For as long as humanity could remember, soil has been the medium for agriculture, gardening or for any plant-related activities. This was before the technological revolution, but how can we still say that soil is the most ideal medium for plant growth?
So here's a summary of factors that makes it challenging for plant growth using soil for growing plants:
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1) Water Drainage
The soil is exposed to many sediments and particles as it is exposed in the open. You might have a good quality of soil used for the initial stages of planting, which have the ideal water drainage system within the soil. However, over time, with the accumulation of sand and clay particles carried by wind, the water drainage system is affected. Poor water drainage system may result in:
- Your plants wilting
- Slow growth
- Unhealthy plants (Leaves turn yellow and fall)
- Soil is constantly damp
- As a result, roots become spongy and rot
Water drainage within the soil is difficult to remedy and takes time to fix, which eventually lead to the same problem as mentioned above again.
2) pH Levels
This is probably one of the toughest factors to control since your soil is exposed to the elements of the outdoors almost every single day. Areas with massive air pollutions tend to have acidic rain and areas with dry environment will naturally result in an alkaline soil. Therefore, the pH levels of the soil must be tended to frequently, which is definitely a hassle and not easy for beginners to start planting.
You still have to incur additional costs on top of your hobby (planting) to get the recommended pH agents to maintain the pH of your soil.
3) Organic Matter
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Who likes to incur costs and purchase soil time and time again? Overtime, when we reuse the soil that we initially used to grow other plants, the "life" of the soil is depleted. The lack of soil life, poor water drainage, and failing crops are symptoms that you must quickly identify with an overall lack of organic matter. You will have to quickly find composts to remedy this situation or else your plants will wilt, which is not something you desire after putting all that sweat and time into growing those beautiful plants of yours.
Good horticulture soil contains ideally 50% solid material and 50% pore space. Most soils are dominated by mineral particles while others, organic matter. In order to achieve the ideal conditions for optimal plant growth, it requires lots of monitoring and experimentations to ensure this equilibrium between the minerals and materials within the soil. Beginners will definitely find this a challenge! A healthy soil does not come overnight and is only possible when lots of commitment and time is invested into ensuring the ideal conditions for plant growth.
After considering these multitudes of factors, is soil actually still the best way for planting? Or with technological advances, there are more innovative and effective ways of planting? Everyone wants a green space in their residences because it is known for its health effects and you do not want to commit so much of your time to maintain the green space, so how do you own a piece of nature then?