Most gardeners are unaware of the benefits of Silt soil for plants in container gardening. Soil that has had time to settle and fill in will benefit your plants by providing a rich organic base for the roots to build their roots. A deep layer of organic matter is what makes this the perfect medium for plant life to grow on. And it also makes for an easy to maintain and weed-free garden.
Effect of Silt Soil on Plants
Soil that has not had time to percolate will become silt over time and begin blocking your plants roots from absorbing all the nutrients they need. Weeds can also take hold of this nutrient rich damp soil, turning them into what some would call a bio-drainage system. What happens is the silt that has built up is mixed with water, causing it to drain quickly. This can cause the roots to stretch out, sometimes causing the plant to wilt. In the worst case scenario, this can result in root rot and complete failure of the plant.
Presence of Silt In Container Gardening
There is some controversy as to how much silt should be present in any container gardening system. Many experts believe that the best way to ensure that your soil has ample amounts of silt is to add it the very first time you plow your garden. Adding the silt at the time of planting will help the silt to mix in with the soil, and help your plants as well.
The Need for Proper Silt Content
No matter what method of container gardening you choose to do, there is one very important rule to follow for proper silt content. It’s all to do with the moisture level in the soil. If the soil is too dry, the Silt cannot percolate properly through it, and nutrients will not reach the roots. On the other hand, if the soil is too moist, the Silt will simply seep through the surface of the soil and remain available for use by other plants.
Watering the Soil Deeply
It is very important to water the soil deeply, no matter what type of garden you are working with. Excess watering or over-watering will result in a lot of silt in your soil, as well as poor root growth. This means that the plant will have a hard time developing strong roots, and it will be susceptible to diseases as well. Water deeply, and always add more than you think you need, if needed.
Benefits of Silt in Soil
Some plants will actually benefit from the presence of silt in the soil. For example, certain types of algae, known as diatoms, will flourish in high-silt conditions. Other plants, such as crocus, may also be successful in growing in silt enriched soil. However, not all plants will be able to handle the additional load of extra silt in their soils. If you are not able to control the amount of silt in the soil for your garden, then you may want to consider using fertilizer specifically designed for the purpose.
Relationship of Silt Soil with Fungi
Another problem you may encounter when using this type of soil is that some species of fungi can be very effective at growing in silt, due to the damp conditions it provides. If you are not careful, these fungi may even begin to produce their own food, turning your soil into a veritable fungus farm! Fungi are particularly aggressive when there is a large amount of silt present in the soil. So if you plan on container gardening, it is best to either remove existing silt from the area before planting, or to add some new silt immediately after you have finished the garden. Remember, any food that the soil contains that is consumed by your plants, will eventually end up in the leaves and stalks of your plants.
Excess Silt can Cause Undesirable Conditions
While excess silt is very undesirable for container gardening, you should also be aware that the presence of too much salt or other soil-borne additives can be harmful to your plants. Excessive sodium or potassium nitrates in particular can cause irreversible damage to the roots of your plants, as well as to the root systems of your soil. Always be sure to read the instructions on any fertilizers you plan to use, as they will specify exactly how much, how often, and how deep to dig as well as what temperature and moisture conditions you should maintain.