If you’re trying to cultivate a healthy garden, thinking about the soil is pretty important. It might look like regular old dirt and in some sense it is, but it’s also a complex substance that is teeming with organisms and possibilities. Building good garden soil can be intimidating for even seasoned gardeners, but the truth is that even a beginner can do it. Let’s take a look at how you can prep your garden soil and get the most out of it.
Step 1. Add Organic Matter
Plants are going to take advantage of any organic matter in your soil over time by picking up nutrients in them. You want your garden soil to always have enough nutrients for your plants to thrive, so adding compost or aged manure goes a long way. Usually, 1-3 inches of either will do the trick once every year. Just make sure you time this so that you’re making any additions to your soil in the fall or in spring before you plant.
Step 2. Use Good Mulch
By adding mulch on top of your garden soil, you help keep moisture in, protect all of the microorganisms that live in your soil from the scorching sun, add nutrients into the soil, and depending on what kind of mulch you use, it can save time weeding as well. If your soil is for perennials, shrubs, or flowers, consider using bark mulch or wood chips. Vegetables on the other hand prefer grass clippings, straw, or leaves.
Step 3. Avoid Compacted Soil
Your garden soil should be somewhat porous, which naturally happens thanks to all the tiny creatures that call your garden soil home. This is ideal because it lets water and air get to the roots of your plants. However, stepping on soil (particularly when it’s wet) can compact it down and make your garden much less effective than it otherwise would be. Avoid walking on your garden soil, particularly in the rain, and any other unnecessary soil disturbances that may compact it down.
Improving Soil Structure
Since some people have clay-based soil or sandy soil, they think that adding more of those substances will improve their garden soil. Realistically, that would just turn your garden into a muddy mess. If you want to improve your soil, follow the above steps, add a healthy layer of compost, mulch when you think you need to, and avoid compaction so you can slowly but surely build a quality soil structure.
Why You Should Compost
In nature, nutrients are naturally cycled because plants and leaves fall to the floor, organisms break them down, and then everything returns to the soil. Gardens don’t always get that treatment though, which means taking nutrients out without replacing them. Composting is a solution to this. Keep a compost pile and you’ll be able to take care of your garden much better.
Contact Sposato Landscape
For over 25 years, Sposato Landscaping has been beautifying and nurturing countless landscapes throughout the Delmarva area. We offer many services, including landscape design, installations, residential maintenance, hardscape, commercial maintenance, and turf nutrient management.