Good soil is the foundation of a healthy garden, important for root establishment, water retention and encouraging vibrant plant growth. Here are some tips to help you inject nutrition back into your soil, so that you can grow a thriving and green garden yearlong.
Get your soil tested
Find out if poor soil is to blame for last year’s sad lettuce crop. If your garden is surviving rather than thriving, then a soil test is a great place to start. Once you’ve had your soil tested and know what you’re dealing with, you can get to work restoring or improving it.
Get the most out of your soil with compost
Soil needs a regular top up of organic matter, which adds vital nutrients and supports healthy soil ecosystems by providing food for microorganisms that live in the soil. A healthy population of microorganisms living in your soil is crucial for good soil structure, as they are the glue that holds the soil particles together.
Digging in organic compost creates a vitamin enriched soil structure and provides a strong foundation for water retention and aeration, which ultimately encourages healthier root establishment and growth in plants for a longer lasting and more efficient garden.
Your kitchen compost bin is the best place to start on your search for rich and live organic matter. Combine fruit and vegetable trimmings with newspaper, leaves, yard trimmings, tree bark, wood chips, etc. Aim for a ratio of 2:1 brown matter (leaves and straw) to green matter (grass and kitchen scraps). Keep adding to the pile, turning it occasionally with a garden fork. You’ll know your compost is ready when it becomes brown and crumbly and has a nice forest-floor smell to it.
Plants need the right amount of water to thrive, and in your garden there is a high chance that you have a diverse group of plants with different thirst levels. A great way to ensure that each plant gets the right amount of water is to have an irrigation system installed which can be set up to water different zones of plants. Not only is this great for the garden, it is also water efficient – saving both the planet and your money
Protect it all with mulch
Mulch is a protective blanket that will shield your soil from heat, wind, water erosion and those persistent weeds. Mulch is the key component to any water efficient garden as it reduces water evaporation from the soil. Topping your soil off with a layer of mulch will protect your plants from the harsh elements so that you can grow and establish a green and thriving garden – one that will bring enjoyment for years to come.
When it comes to a healthy garden, it is less about what is on the top and more about what is happening beneath the surface. Take the time to create a fertile foundation that your plants will love.