.

Nitrogen is largely responsible for healthy leaf and stem growth. In the soil, nitrogen is made available to plants by nitrogen fixing bacteria which convert nitrogen into nitrates, a form plants can use. Nitrogen does not remain in the soil for long. It gets used up by your plants and by decaying matter in the soil. It is also water soluble and can wash out of the soil rather quickly. Even so, an excess of nitrogen will cause a lot of foliage growth at the expense of flowers and fruit.

Phosphorus is very important for root growth. Flowering bulbs and root crops can always use some phosphorous. That's why bone meal is often recommended for fall bulb planting. It also is crucial for producing flowers and you will sometimes see fertilizers with a high phosphoreus content advertised as flower boosters.

Potassium is needed for overall plant health. It keeps the plants growing and aids their immune systems. Like nitrogen, potassium is also water soluble and needs to be replenished from time to time.

Besides the three primary nutrients, there are several trace elements that are necessary for good plant health like: calcium, magnesium, zinc, molybdenum, etc