Healthy soil is the key ingredient for growing an awesome garden. It doesn’t matter what you plan to grow, if the soil hasn’t been amended it will not produce to it’s full potential.
So how is this done? That’s a great question because so many gardeners have such different techniques it can be difficult to choose what’s best for your space.
My rule is to go natural because when you provide the right nutrients for your garden you nurture future results. Almost any plant you choose to grow will do great with good soil conditions and proper planting.
Create Healthy Soil
- For light planting loosen the soil at least 10 -12 inches deep throughout each bed.
- You can also use a tiller to lighten the work load if you have a larger planting space.
- For deep planting loosen the soil at least 3-4 feet deep, a tiller and shovel is recommended.
- Depending on your soil type you’ll need to add additional ingredients to smooth things out.
- Always add compost and sometimes sand if you experience thick levels of clay.
- If heavy sand is present then seek clay to level the growing field.
Direct Compost Method
Caring for your soil is an ongoing process that never ends. My favorite tip in conjunction with natural animal fertilizer and debris is the Direct Compost method. I was introduced to this when I was a kid and continue to use this year round instead of a compost bin.
You simply dig a hole in existing or resting beds and fill it with food waste. Cover it up, the worms arrive and do the rest. It takes about a week for the waste to be cultivated back into the soil; this may vary depending on the time of year.
Direct compost egg shells, coffee or tea grounds, fruit peels and cores, vegetable peelings and I even compost chicken bones because they add calcium to the soil. Make sure to dig them deep because they take longer to decompose.
To learn more about direct compost visit our magazine library in the shop. I have a neat 6 page article on this topic that will be a game changer for your composting needs.
- Always dig a larger hole than the existing plant you’re placing in ground.
- Form a firm mound at the bottom of the hole.
- Before adding the plant, loosen the root system and spread over the mound.
- Fill the hole in the removed soil and water the plant.
- Add a mulch layer after the water has settled.
When you establish healthy soil and plant correctly almost everything comes up a wonderful shade of green. This grass is a living testament to what healthy soil can produce.
Why is it so lush and green? Because our llama used this area as a bathroom, animal fertilizer offers amazing results to what you hope to grow.
Finally we want to remember what Mulch and water can do for our gardens. This can be sometimes overlooked or over done because we confuse weather patterns with the needs of the plants.
When to Water
With new plants water is needed until plants are established, even most drought tolerant plants need water in those early stages.
It can sometimes take 2 or 3 seasons before a new perennial plant is established in their space. Once settled they can get by with little or no water in addition to rainfall.
Setting up a water schedule based on your plant research can be helpful and easy to implement until you get a routine in place.
The main thing to remember about any garden is everything begins with your soil. With a good foundation that you continue to nurture year after year you can grow just about anything as long as it’s suitable for your environment and planting zone.