Your garden needs good soil to produce beautiful flowers and healthy vegetables. A mineral deficiency can lead to poor soil conditions and thus poor growth. One mineral that is often lacking in garden soils is lime. The following are three reasons why you may need to amend your soil with limestone.
1: Soil pH Correction
Most garden plans, particularly vegetables, grow best in neutral soils. A neutral pH falls in the 5 to 7 pH scale, where it is neither extremely acidic or extremely basic. If the soil is too acidic, which means it falls above a 7 pH, then plants can't absorb nutrients and they die. Overly alkaline soil with a pH below 5 can lead to stunted growth and poor fruiting.
Many soils are too acidic, especially in areas where there are high metal content or past pollution issues. Home gardens are often built on soils that consist of fill materials that were trucked in when the home was built and therefore are less than ideal. Applying ground limestone and incorporating it into the soil will lower the pH into the desirable neutral zone.
2: Improve Soil Biome
Your soil is a biome unto itself, populated by a multitude of microbes and bacteria that aid in healthy plant growth and soil formation. Not only do these microbes prefer a neutral soil pH, but they also need porous soil rich in decomposed organic material.
Limestone aids in the quick decomposition of organic matter, which helps create the nutrient-rich and porous soil the soil biome needs to thrive. Further, the structure of the limestone itself helps break up the soil and provide porosity. An application of lime and compost can lead to an extremely healthy soil biome.
3: Increase Soil Nutrition
Limestone is rich in calcium, a mineral that is necessary for healthy plant growth. Plants suffering from too little calcium may show bud and leaf tip dieback, stunted growth, and poor fruiting. Tomatoes, in particular, are prone to calcium deficiency, and they will develop a condition called blossom end rot on their fruits.
Limestone also prevents the buildup of certain toxic minerals, such as aluminum, that can lead to poor plant growth. An application of limestone before you plant can add the calcium you need while minimizing aluminum buildup.
If you suspect your garden could benefit from a limestone application, perform a soil test. You can then schedule a limestone delivery in the amount you need for better soil.