Your soil is the foundation of your garden. It is the medium to which your grass/shrubs/trees or vegetables anchor to and which provides your plants with the nutrients and support for them to survive and thrive for many years. Getting your soil right is therefore a crucial step in your gardening program.
Generally soils should be well drained with a good blend of silt, clay, sand and organic matter. Organic matter is a crucial component of a heathy and robust soil. A soil with adequate organic matter will appear dark in colour and have an earthy moist smell. A soil that needs attention will generally be light in colour and not be very friable when you dig into it. Either blocky or hard to break apart (high clay content) or very loose with no structure and runs through yours fingers (very sandy). Whilst both characteristics have their benefits as an all-round soil they have limitations.
Unfortunately we don’t all live on river flats where some of the best gardening soils can be found. ANL does however have a great range of simple to use soil conditioners that can make any soil grow healthy plants and vegetables. As not all plants need the same soil conditions you may need to treat different areas of your yard with different soil conditioners to provide the optimal growing medium for your plants.
There are a number of questions that need to be asked in order to determine the correct soil mix to use in your garden. These include;
- Are you planting native trees and shrubs or exotic trees and shrubs?
- Is it for a vegetable garden or are you planting particular feature plants such as azaleas or camellias? Different plants have different requirements to be able to grow happily and healthily. Therefore to get the best results for your plant in terms of growth and performance it is important to stop and think a little about what you want to do in your garden before purchasing your soil.
Phosphorus can be toxic to some native species especially those in the family Proteaceae which include Grevilleas, Proteas and Waratahs. So it is very important to prepare a garden that will be growing these plants with a Native Mix low P. This product is specifically blended to contain very little phosphorus and have great drainage to give you the best possible growth. For non-sensitive natives such as Lillypilly and native grass like Lomandra you can choose from the various ANL garden mixes that are suitable to use and they can be treated just like an exotic plant. Something else to consider when planting out these native species is what mulch to use also. The most popular mulch to use with a native garden with a natural look are products such as Eucy Mulch, Forest fines or Forest Blend. Or you may like to use a colour mulch or a pebble mulch to suit your style and garden design.
A general purpose garden mix is fine for most exotic species. This includes mixes such as our Organic Garden mix, Premium garden mixor Greenlife garden mix. These mixes have been specially blended using ingredients such as compost, soil and sands to provide optimum growth to your plants. They are designed to be able to plant straight into so there is no need to mix through existing soil before planting. Just remember to provide your plants with a balanced fertiliser throughout the growing season to keep your plants thriving and healthy.
We want our vegetable crops to grow fast, provide us with nutrients when we eat them and be healthy and strong to resist insect and disease attack. Therefore, we need to supply them with a complete nutrient packed soil mix which is going to give them these conditions. Using an ANL Complete Vegetable and Seedling mix you will be giving your vegetables all this and more. This mix is made up of a special blend of Greenlife soil, cow manure, coarse sand and dolomite and is a power packed soil ready to give your vegetables that kick along that they need.
Some vegetables have a high requirement for nitrogen. With leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, rocket, cabbages etc. it is recommended that you use a liquid feed with a high nitrogen content. For fruiting crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and pumpkins it is recommended that you look for a fertilizer with high potassium which promotes flower and fruit development.
Azaleas and camelias
Azaleas and Camelia’s along with a number of other species are a group of plants that thrive in a slightly acid soil. Given these conditions your plants will thrive and give you great growth and more consistent and vibrant blooms. Therefore, they require a different soil mix to most other plants to be able to do their best. These conditions can be helped in an existing garden with the addition of peat moss or by altering the pH in your soil with the addition of products such as Sulphur, Iron Sulphate or Aluminium Sulphate. However, it is recommended that before altering any soil a pH test be carried out on the soil. ANL’s Premium Garden Mix or acid lovers mix are both perfect additions to your garden if you choose to grow azaleas and camellias. These mixes are blends of soil, coarse sand, graded ash, coco peat and composted organics designed again for optimal growth of your plants.
For further information on specific plant types and what soil to choose in your garden it is recommended that you speak to our friendly staff for more specific information.
Don’t forget that your plants require a regular fertilising plan to provide them with the food that they need to grow and watering in new plants with Neptune seaweed concentrate will help to reduce transplant shock and promote strong and healthy root growth.