You dream about a lush green lawn, a wonderful flower garden or a productive vegetable garden, but the puzzle has a missing piece: good soil. Even if chemical fertilizers are a good short term solution, they become harmful in long term. Instead, organic materials are the most appropriate method to improve the structure and the fertility of the soil even if the results are not immediate.
Below you will find some tips about how to improve your garden soil.
- Leave scattered grass on the ground
Don`t be a perfectionist, so let small quantities of scattered grass spread out across the ground. They will decompose and enrich your garden soil in a natural way. Gardeners refer to this method as grasscycling.
Core aerate your lawn by using commercial service or a rental machine. This way, compacted soil is loosen, while water absorption and drainage are significantly improved. Don`t use lawn aerator shoes as they actually compact the soil due to the small size of the spikes.
- Keep the clover
White and red clovers are not weeds, but a beneficial legume. Legumes are the only plants able to capture nitrogen from the air and convert it into a benefit for other plants. Considering this, clovers are actually fertilizing your garden soil. Other legumes you can grow in your garden for nitrogen-fixing benefits are beans, peas and lupin flowers.
Bees are also attracted by clovers, consequently these tiny insects will come more often and pollinate your plants.
For heavily clay soil, the dynamic accumulator plants are the best to improve it.
- Rotate plantings
It is recommended to rotate plantings from year to year so that the vegetable garden soil gets the opportunity to regenerate its depleted nutrients. The explanation is that different plants have different nutritional needs, so they consume specific soil nutrients that must be regain afterwards.
Mulch adds organic material to the garden soil, prevents erosion, excessive evaporation and inhibits weed growth. It is also an option for covering the ground in shady areas, especially under trees and shrubs, where grass doesn`t usually grow.
It is advisable to spread mulch to a depth of 2-4 inches. The area around the base of plants must be left bare or thinly mulched. Straw is great mulch for vegetable gardens and it must be dug under after the harvest so that it can decompose during winter and enrich the soil for spring. Using fresh manure, grass cutting or leaves as mulch can burn plants. Do not use rocks, pebbles, bricks, pavement or other heavy materials because they compact the ground and do not provide organic materials.
- Double digging
Double digging is the best way to get ready a garden bed. Practically, this means that instead of turning the soil over to a depth of one spade, you turn it to a depth of two spades. Aeration and drainage are improved, particularly when combined with the raised bed technique of bed preparation. During the digging process, ad compost, rotted manure, leaf mold or other organic components that can enrich the garden soil.
No-till gardening is another healthy way to prepare beds for plants.
- Use autumn leaves
Spread the autumn leaves as mulch over the garden soil, because it will protect the soil from eroding during winter. In spring, dig these decomposing leaves into your garden bed or use them as mulch.
Do not use black walnut leaves this way because they contain dangerous elements that will poison the soil.
Composting is great for your garden soil. There are compost tumblers that can transform yard and kitchen wastes into good dirt in just a few weeks. When done right, composting doesn`t smell and generates the best dirt for you to dig into your garden. Called humus, final compost aerates clay soils, improves water retention in sandy ones while enhancing soil structure and fertility.
The best materials for composting are horse, cow, goat, sheep and poultry manure, fallen leaves, pulled weeds, vegetable peelings, egg shells, grass clippings and leftover food scraps. If you don`t want to prepare compost at home, you can purchase it. Improving your garden soil is probably the most important step in grwoing a bgeautiful garden. Nevertheless, there is a lot more you need to learn if you are to grow a beautiful garden. Visit www.eastergarden.net if you want to discover more useful gardening ideas and tips.