Your garden’s soil is the lifeblood of your garden. Wherever you live – whether you have gardened for years or are starting your first garden – your soil can use improvement. Growing plants, chemicals, and soil run-off can ruin the quality of your soil and strip it of nutrients. To combat this difficulty, and keep your garden healthy year after year, it is essential to replace the nutrients removed by each year’s crop.
Building a Natural Base of Nutrients in Your Soil
If you have never conditioned your soil before, or are starting a garden for the first time, there are some essential steps to take to improve the quality of the soil. How much of each ingredient you add will depend on your growing region, but there are general guidelines that you can use to help get you started.
- Break up the soil with a tiller or by hand. This will help mix the new ingredients with your existing soil. Remove any rocks or roots.
- Add manure for nitrogen. A quarter-inch thick layer of manure spread over your garden should provide enough, but if you want a more precise application guide, consult with your local agricultural office.
- Add a quarter-inch layer of organic compost. This can be compost purchased at a store, or you can make your own. Avoid chemicals and synthetically-produced compost. Compost containing fruit and vegetables and leaves is highly effective.
- Add rock powder for mineral deficiencies. If your ground is mineral-deficient, you can use rock powders to restore minerals into the soil. Consult with your local agricultural office to find the right formula for your region.
- Mix these ingredients into the top two feet of soil to create a nutrient-rich base for your garden
Not sure how to make compost? The answers you need are in [sc:composting ].
Nutrients in Garden Soil
Each year, the plants and foods you plant will remove nutrients from the soil. At the end or beginning of each growing season, add another layer of compost or manure to keep the soil full of nutrients. Avoid planting the same vegetables over and over to allow the soil time to recover between crops. A ground cover of creeping plants can prevent top soil run-off.
Building a healthy soil base for your garden is not difficult. With the right additives, you’ll keep your plants healthy and strong with much less effort. Adding the correct ingredients to your soil will not only make your plants stronger, but it will also make your foods taste better too.