An old proverb states “The plans of the diligent bring plenty.” That rings especially true when it comes to building a happy and healthy garden. A little preparation this month can mean a bountiful harvest and beautiful blooms all season long.
Just like us, plants need nutrients and minerals to prosper. They particularly love nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but there are numerous other nutrients they require too. To allow your plants to absorb all these yummy nutrients, your soil also needs to have the correct pH levels.
Testing your soil for nutrients and pH level is a breeze (don’t worry, you won’t need a horticulture degree for this). There are tons of DIY soil testing kits on the market. Ask your local nursery about them and they are sure to have them on hand. They can also tell you if there are any soil problems that are specific to your geographic region and give you remedies to try!
Soil texture is equally important for your plants. The texture of your soil will largely be affected if your plants are able to retain and drain water properly. Figuring out the texture of your soil is also an easy task (but once again, your local nursery can always help you if you get stumped). If your soil feels gritty, then you have sandy soil. If your soil feels smooth like baby powder, then it is considered silty. And last but not least, if your soil feels tough when dry and slippery and sticky when wet, then you have hard clay. Most soils will be a mixture of these types.
Improve Your Soil’s Health
If your soil came up a little lacking, that’s ok. This can be easily fixed by adding what are known as “soil amendments” and/or organic fertilizer. The folks at Planet Natural have awesome resources for figuring out what type of soil amendment your plants might need.
Instead of running to that green bottle of chemical fertilizer, try adding a little organic material to your soil in the form of compost! Chemical fertilizers really aren’t great at providing the full spectrum of nutrients your plants need. Chemical fertilizers also aren’t good for our planet or your soil as they strip the soil of good microorganisms over time. Compost on the other hand will give your plant everything it needs to thrive!
Cultivating your soil will take some time, but we promise, it’s worth it! Happy planting and may your garden grow absolutely bee-utifully!
Read more about how to improve your soil’s health at Planet Natural’s Research Center.