Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little water. Before watering, check your garden's soil moisture with your finger. Push it into the ground around your plants. You want the top 2 or 3 inches of the soil to be dry, and the soil below that to be moist.
“If soil is left too wet for too long, it can cause root rot,” Marino says. “That's what we call over watering. On the other hand, if your plant's soil is consistently too dry you're likely under watering. Letting your soil dry out before watering is key for plants to receive the perfect balance of water and oxygen.”
In most cases, the soil should be damp to the root zone, 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm.). However, sandy soil drains quickly and should be watered when the soil is dry to a depth of 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm.). Remember that the need for water also varies widely depending on the plant.
If your potting soil has been sitting in your shed since last year in an opened bag and it's gotten wet, toss it. If it somehow stayed bone dry, it should be OK to use.
The soil in your garden should take about a week to dry out after normal watering. If the soil is still wet for more than a week, without outside contributing factors like rain or flooding, there might be a waterlogging or drainage problem.
You should always check the state of your soil before tilling. Avoid tilling in wet soil as soil compaction can occur and lead to poor root penetration in the growing season. If it rains, it's best to wait a few days to allow soil to become semi-dry.
You can do the ball test to see if the time is right. Dig some soil and form a tight little ball in your hands. Press your fingers into it. If it stays together it's too wet.
How Long Can You Store Potting Soil? Opened bags of new potting soil can retain quality for around 6 to 12 months. For unopened and unused potting soil, you can store it for about a year or two before it goes bad.
"For most plants, especially carnivorous ones, moldy soil can take nutrients from the plant and end up being toxic to its growth," Brown says. A heavily infected plant is more susceptible to diseases and other stressors and in some severe cases, moldy soil can lead to the death of a plant.
Set the pot in a shallow container of water, allowing the soil to absorb the water slowly. It may take an hour or more to thoroughly re-wet the soil. Be careful not to leave pots soaking in standing water for more than a couple of hours.
Most plants don't do well in soggy soil and excessive moisture results in rot and other deadly diseases. Although very few plants grow in wet areas, you can learn which plants like wet feet. Some moisture loving plants thrive in standing water and others tolerate soggy, poorly drained areas of your garden.
When a plant is first becoming overwatered, leaves turn yellow. If soil doesn't have a chance to dry out before you water again, leaves start to wilt. When overwatering is the problem, wilted leaves are soft and limp. (If too little water is the issue, wilted leaves are dry and crispy.)
It is important to note that the majority of flowers, trees, and shrubs require moisture levels between 21% - 40%, while all vegetables require soil moisture between 41% and 80%. NOTE: All vegetables require soil moisture between 41% - 80%.
Like sulphur, cinnamon is a natural fungicide that helps most plants root, while inhibiting the spores that cause rot in stem cuttings. Dip prepared plant stems in cinnamon and push them into the soil. It's an effective rooting hormone that's easy to use and inexpensive.
Cinnamon contains a natural and very effective fungicide which will kill any remaining Fungus. Be sure to allow the top soil to properly dry out before watering again, and preferably only water from below eg. directly to the reservoir of a self watering planter.
So, in summary, those little white balls are called perlite, volcanic glass heated to more than 870 degrees with an ultra-low density. In horticulture, the purpose of perlite is to support soil drainage and improve aeration.
Soil can become depleted and hard over time, holding less water and nutrients. But how often you change soil in potted plants depends on the plant. Faster growing houseplants may need annual repotting, while slower growers may be able to wait 1.5 to 2 years.
Plants typically benefit from being repotted every 12 to 18 months, depending on how actively they are growing. Some slow growers, like cacti, can call the same pot home for years, but will just require a soil replenishment.
Signs of healthy soil include plenty of underground animal and plant activity, such as earthworms and fungi. Soil that is rich in organic matter tends to be darker and crumbles off of the roots of plants you pull up. A healthy, spread-out root system is also a sign of good soil.
Signs of root rot are slow growth, mushy stems, and wilting, yellow, distorted leaves (especially when the plant has been well watered, as wilting leaves can also be a sign of a dry plant).
Mulch, mulch, and mulch some more!
Cover your soil with a blanket of organic material such as straw, leaves, shredded paper or cardboard, or bark. This will moderate soil temperature, prevent runoff and evaporation, and hold moisture in the for longer periods between waterings.
If you walk across your lawn and the ground feels spongy and has a lot of give in it, you are likely overwatering. Watering less often and allowing the soil to dry out before watering again actually encourages grass roots to grow deeper to find moisture.
Waterlogged soils exclude oxygen from the roots thus causing decline of the plants. What happens is the roots die off leaving the plant unable to uptake the needed moisture and nutrients for proper plant growth.
If you just stop tilling, the soil will be hard and it will take many years for it to recover. Eventually, nature will cover the soil on its own if you just leave it alone. However, since we are talking about gardening, a no-till garden needs to be covered.