Introducing Air into the Soil of Deep Raised Beds

deep_roots(5a IN)February 7, 2007

Plant root development often is more productive in the upper 2 feet of soil, although the root may extend 6 feet deep with the tap root and side roots. It has been shown that the amount of plant growth above the soil is related to the amount of roots beneath the soil. I think more root growth can be achieved by controlling the nutrients, moisture, and air exchange in the lower depths of the root growth.

To test this, I am looking for anyone who has heard of introducing oxygen or atmospheric air into soil. I have thought about creating a series of PVC pipes running vertically and horizontally through the soil through which I can introduce air or fertigation. I would then compare the test area by planting similar plants into the test bed and a separate control bed for the sake of comparative observations. A deeper rooting plant like giant cabbage or indeterminate tomatoes would be used.

Feel free to provide your input regarding how realistic this sounds or what ideas you might have to help me test this concept.

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maineman(z5a ME)

DR,

I have heard of people introducing air into compost piles using PVC pipes. But I think it would be a lot of work burying PVC pipes deep in the soil, unless you did it as you suggest in the early phase of building a deep raised bed.

I'm not a fan of hydroponics because it involves a lot of equipment, but I have to admit that it would be easy to introduce extra air or oxygen in a hydroponics setup. You could even introduce a little hydrogen peroxide into the hydroponics solution to boost the oxygen content.

But your idea sounds like an interesting experiment. You could set up the PVC network in the empty bed and add the soil to it as you constructed the deep raised bed. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it worked. You might even use some kind of blower to get better air circulation in the PVC pipes. Who knows? You might get some incredible plant growth.

MM

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 12:51AM
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