Healthy Soils Equal Bountiful Harvest!


Article by: Fred Davis

Spring will be upon us before you know it, and it's about time to give some serious thought to the quality and content your garden's soil"ā€¯that literal foundation for all things happening in the garden. , Understanding Soil Nutrients Soils , Start Your Seeds Indoors For A Jump On Spring Planting are at the heart and soul of successful gardening. , Understanding Integrated Pest Management Yet soils , Invisible Fences are almost universally the single most neglected "key" to gardening , Xeriscaping is Waterwise success!

Who in his right mind would even think of building , Patio Design - Add Awnings As A Colorful Finish For Your Patio Design a home , An Autumn Garden for Halloween without first providing a strong and reliable foundation for it to rest upon? Just as the man in the New Testament who built his house , Understanding Soil Nutrients upon a bed , Ideas On How To Use Container Gardening To Decorate Your House And Garden of unstable sand , Tarragon: A Favourite of French Chefs soon lost it to wind and rain, the gardener who builds a home , Ideas On How To Use Container Gardening To Decorate Your House And Garden for plants , How to Make a Simple Homemade Aeroponics System without a good foundation"ā€¯neglecting to thoroughly prepare the soil , Budget For Your Garden and become aware of its nutritional content and capacity"ā€¯is destined to witness the rapid decline and demise of his or her hard work!

To be honest, if not downright blunt, if you don't do a real bang-up job of preparing the soil , Florida Homes: Easy Landscaping and Curb Appeal (the "foundation") before you plant, , Start Your Seeds Indoors For A Jump On Spring ing you'd probably be better off seeding it in wildflowers , A Rose is a Rose? or green-tinted asphalt. That's how important soil , Patio Bar Chairs for Comfortable Outdoor and Poolside Seating preparation really is. Remember: it is a vital, yet widely neglected, key to successful gardening. , The Bonsai Braided Money Plant Tree

How do you achieve the almost perfect, deep, rich, dark and loose soil? It takes a full-size spade, plenty of elbow grease, usually a considerable amount of organic , Lawn Mower Racing matter, and an almost infinite amount of persistence and patience.

Some prefer to prepare their garden , Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) 'White Ball' plot with a small rototiller, but little tillers simply cannot get the job done right. Most tillers are made to scratch the surface down to about four"ā€¯maybe five"ā€¯inches deep. A home , How to Get Ideas for Designing Your Garden garden sized machine that'll cut six inches is a rarity. Tillers do have their purpose but it usually comes later, after the real work is done.

Most shovels cut eleven or twelve inches deep...and that's what you should do: drive that shovel straight down right to the hilt and turn the soil , 10 Tips to Care for Your Antique Ceramics completely upside-down. Pick out any weeds, , How to Get Ideas for Designing Your Garden stones, , Snakes - They're Not as Slithery as Some People I Know! roots , Making the Most of the Front of Your Home Using Wind Chimes or anything else that doesn't belong. A good sharp edge on your shovel helps cut through tree , Planning Tips for Compact Courtyard Gardens feeder-roots. Break soil , Garden Folklore: Plants Thrive in Good Company lumps into small particles. Watch for destructive soil , Maintaining Water Quality in a Garden Pond insects"ā€¯wireworms, grubs and cutworms, for example"ā€¯and send any you find into eternal oblivion.

A few gardening , Xeriscaping is Waterwise authorities suggest what's called "double-digging" which involves digging another ten or twelve inches below that, into the subsoil. While it may work in the Great Plains states, that kind of soil-depth luxury isn't seen very often in the shallow, stony topsoils of Northern New England. Do the best you can.

