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Serving Columbiana County’s natural resource and agriculture needs

Healthy Garden Soils

Healthy soils are vital for food production and balanced ecosystems. Soils are
made up of plant roots, fungi, animals, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Organisms in soil interact with nutrients, sediments, and the climate to produce the conditions we experience when planting crops or harvesting from our gardens. There are several methods to protect soil health:

Utilize cover crops

Conduct soil tests

Eliminate tillage

Utilize buffer strips and riparian buffers

Columbiana SWCD provides low-cost soil tests for farmers and landowners in Columbiana County. The district will also provide guidance on cover crop usage, buffer placement, and Natural Resource
Conservation Service (NRCS) cost-share programs.

Why is soil health important?

Soils are complex ecosystems that involve plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms. Their interactions with each other and with climate, topography, and human actions impact how they function. When we talk about gardening, we want our soils to be rich with nutrients, organic matter, and beneficial organisms. All of these elements will give us better yields!

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Soil health also impacts watershed health. Erosion, herbicide and pesticide runoff, and other debris
from poorly managed soils will negatively impact drinking water, aquatic life, and overall watershed

Tips for healthy soils

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Soil Testing

Soil testing will let you know
what your plants actually

Apply Mulch

Mulching with straw, cardboard, or woodchips will trap moisture in your soil, prevent erosion, suppress weeds, and slowly add nutrients to your soil.

Image by Faith Crabtree
Food Waste Compost

Add Compost

Kitchen scraps + yard waste = free compost!

Companion Plant

Plant beneficial plants together to increase
pest resistance, save space, and get better

Image by Markus Spiske
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Reduce fertilizer &
pesticide use

Runoff from chemical applications flows into
our streams and damages aquatic life.


Use only what you need and implement
organic methods when possible!

Download our Healthy Soil Brochure here:

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