04 Jun Soil Structure for a Healthy Garden
Healthy gardens start with healthy soil. At Kellogg, we talk a lot about the importance of healthy soil in the organic garden, and one of the components of healthy soil is good soil structure. But what is soil structure? Is it the same as soil texture? How can we make sure our soil structure is good?
Q: Is soil structure the same as soil texture?
A: No. Soil texture is the look and feel of your soil, and is determined by the size and shape of the particles that make up your soil. Sounds very scientific, but it boils down to sand, silt, and clay. Sandy soils feel gritty and allow water to run through very quickly. Silty soils feel like flour when they are dry and a little on the greasy side when they are wet. Clay soils always feel greasy, and tend to trap water without allowing it to drain. It’s very difficult to change the soil texture significantly, but altering your garden practices can change soil structure for the better.
Q: So then what is soil structure?
A: Soil structure refers to the way soil particles (sand, silt, and clay) are arranged. Soil with good structure has a wide range of empty space between the particles, allowing air, water, roots, and other organisms to move around with ease. If you look underneath a piece of sod, you’ll see lots of things — roots, clumps of soil, crumbly parts, and other decaying matter — that are evidence of good soil structure.
Q: How can I create good soil structure?
A: Avoid over-tilling your soil, regularly add organic soil amendments into your existing soil, and consider using cover crops in your vegetable garden. Refrain from driving over your soil or consistently using heavy equipment, as the sheer weight of them causes soil compaction, negatively changing the soil structure.
Q: How do Kellogg products help create good soil structure?
A: At Kellogg, we use wood fines in our products. Even though the wood particles are small, they are large enough to create pockets between soil particles, allowing for all sorts of good things to happen. Water and air get where they need to go, giving plants’ roots access to everything they need to thrive. It’s important to mix organic soil amendments in with your existing soil, because this combination is what creates the soil structure your plants need.
Q: My Kellogg Garden Organics All Natural Garden Soil looks like mulch – is this normal or is there something wrong?
A: This is totally normal! If you are used to using conventional peat-based bagged mixes, you might be surprised when you open your bag of All Natural Garden Soil. But we promise you that it will be a pleasant surprise — because we add wood fines (small wood particles) into our garden soil, our products help you create that great soil structure that is so important to plant health. It looks different, but it works!