Is your garden soil lacking? Does it resemble “dirt” more than actual soil? There are a multitude of steps you can take to improve your soil and get you the garden of your dreams.
Here are some easy steps you can implement to stimulate your garden’s growth. It will also help you understand what healthy soil is and how to get yours to a place where flowers, veggies and plants can start growing stronger and more effortlessly than ever before.
Add Compost To Improve Your Soil’s Ecosystem
It is quite hard for nutrient-deficient soil to produce nutrient-rich plants and vegetables, so adding compost is a great way to stimulate growth in places that need it.
Compost is fantastic for helping you improve the health of your garden — it is made up of organic matter that can be made from kitchen scraps and other organic materials. It enables soil to retain nutrients, promotes drainage and absorbs water, keeps soil loose so it can aerate and helps maintain a natural pH.
Add Mulch To Your Garden
Adding mulch to the base of your plants when planting helps retain moisture and nutrients, reduces the need to weed, and cools your plants in the summer heat. Use heavier mulches in dry, hot climates and lighter mulches for cool, rainy climates.
Determine What Kind of Soil You Have For Better Gardening
Knowing the type of soil your yard or garden has is an important factor in knowing which plants will thrive. Armed with that knowledge, you can also figure out what you need to do to nurture your soil for better gardening. Let’s take a look at a few soil types:
- Clay soil. Made up of tiny, flat clay particles that stick together when wet, which forms a slippery mud that drains quite slowly. Whether clay soil is wet or dry, it can be tough for plants to get nutrients for plants.
- Sandy soil. Made up of large sand particles that fit together loosely. Sandy soils contain little in the way of nutrients and can dry out quite quickly.
- Silty soil. Contains large particles that are bigger than clay but smaller than sand. Silty soils retain water better than sandy soil, and drain better than clay soil. While they contain higher amounts of nutrients, silt can pack dry and blow away in the wind if you’re not careful.
You can also grab a handful of soil when it is wet to test it to see which of these it most likely is.
- If your handful sticks together, then it most likely contains silt.
- If your handful falls apart, then it most likely contains sand.
- If your handful lumps together and sticks, it most likely contains clay.
Determine Your Soil’s pH
Conducting a soil test every few years to determine pH (and also what additional nutrients you need) will help promote your plant growth and lead to a more robust garden overall.
Soil pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity and measures the amount of calcium or lime you have in your soil. PH is measured on a scale from 0-14, with numbers higher than 7 being considered alkaline and below as acidic. 7 is, of course, neutral. Most plants and gardens prefer a slightly more acidic soil, just below 7. You can get a service or kit to help test your soil whenever you decide it is time.
To lower your soil’s pH, you can add compost or sulfur, among other more acidic ingredients.
To raise your soil’s pH, you can add limestone to your mixture.
Test For Nutrients In Your Soil
There are three major elements to having healthy soil, they are:
- Nitrogen, which is responsible for healthy, green growth, is the nutrient that can escape the most readily from your soil. You can add nitrogen-rich ingredients like bone meal to get your nitrogen levels back up.
- Potassium, which is responsible for vibrant, healthy blooms. You can add ash to your garden to up the potassium levels or find a mix at your local gardening center.
- Phosphorus, which is essential for healthy root growth. Adding rock phosphate or bone meal can up your phosphorus levels if you need.
These are just a few ways you can up your gardening game. Improving and building a healthy garden is a steady process that will continue to reward you for years to come, whether you are growing food, admitting flowers or landscaping your yard. When your plants thrive, so do you.
Need Help Enhancing Your Garden?
Here at The Garden Men, we know all the ins and outs of maintaining and improving your garden. Our services include year round garden maintenance by qualified horticulturalists and a specialist strata maintenance team. If you want to put the health of your lawn or garden in capable hands, reach out to us today.
The Garden Men is a leading landscaping and lawn maintenance company, beautifying and protecting residential and commercial properties around the Sydney area for over 20 years. Our expert property and garden maintenance will add to your property’s value and appeal while keeping it looking pristine. If you’re ready for the best garden care in the Sydney area, contact us today!