Let’s face it! Building a new garden is not a difficult thing to do! In fact, all you need is to make sure that you have a shovel or a garden tiller and then you can start digging up dirt and putting a few plants! However, the success of your garden requires a solid foundation.
This means that in order to have a beautiful garden, you should keep your soil healthy. Still, it’s good to note that a nutrient dense soil takes time and effort and here are the top 10 tips that should help you make your garden soil the best it can be!
#1 – Add Mulch
Mulch has many benefits and can help improve the quality of your garden soil. Therefore, adding it to your garden soil is a wise and a smart practice. In fact, Mulch can help your soil retain moisture, discourages weeds, and prevents compaction.
Moreover, the good thing about this material is that it breaks down in the long run benefiting your soil with important nutrients. So, whether, you choose to mulch with leaves, wood chips, or any other organic material, you cannot go wrong as the effort will make your garden healthy throughout the growing season.
#2 – Plant Some Cover Crops
Cover crops can help you grow a better and healthier garden soil. Hence, don’t hesitate to plant them in your garden when the peak growing season ends in late summer.
The reason why you really need to plant Cover crops such as annual ryegrass, buckwheat, legumes and alfalfa in your garden is that when they grow throughout the winter and fall season, they provide your soil with many important nutrients that work on reducing soil compaction and improving drainage.
Make sure you mow them before they reach the seeds and then turn your garden soil over before planting again.
#3 – Compost
There is a reason why all gardeners swear by composting. The latter organic material is considered to be a boon for the soil’s health and quality. To develop your own composting program, you should very simply collect your kitchen and yard waste, put it in an enclosed container, and then turn it regularly.
keep it in that container for a period of 6 months to 1 year and then start to gradually add it to your soil as you plant. For an extra boost of nutrients, don’t hesitate to use compost to top dress plants.
#4 – Add Some Organic Materials
Any organic material you add to your garden soil whether it is compost, fish emulsion, manure, or bone meal is actually a healthy addition that will enrich your soil and make it a fertile base for all your landscaping flowers, vegetables, and plants.
#5 – Avoid Landscaping Fabric
Normally, landscaping fabrics are mostly used to prevent weeds, but what the majority of people ignore is that landscaping fabric can lead to soil compaction. In addition, the use of the landscaping fabric can make beneficial critters leave your garden.
To avoid this, you can use newspaper to control weeds instead of landscaping fabric. You can also use the permeable biodegradable material as the latter will eventually decompose and add many healthy nutrients to the soil.
#6 – Improve Ventilation
It is important that your soil has proper ventilation. Otherwise, your compacted garden soil will prevent the root growth and deprive them of oxygen.
However, to avoid the compaction of the soil, you need to stir your soil at least once a year before planting using a fork or tiller. By doing this, you will be indirectly improving water drainage around the roots of your plants.
#7 – Avoid Walking On Soil
Yes, you read it right! Walking on soil with heavy footsteps can lead to soil compaction. Therefore, you should make sure you create a walking path through your beds. This will not only protect the soil around plants from compaction but will also ensure a proper root growth and water flow.
#8 – Avoid Broad-Spectrum Pesticides
We fully understand that grubs and insects can take a toll on your garden, but fighting them using broad-spectrum pesticides is definitely not the best choice to make!
It’s is important that you know that pesticides won’t only kill the grubs and insects but will also kill everything around including the good guys, including, ladybugs and worms, which have a great role in protecting the soil and maintaining its balance.
#9 – Add The Right Amendments
What you should understand is that different types of soil need different amendments. For instance, the amendments you need to use when you have an alkaline soil are not the same as the ones you’re going to use in case of an acidic soil.
In the former case, you need to add an amendment like peat moss in order to lower the pH while you should use an alkaline element like lime in the latter case in order to raise the pH.
Hence, in order to help your plants thrive, it is very important that you understand what amendments you need to add to your soil and how they will affect it.
#10 – Test The Soil
You cannot improve your soil and make it better and healthier if you don’t test it. You need to collect as much information as possible about your soil’s organic makeup so that you can choose the right practice or method to improve it.
Hence, don’t hesitate to purchase a soil testing kit. The latter is very affordable, easy to use, and can be found at most home improvement stores.