Thailand is a hot country. In the Summer months, temperatures can reach to over 40 Celsius. To ensure the health of your Thai garden, you need to take into account Thailand’s climate, and it’s effect on your plants, grass and soil.
(Pic above: Decaying leaves and plant life will provide nutrients to this Thai garden, but the stones will take up vital nutrient space).
The success of any Thai garden depends on the successful growth of it’s plants, and so you need to make sure your garden soil is healthy and has the right characteristics to promote good growth.
Soil itself is a living medium, providing all that is needed for organisms to prosper in it’s constituent parts, solids, liquids (water) and gas (oxygen, carbon dioxide etc). What you need to look out for in unhealthy Thai soil is the presence of lots of stones and rock material, which have little to contribute to the health of a garden and in effect only act to displace useful particles in soil. Sand is another one. Its texture allows for large spaces between the grains, but it’s small surface area can hold a limited amount of nutrient. Sandy soil is therefore quick to drain but likely to be of bad quality, as nutrients are often washed away.
(Pic above: This Thai garden has been left unattended for long periods, leaving it cracked and barren of vegetation).
Clay is formed from the smallest particles in the soil, and because of its size, allows the particles to lock together tightly, blocking the effective passage of water and air. Although the large surface area can hold rich reserves of nutrients, root growth may be inhibited, meaning these nutrients are unavailable.
The ideal Thai soil is considered to be approximately 50 percent sand, with the rest as equal proportions of silt (a mid-way between sand and clay, in terms of water holding characteristics and surface area nutrient) and clay, and with around 5-10 percent consisting of organic material (broken down leaves, rocks, decaying plants etc). This base provides a well drained, balanced soil, good for growth.
In a later post, we will look at best methods for improving the soil throughout your Thai landscape and garden.