Before you grow your organic garden, grow your soil. This often-repeated wisdom is simple to say but requires some work to make happen. Growing soil — making it ideal for growing vegetables, flowers, lawns, and other plants — means bringing it to life. How?
- by making sure its acid/alkaline or pH balance is perfect for what you’re growing,
- by providing all the nutrients that your soil may lack and your plants require,
- by improving its structure so that it holds oxygen your plants need as well as retaining necessary moisture and providing critical drainage,
- by supplying and encouraging strong populations of beneficial microbes that will stimulate the health and growth of your plants
Most soil amendments are added to improve the structure of the soil, to increase the organic content so that the soil is more capable of holding nutrients and moisture. When these organic materials are added to the soil, they also act in varying degrees as fertilizers, providing a mix of nutrients to plant roots. By first determining the needs of your soil, you can best determine what you should add. Need nitrogen? Want to sweeten the pH of your soil? Want to increase moisture-holding ability or break up heavy clay soils? (more…)