Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Preparing your soil in the spring

Soil is literally the foundation of your garden. A great foundation to your garden will bring a great harvest. The key to good garden soil is deep, loose, fertile and well-draining soil.

How do you obtain this, you ask? Well, no matter the kind of soil, clay, sand the very best thing you can do for your soil is to add lots and lots of organic matter every year. Organic matter is anything that is no longer alive( accept meet and dog and cat feces carry too much disease). So things like leaves in the fall and small wood shavings and anything that was green at one time counts as organic matter. That includes steer manure and composted plants.

If you are starting a new bed for your garden in the spring, then make sure you add lots of organic matter, and every year thereafter. You can buy bags of steer manure and peat moss to mix into the soil if you do not want to make your own compost. Things like wood chips are considered organic matter, but they take such a long time to break down that they are not the best option to add to your garden soil. After the plants are planted in the early summer, we add a nice compost as a dressing on top of the soil and around the plants to help keep moisture in the soil and cool the roots of the vegetables. We do not gather this up, but rather leave it and add more next year. This would count as adding organic matter. They we add chopped up leaves with the lawn mower in the fall with a little nitrogen fertilizer to break it down. Free excellent organic matter- it cant get better than that. 
Here is a picture of leaf mold which is leaves just broken down from a few years ago. This makes an excellent amendment to the soil.

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