The Pure Living Soil team recommends that a soil test be taken prior to application of inputs to your soils. Completing an analysis allows the Pure Living Soil team, as well as you the customer, to have a better understanding of what your soils are in need of and what nutrient is needed to sufficiently grow the desired crop or plants. Pure Living Soil recommend and use SWEP Laboratories Pty Ltd, a mainland based independent company who specialise in all types of soil testing and analysis.
Whilst the application of nutrient is vital to your soils, it is also necessary to have balanced soils. To achieve this, the major elements in the soil should be in the approximate percentages shown in the pie chart on the right.
Balanced soils also have a high level of microbial activity, this activity improves soil structure, releases nutrient and breaks down stubble into humus. A balanced soil is also more Porous, allowing plant roots better access to the nutrient needed.
The Benefits Of Using a Sustainable System
There are many benefits of using a sustainable system in all types of agriculture and home gardening, as they all depend on one thing, your soil. A sustainable system should provide adequate nutrient to grow the specific crop or plant as well as maintaining good microbial activity levels in the soil. Increased microbial activity means that organic matter is continually being digested into humus which released energy and nutrient which stimulates plant growth.
What is Humus?
Humus is organic matter but not all organic matter is humus. For organic matter to become humus it must first be digested by the millions of beneficial microbes found in your soil. Humus has a number of beneficial properties which will improve soil structure and plant growth such as:
- Its ability to break up and aerate hardened soils which allows easier root penetration whilst increasing earthworm and microbial activity.
- Its ability to hold onto twice its weight in water which in turn increases the water retention capabilities of your soil.
- It can hold onto nutrient much better than a heavy clay, creating a bank of nutrient for plants to draw off.
- It is also quite stable, meaning it has minimal leaching properties and remains in the soil.
- By increasing your humus levels in the soil you are increasing it’s stability and ability to hold onto moisture and nutrient therefore saving you money.
High Organic Matter Does Not Always Mean High Humus?
By applying undigested organic matter to the soil there is an increase in carbon which needs to be digested by beneficial microbes. For microbes to digest this carbon they must also feed on nitrogen, creating a nitrogen shortage in the soil.
Microbes will always eat first, meaning that the nitrogen will be used first by the microbes to convert organic matter, rather than being used to increase plant growth. To prevent this situation occurring it is necessary to apply already digested organic matter such as that found in Foundation Aerobic Compost.