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Soils & Natural Fertilizers

Spring is just around the corner, why not get a jump start on that gardening with these tips on healthy soil from BOOM Brand Partner greengate Garden Centres.


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The Basics to Healthy Garden Soil:

If you haven't already amended your beds in the fall, don't fret.

Even though the weather is quite unsettled, preparing your garden beds for the spring is essential and it can be done sooner than later. Now is the time to take stock of your soil condition well ahead of the planting season. If you can take a look at your beds now, and decide what they might need, you can have it done ahead of planting.


Amending Soil


How do you know if your beds need amending? Best not to guess. The reason for this is that we can't just look at soil as plain old dirt because there's much more to it than that. It's actually a complex mixture of organic materials, minerals, and other nutrients. Water needs to be able to move through it along with air and the plants roots and it needs to be able to keep plants upright. This means, it has to be fertile and has to have a good condition of texture.


Poor soil will never really properly maintain a plant’s best health even with fertilization, because nutrients alone are only part of a healthy garden bed. Good soil is imperative for growing strong, well-producing plants that are healthy enough to withstand pests and diseases.


Living soil is what earth naturally is. It is made up of many differing organic mediums, microorganisms, fungi, bacteria, minerals and structures and even animals in the case of worms. A good balance between these portions is what it takes to have the healthiest of plants.


Just like your plants need to be fed, so does your soil in order to provide a nourishing environment to grow your plants.


Your soil is basically a nutrient field for your plants. Organic material is key. Organic matter is anything that contains carbon compounds that were created by living organisms. Some examples are plant debris, shredded leaves, animal manure, and grass clippings. Adding organic material to your soil works because organisms in your soil break down organic matter and convert it into nutrient-rich humus.


6 Straight Forward Methods to Improve Garden Soil


1. Add Compost


Compost is number one on the list for good reason. It helps retain water deep in the soil which is super beneficial in climates that are windy and where rain can be scarce. Share and mix a variety of composts for a vibrant soil.


2. Do a Soil Test


Tending to your soil is not one and done. Conduct a soil test every few years to determine what additional nutrients are needed to promote plant growth and production. A basic soil test gives readings of soil pH, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Once you recognize the nutrient deficiencies in your soil, you can add amendments for a boost of nutrients.


3. Mulch Your Soil


Mulch is super beneficial and can be used effectively for areas in your garden. It is a must for healthy garden soil and strong plants. The mulch will slowly decompose and add organic matter to the soil to increase fertility.


4. Avoid Soil Compaction


Dig up and turn over any soil that has become hard and compacted. Doing so will allow water and nutrients to soak into the soil that has become barren and dry. Compact soil also impedes microbiological activity necessary to convert organic matter to nutrients that feed the plants.


5. Crop Rotate Every Year


Move your veggie crops yearly to a different spot in your garden. Planting in different locations prevents the exhaustion of nutrients and interrupts the cycles of pests and diseases. There is a rule of thumb that one can follow which is basically rotating crops so that the same family of vegetables are not planted in the same spot for more than three years.


6. Grow Cover Crops


Cover crops are grown primarily to benefit the soil, but some of them can do double-duty by providing food, too. Kale, and other broad-leaf greens, are ideal for use as cover.


Plant a cover crop near the end of the garden season and allow it to remain in the garden throughout the winter. This helps protect the soil from being eroded by heavy rain, winds, and snow melt-off. In spring, these plants will break down in the soil adding even more organic materials.


For more information on garden and bed preparation, click here to view the full article.



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