You can set your garden up for success by making sure that your soil is properly prepared before you plant. Whether you’re a gardening veteran or planting some things for the very first time, you might learn a few things by checking out this list of tips.
First, Test Your Soil
If you’re really serious about your garden, it’s a good idea to have your soil tested before you get started. Every area is different, and the complex mixture of minerals and nutrients that make plants grow their best means it can be hard to know where to start. By having your soil tested, you’ll know what plants are likely to grow best right now, and you’ll also know what steps you need to take to make your crops of choice thrive. You can pick up a DIY soil test kit at many gardening shops.
Next, Know Your Type
Is your soil mainly clay, silt, or sand? Or a mixture of all three? The soil type will determine how well it drains or holds moisture. Plants whose roots require a lot of ventilation won’t do well in climates with heavy clay soil, while sandy soil may be lacking some key nutrients. If your soil isn’t ideal, you can supplement with soil from other areas to make sure your plants have everything they need to grow.
Finally, Get to Work
No matter your soil type, you can do some work to set your plants up nicely. First, you should aerate the soil by going over it with a garden rake. This breaks up any clumps and raises the key levels of soil oxygen. Next, add an organic fertilizer to the soil. This can be from your personal compost pile (which is best!), or you can purchase a fertilizer at any gardening store. If you’re buying a fertilizer, pay attention to which nutrients the product advertises. Not all fertilizers are created equal, and some areas may require certain nutrients that others don’t. You should know what your soil needs thanks to your soil test. Finally, consider adding some mulch to protect the soil from losing too much moisture. Organic mulch needs to be replaced every year, and it’s also more likely to attract insects, so many gardeners opt for a non-organic variety.
Once you’ve finished your preparations, allow the soil to sit for a few days before you add plants, so that all of your hard work has time to take hold. You should monitor your plants over the season and see what grows well and what struggles to take root. This will help you to know what you need to work on next year, or whether you may want to try switching to a different crop. Happy gardening!