If you are spoiled for choice, you have a choice. A myriad of garden soils are available for purchase in nurseries, garden centers, hardware stores, supermarkets or online. But which one is good enough to provide the best care for your plants? Our organic garden soil test would like to help you,
When it comes to choosing the perfect organic vegetable soil, the intended use plays an important role. If the organic garden soil is only to be used for filling up the garden beds, then soil with few nutrients is also acceptable. In any case, soil that is to be used for sowing/growing must be loose and free of coarse components. Different types of soil are important for growing vegetables: sowing or growing soil, organic herb soil and vegetable soil.
What to look for when buying organic soil?
Basically, a good soil has a low peat and foreign content, whether organic or conventional garden soil. In various garden soil tests, many eco butterfly impurities were often found, so that even dangerous small parts such as shards or wood splinters were included. However, with an organic soil we apply even higher quality standards, with an organic soil the origin should be transparent and traceable. Organic soil can not be obtained from a conventional compost landfill, this should be clear so far.
Also in the organic industry often like to trick to deceive the consumer and make more profits, so it is very important that the information on the packaging corresponds to the truth.
If an unpleasant smell flies up your nose when you open a bag of organic soil, and mold can be seen, then caution is advised and you should ask the seller for an exchange or money back. Who buys organic soil at a higher price, should also receive the corresponding quality. Especially if you want to grow plants in tubs, a high-quality organic pot plant soil is very important.
What types of organic garden soil are available?
Spring is awakening and the warming sun has made it so that the first green buds of the many plants conjure up their beauty. Now begins the time of amateur gardeners. A visit to the garden store for plants and garden accessories is obligatory. But every year again one stands before the shelf with the different garden soils.
Which garden soil is best for which purpose?
The herbal soil
Organic herbal soil is usually a loose soil interspersed with humus (decomposed organic matter) and quartz sand. Depending on which herbs are to be planted, the composition of the soil should be precisely matched to create ideal soil conditions.
If you want to plant different herbs that require different conditions, you should therefore consider whether it makes more sense to mix the soil yourself. For this purpose, you can then mix garden soil, compost and quartz sand or lava sand in proportion.
For Mediterranean garden herbs such as rosemary or sage, you should rather go for a dry and permeable soil. As a guide, the composition should be 55% garden soil, 15% compost and 30% quartz sand. Spice plants with deep roots, such as wormwood or lovage rather cope with heavy, i.e. loamy and nutrient-rich soils.
The ph value varies depending on the type of herb chosen and the soil composition. It can be in the slightly acidic range (below 7) or in the alkaline range (above 7).
The potting soil
Organic potting soil is often purchased in hardware stores and garden centers. Compared to herbal soil, it has peat and bark or pieces of wood added to it. However, more and more suppliers are moving towards offering peat-free soil (overview by BUND) in order to preserve peatlands, which have a significant impact on our ecosystem, by protecting the environment.
However, the composition of some cheaper soils leads to the fact that they become muddy when heavily watered and, unfortunately, only, despite an appropriate content of fertilizers are low in nutrients. Sometimes this composition also leads to a high salt content of the soil.bio gartenerde test.
However, instead of buying the potting soil, you can also very easily make it yourself. For this you also need garden soil, which is then provided with coconut fibers, depending on the planting. Coconut fibers have the property that they store water very well, rot slowly and loosen the soil, creating good aeration. The coconut fibers are brought in to replace the peat.
Potting soil is usually in the ph range of 6-7. For bog plants such as azaleas or blueberries, this value is already too high and can be lowered to a ph of 4-5 by adding good compost.
The universal soil
The organic universal soil, as the name suggests, offers a good mix in terms of composition. It is often used to fill garden beds to create a good foundation. The pH value is in the slightly acidic range between 5-7.
The growing soil or organic sowing soil
Organic potting soil is fine-grained and stable and has a low nutrient and salt content. The young roots of the plants should not be attacked by fertilizer. Therefore, normal potting soil is in no way suitable for cuttings and young plants.
Mixing potting soil yourself
To be on the safe side, hobby gardeners prefer to mix their own potting soil. Half of it consists of compost, a quarter of sand and another quarter of expanded concrete balls. The composition of clay and sand prevents waterlogging and promotes good drainage.
To prevent the young plants from being directly exposed to pathogens, hobby gardeners sterilize the potting soil by heating it briefly in the microwave or oven.
What PH value should potting soil have?
The pH value of potting soil should not exceed 7.
Overall, it can be stated that depending on the plant genus, very different conditions must be created. Before planting, you should measure the nutrient content in the soil. If you want to have an acidic soil, you need to add more humus or compost and thus also increase the nutrient content. If one wants to have an alkaline soil, lime belongs in the soil.
With all the purchase criteria that can be considered, it is ultimately also a matter of luck whether this year’s flowers, garden or universal organic soil meets our quality requirements. Suppliers can often change annually with large manufacturers and therefore do not offer uniform quality standards. In the organic garden soil test, however, we were able to find positive trends towards good manufacturers and pass them on.
Organic is not always peat-free
Contrary to what many think, organic soil may contain peat. The peat content is not clearly regulated. Because peat makes gardening easy: it can store water excellently, is light and contains no unwanted plant seeds. But: in order to extract peat, substrate manufacturers have to drain and mine peatlands. Peatlands are the habitat of many specialized plants and animals and store more carbon than forests. For the sake of the moors, many soil plants now offer peat-free soil. But beware: not all peat-free soil is automatically organic.
Organic gardening without peat
Gardening with peat-free substrate requires a little observation and some skill. This is because peat-free soil differs from peaty soil in structure and water-holding capacity. Above all, amateur gardeners need to be vigilant when it comes to nutrition. This is because, unlike peaty soil with a precisely defined nutrient content, compost does not release nutrients in an exactly predictable way. A deficiency or excess of nutrients should be recognized and remedied as early as possible.
Bark humus instead of peat
Peat-free soil usually consists of a mixture of organic substances. The basis is bark humus and compost, enriched – depending on the manufacturer – with wood and coconut fibers, expanded clay sand, pumice and quartz sand.
Bark humus stores nutrients and water. Compost is nutrient-rich and good for soil structure. Some compost producers have their products tested by the Bundesgütegemeinschaft Kompost e.V. (BGK). This tests the compost for heavy metal content, degree of contamination with foreign substances and plant compatibility. If the compost passes the test, it receives the RAL seal of quality.
Wood fibers ensure good soil aeration, store water and improve soil structure. Coconut fibers as water reservoirs do not have a good ecological balance, as they have a long transport route to Central Europe. Alternatively, clay beads store water excellently. They also bind nutrients and thus protect them from being washed out.