July 6, 2017

Soil holds key to healthy gardens, yard

BATAVIA, Ohio (July 6, 2017) — Do you have problems getting things to grow well in your yard or garden beds? Is your vegetable garden not producing as much as you like?  The answer may lie in your soil.

There are many reasons why your soil may not support healthy, productive plants, according to the Clermont County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the OSU Extension Office. The amount of sunlight, soil moisture, organic matter and nutrients all play important roles in plant growth. “While you may not be able to control the amount of sunlight or rain, you can take steps to improve the soil. The first and best step is to test your soil,” said Gigi Neal, agriculture and natural resources educator for OSU Extension.

Soil tests are important because healthy plants need certain levels of soil nutrients to thrive. A soil test will determine what is in the soil, and will recommend how much more of a certain nutrient is needed, if any.

“This takes the guesswork out of applying the correct amount of fertilizer, and by avoiding unnecessary applications, you can save you money in the long run,” Neal said.  “Just as important, you can help improve the quality of Clermont County streams and lakes by applying only the amount of fertilizer needed.  Extra nutrients not used by plants can wash into nearby streams or lakes where they contribute to environmental problems such as algal blooms.”

Soil samples are very easy to collect. To learn how, you can view a short video from the Extension office, posted at www.clermontswcd.org/educational-materials/.  Soil samples can be brought to the Extension office at the Clermont County Fairgrounds for processing. Residents will receive results in approximately 7-10 days.  The 2017 cost is $15 per sample.  For more information, please call 513.732.7070.