One of the most vital things in gardening is taking care of the soil. Healthy soil is key to growing some strong and vigorous plants that can fight off pests and diseases and produce plentifully. It is best to remember that enhancing your soil is a continuing process, whether you are starting with quality fresh soil or using native topsoil.
It is essential to know that soil is made up of many parts. This includes microorganisms, organic matter, water, and mineral particles. The balance of these parts needs to be improved and maintained for you to have a healthy garden. Furthermore, just like all living things, your garden soil needs to be fed in order to give a nourishing environment to grow your plants and vegetables.
Improving Your Garden Soil
As mentioned, sustaining a great garden soil is a continuing process. It is vital to be devoted to your garden works in order to have a beautiful and flourishing garden.
Below are tips you can consider when it comes to keeping healthy garden soil:
Consider Adding Organic Matter
Organic matter is one of the most vital ingredients for boosting any soil. It can make any heavy clay soil not so sticky or hard, drain better, and easier to dig. Moreover, it can also help sandy soil clump together better and retain more nutrients and moisture.
The organic matter you incorporate into your soil is anything that came from the earth that you can give back to the earth in its composted or decomposed state. Examples of organic matter you can find outside are rotted manure, shredded leaves, plant debris, worm casting, ground-up trees, limbs, and bark. On the other hand, you can also consider organic matter you can find inside your house, including paper towel rolls, shredded paper, plant-based food scraps, and coffee grounds.
You can easily add the items mentioned above directly to your soil. However, it is best to store them somewhere on your property and allow them to decompose first. Once that is done, you can incorporate it into your garden soil.
If you find this difficult, you can buy some quality soil and garden mixes. These are already packed with organic matter and are already mixed according to your preference. To know more, you can click here.
Till With Worms
Instead of breaking your back double digging or breaking out the rototiller, you can choose to let the worm do your tilling by using the sheet mulching technique. This process builds compost right on the soil surface.
For new gardens, it is recommended to add a bottom layer of cardboard to eliminate the existing vegetation then alternate about two or four-inch thick brown and green compost layers. Doing so invites the worms to burrow through the soil as they start transporting their food. In this process, the worms improve your soil structure while depositing some worm manure castings full of nutrients.
It is essential to know that sheet mulching will require your planning. If you have a new garden, it is ideal to start sheet mulches a year before you decide to pant. It is recommended to start a few months before planting for existing gardens.
Sheet mulching helps build new garden soil from the ground up. It can also smother weeds, maximize nutrients, and keep soil life undisturbed and intact.
Test For Success
Soil tests will always come in handy. It is an indispensable garden tool. It is recommended to take one when you are still starting a new garden, or you feel like the state of your garden health is declining.
Your garden and soil health will suffer if an essential nutrient is missing. Consider taking nutrient tests in the early fall or late summer for best results. Submit the test to a certified laboratory to add the perfect balance of lime materials and fertilizers.
A living soil will continue to recycle and sustain most other mineral nutrients. However, nitrogen tends to have a short supply, even after maintaining years of soil building. It is vital to know that nitrogen feeds soil plants and soil organisms. Because of this, your garden’s growth and long-term soil health depend a lot on nitrogen.
Before you start planting yearly, make sure that you have a sufficient nitrogen supply by counting all the sources you have added to your soil. Organic fertilizers like seed or feather meal are excellent sources of concentrated nitrogen. Green grass clippings or manures incorporated as amendments can also provide your soil some nitrogen. On the other hand, compost cannot supply you with enough garden nitrogen.
To Sum It Up
It is vital to keep in mind that soil is alive. It requires water, food, air, and shelter to keep healthy. Furthermore, it is critical to improve and maintain excellent garden soil to keep healthy plants and vegetables in your garden.