Continue turning the soil , Lawn Mower Racing over until the whole plot is upside-down, cleaned up, and broken into little pieces. Now comes the fun part: add a healthy , Making the Most of the Front of Your Home Using Wind Chimes layer (two to four inches) of rich, dark compost , How to Use Garden Ornaments or well-rotted animal waste. If your soil , Home and Garden Decor is clay and tends to be dense, "sticky" and easily compacted, an additional inch or two of coarse organic , The Flower Drying Game - Part 1: Air, Sand, and Sources material like shredded leaves or straw , A Rose is a Rose? will help loosen it up. It's not a good idea to add sand , 7 Natural Stone Pebble Projects For Every Home to clay soil. , Colorado Blue Spruce And Lush Red Roses may end up with something like concrete. , The Flower Drying Game - Part 1: Air, Sand, and Sources Peatmoss will help to loosen clay soil, , How to Make a Simple Homemade Aeroponics System but may strain your early spring , 7 Natural Stone Pebble Projects For Every Home budget. (A common misconception, widely encouraged by the peatmoss marketing industry, pronounces that this very old organic , How to Make a Simple Homemade Aeroponics System material adds health and vitality to just about any soil. , Build a Rain Garden Not so: peatmoss, as it comes out of the bag, is as close to nutritionally and biologically dead as it can possibly be. Don't rely on peatmoss to add life and plant , Ideas On How To Use Container Gardening To Decorate Your House And Garden food to your garden. , Dream Yard . .it can't do that.)

Now turn and mix it all loosely into your topsoil. Once again, cut in as deeply as you can with a good spade. Avoid walking on it after that"ā€¯if you've done your job well, you'll sink past your ankles and compact your soil. , Tarragon: A Favourite of French Chefs I keep a couple of old 12-inch-wide boards handy to walk on while planting or doing any raking or furrowing.

One final important "key" completes the story: we use a lot of bonemeal in our fields and gardens. , Rose ing: Water, Sun and Shade Bonemeal is high in phosphorus (usually 12 or 16). Bonemeal encourages and promotes flowers , Wooden Garden Benches and fruit, , How to Buy a Porch Swing strong stems and roots, , Lawn Mower Racing foliage that can handle most summer , How to Select the Best Hammock abuse and, most importantly, is a wholly natural , Understanding Soil Nutrients form of fertilizer. It is a little expensive, but once applied (then thoroughly mixed in, not left on the surface) it provides a constant source of phosphorus for about three years.

There is a down side, however: even the so-called deodorized type of bonemeal will attract skunks, raccoons, and the neighbor's little digger-dog for about two weeks following application. The solution: either mask the faint odor with something stronger, like a "tea" made from "blenderized" garlic, or prepare your soil , An Autumn Garden for Halloween a few weeks before you plant , Patio Design - Add Awnings As A Colorful Finish For Your Patio Design so they can dig (cultivate!) to their hearts' content without doing any real damage.

Now you're ready! Well, almost. The final step before planting is another very important "key""ā€¯a soil , Backyard Landscaping Ideas To Make A Difference In Your Home test so you'll know exactly what your soil , Patio Bar Chairs for Comfortable Outdoor and Poolside Seating has and precisely what it needs to make your garden , Invisible Fences more productive of healthier plants , Build a Rain Garden and harvest...and you a better (certainly better-informed!) gardener.

Your state's Cooperative Extension Service has free collection/mailing containers and detailed instructions. Samples are then mailed to the State Soil , How to Build a Fence Testing Lab., and it usually takes about two to three weeks to get your results back. Cost is in the range of $10 - $12. Fairly economical "success" insurance!
Visit Fred's website to view more of his gardening , Start Your Seeds Indoors For A Jump On Spring Planting articles:

Fred Davis is a Master Gardener, Master Composter, , Floribunda Rose 'Julia Child' lecturer, and long-time nurseryman. He and his wife, Linda, own and operate a popular perennial , Florida Homes: Easy Landscaping and Curb Appeal nursery in Palermo, Maine, and maintain a no-frills gardening , Painted Adirondack Chairs-The Perfect Addition to Any Home or Garden information website at:, where you'll find answers to your gardening , Maintaining Water Quality in a Garden Pond questions.

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