Preparing Healthy Soil For
So you’re ready to venture forward with your new garden? Soil preparation is so important if you want beautiful, healthy plants. After all, the soil is the foundation of the garden.
The best composition for your garden is to prepare a near-perfect mixture of silt, sand, and clay. Ideally, you should have a mixture containing 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay. There are several different ways to determine whether your dirt is prepared properly.
One method is to compress some of the dirt mixture in your hand. If it crumbles instead of holding its shape, the mixture most likely contains too much sand. If after poking the compressed ball with your finger it doesn’t fall apart very easily, your mixture contains too much clay.
If you still can’t determine the proper content of your soil, try separating the ingredients by following these instructions. Place 1-2 cups of the dirt into a jar of water. Shake the container until the soil is suspended and let it set awhile. You should be able to watch it separate into three layers. The top layer is the clay, second is the silt, and the sand will be your third. You should then be able to compare the components of each layer and within your dirt. Remember, it should be 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay.
After analyzing the content of your mixture, you may decide that it is low on a certain ingredient. In that case, if you’re dealing with too much sand or silt, it would be best to add some compost or peat moss. If it has too much clay, mix some sand with peat moss. The peat moss, when it is moistened, helps the added ingredient infiltrate into the mixture better.
If you just can’t seem to get a proper mixture, you will certainly find products at your local gardening store to help you.
The water content of the dirt is another important consideration when preparing for your garden. If your garden is at the bottom of a hill, it is most likely going to absorb way too much water and drown out the plants. If this is the case, you should probably add enough dirt to elevate your garden 4-5 inches above ground to allow for more drainage and less saturation.
Another vital part of the preparation process is adding nutrients to the dirt. Most soils contain little or no nutrients naturally, so one or two weeks prior to planting you should add fertilizer to your garden. Mix it into the dirt well and let it set for a while. Once this is done, your soil will be completely ready for planting the seeds.
Once the seeds are planted, you should continue to treat the soil. Over the first couple of weeks, the seeds will soak up all the nutrients you added to the dirt; this is necessary for the seeds to sprout into an actual plant. They will continue to need nourishment to flourish; therefore, approximately a week after planting the seeds, add the same amount of fertilizer that you added before they were planted. After this, you should continue to fertilize but not nearly as often. Add just a little bit every couple of weeks and that should be plenty to keep your garden thriving.
Basically, the entire preparation process can be summed up into these simple steps:
• Ensure the makeup of the dirt is properly prepared for gardening.
• Make sure you have adequate drainage in your garden.
• Add fertilizer to your garden both before and after the seeds are planted.
• Add fertilizer on a regular basis after that.
As always, if you need more information on any of these steps, just visit your local nursery and inquire there. Most of the employees there are very knowledgeable and helpful, and will be glad to give you their advice.
If you follow these simple steps you’ll soon have plenty of beautiful, healthy plants!
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