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Soil and gardening

Themes: Introduction | Garden soils | Matching plants and soils | Quiz

Until the last century, most people grew many of their vegetables and fruit in their gardens. Food is so important that farms and especially gardens are where humans have made the greatest efforts to alter the natural soil to try to grow better crops. By comparison there has been very little interference by man in changing the soil for plants in natural and semi-natural habitats, and almost none in the large forested areas of the world.

A spring tulip Most gardeners inherit the soils on which they garden when they buy their house and usually they are less concerned with the soil than with the suitability of the house itself. It would be wonderful if all gardeners had perfect soil but this is rarely the case and it becomes part of the challenge of gardening to 'change' the soil to grow the flowers and vegetables you want.

There are several different aspects of the soil which a keen gardener will consider. These include the soil type including its acidity or alkalinity, how dry or moist the soil is, its texture and workability, how much organic matter there is in the soil, and its depth and structure.

Themes: Introduction | Garden soils | Matching plants and soils | Quiz