Home gardening has become more popular over the past years. You can set up your garden in the back or front yard or even in small pots on your porch.
To achieve good plant growth and abundant harvest, soil health is crucial. Your soil will need regular preventive action to improve its quality over time.
It is possible to improve the standard of your topsoil without wasting excessive amounts of money. With some hard work and the following tips, you can easily improve your garden soil quality.
1. Use Compost for Your Soil
Ready-made composts can enhance the quality of your soil. Whether growing vegetables, flowers or some climbers, compost can benefit everyone. It has all the necessary nutrient supplements a plant would need to grow.
Bagged compost for vegetable gardens increases soil fertility. It boosts the soil structure you use, which upholds the plants. You will have improved drainage; more importantly, the waste that seeps into landfills will be minimized.
While you can make your own compost, remember that it is time-consuming, extremely difficult to get the ingredients right, and will leave a lasting odor. With bagged compost, you get a pre-packed bag of nutrients to enrich your soil.
Composts are usually made with fruit and vegetable skin and scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, etc. These add minerals and vitamins required to nourish the earth for gardening.
2. Regulate the pH Value of Your Soil
There are some gardening tips and tricks every gardener should know, including knowing how to control the pH value of the soil you are using.
The earth in your garden can be either acidic or alkaline, depending on the rocks resting underneath. The standard pH value for healthy growth of your plants is between 5.5 and 7.0.
Humus, which is dark compost made of animal matter decay, accumulates in the earth on highly acidic soils. However, other nutrients are hardly present in the ground for the plants to absorb.
On soils with high alkaline levels, hardly any humus can be found. Even though other nutrients are present, they cannot be absorbed by the plants like you would hope.
If the pH value of your soil is too high, you can correct it with bark humus. You will need to add lime to fix the pH level if it is too low.
3. Separate Your Garden Beds and Pathways
There are several ways to take your gardening routine to the next level. One crucial way is to focus on the symmetry of your garden so that it has a nice flow.
You can achieve this flow by creating separate garden beds for your plants and pathways to walk on.
If you step on your garden, you will destroy the plants and the soil will also be compressed. This will ruin the soil structure and tilth of the earth. Organisms that grow and decompose in the soil to create humus will no longer have the required habitat.
You will need to reach the beds to water your plants; however, using up too much of your garden space might worry you. Make the pathway narrow enough to access all zones without stepping inside the beds that hold your plants. You do not need thick lanes, which take up space.
4. Fix Your Soil Health With Sheet Mulching
If your garden soil has already reached a critical stage, there are ways you can fix it.
Sheet mulching is a process to retain your soil’s health that has been compromised or overtaken by weed. You need to press a layer of cardboard on top of your existing vegetation.
Pour new soil, which is rich in minerals and nutrients, over the cardboard layer. The cardboard will decompose over time and mix with the dead plant matter in the soil. This will create a habitat for the worms and other soil organisms to return.
The new topsoil can be mixed with homemade or store-bought compost to enrich it for your future plants. You must allow the sheet munching process to take place for at least two weeks to almost three months for all the matter to fully decompose and improve your garden soil quality.
5. Prevent Your Soil From Hardening
Soil needs to be soft and moist to aid a plant’s growth. If it becomes compact, water will not be able to pass through. Your gardening plot will dry out without water, and nutrients will not soak in for the plants to reach.
Plants with smaller roots cannot delve deeper for moisture and food; over time, they become dehydrated and starve. All the plants in your garden beds will suffer the same consequences, eventually ruining your entire garden.
If you are using clay soil to grow your vegetation, remember that it easily compacts in colder weather. If you want to fix the soil structure, you must add nutrient-filled compost to it.
Overly moisturizing will also compact your garden soil. If you plan to continue gardening after winter, wait for the snow to melt, so the soil dries and does not stick to each other.
6. Improve Your Garden Soil by Adding Minerals
Minerals are essential for plant growth. There are various methods of adding it to your garden soil to improve its quality.
Plant charcoal is new in the soil-improving game. The process involves completely burning organic materials, such as wood, directly on top of your soil. At the primary stage it is also known as pyrogenic carbon.
Once the carbon is laid out, it creates a space for further humus to accumulate. This process is perfect if you want to organically repair a no-humus build-up zone of your soil.
Another process is to add primary finely ground rock flour to your soil. It can correct the pH level of the ground with acidic basalt or alkaline bases. A slow release of nutrients is assured, which is beneficial for anemic soil.
7. Do Not Leave Your Garden Soil Bare
The healthiest and easiest process you can follow to improve your garden soil is planting more trees. If you want a healthy and handsome harvest, your soil should never be left barren.
Plants can regain and retain the health of the soil. Before putting in your vegetation or flowerbeds, you can plant special green manure plants. They possess multiple benefits for your plants.
They loosen the soil by growing roots through them. This stimulates healthy soil life and creates an environment for organisms to grow. Manure plants help dissolve nutrients into the soil and prevent erosion.
Most importantly, these plants stop the clumping and eventual hardening of the soil, which is the worst possible condition for gardening.
Legumes, a type of green manure plant, collect nitrogen from the air. They acquire it via a particular enzyme and pass it to your garden plants.
8. Rotate and Mix the Type of Plants in Your Garden
An old saying suggests that if you keep planting the same crops, again and again, your harvest will eventually become sickly. Your home garden can face the same issue if you continuously grow the same plants.
It is a good idea to rotate your crops. Most flowers or vegetation are seasonal. It is smart to use your soil to grow; suppose Pansies in the winter and Black-eyed Susan in the summer.
You can also mix your plantations in the same garden bed. Peas do not always have to accompany another pea. Instead, give it another neighbor, such as garlic and carrots.
This way, you can improve the quality of your garden soil over a long period.
9. Keep Your Garden Herbicide-free
Herbicides are toxic to plants and often destroy vegetation. Your soil can ingest herbicide without you directly spraying it in your garden.
The toxic element is added to your garden through store-bought composts. So under these circumstances, how do you ensure a herbicide-free garden? The answer is by remaining cautious.
Often these composts carry herbicides, which can be critical for your garden soil. Read the label of each of the composts you use to look for any harmful chemicals you might unknowingly incorporate in your garden.
To ensure a healthy growing environment for your plants, refrain from buying contaminated manure.
Gardening is similar to raising a pet. You have to nurture, nourish and ensure the safety of your plants. To improve the quality of your garden soil for healthier plant growth, you must use homemade or store-bought compost. Read the labels to avoid herbicides.
Create separate gardening beds and maintain the pH level of the soil. By rotating your choice of plants, you can avoid letting your soil be barren and dry.
If the condition worsens, use the sheet mulching technique or add minerals to improve soil quality.