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Minimise Nutrient Runoff

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Nurture your soil

Know your Soil and Obtain a Soil Test

Obtaining a comprehensive soil test is a thorough way to accurately assess which, if any, nutrients are deficient in your soil. Soil laboratories can undertake these tests and provide a clear, simple written report of recommended nutrient adjustments. Ideally, this test should be conducted annually. Ecogrowth (www.ecogrowth.com.au) is a Perth based company who can provide these soil tests.

Nutrient deficiencies are often the result of pH problems (either too acidic or too alkaline) rather than insufficient fertiliser. The ideal pH for most garden plants is around 6.5-7. You can easily test the pH of your soil by purchasing a powder or liquid self test kit or using an electronic pH meter. If you do need to amend the pH of your soil either by adding lime to raise pH, or sulphur based compounds to lower it, just remember that it is a slow process. In all cases applying organic matter to the soil assists in bringing both acidic and alkaline soils back towards neutral whilst also improving the texture and vitality of the soil.

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Improve your Soil and Use Soil Conditioners

Geographe Bay soils are predominately sandy soils with low nutrient content so will benefit from soil conditioners to help increase their microbial activity and fertility as well as the soil’s moisture and nutrient retention capacity.

There is a variety of soil conditioners available including:

  • Compost is easily produced in your own backyard using food and garden waste products
  • Clay (bentonite) increases the water and nutrient holding capacity of sandy soils
  • Soil Wetting Agents act like a detergent to break down the waxy coating on hydrophobic soil particles to allow water to penetrate the soil profile
  • Mineral Soil Amendments (spongolite, zeolite) are an alternative to clay and are naturally occurring materials that have the ability to hold nutrients and prevent leaching
  • Water Storing Granules are manufactured polymers which swell up as they absorb large quantities of water

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