Garden Soil Preparation: What Amendments Do I need to Add?

In nature the ground is covered with many types of plant matter breaking down creating a network or organisms and biodiversity of life that helps plants grow and absorb nutrients. When the earth is tilled this process destroys all of the beneficial life living in the first few inches of earth. Tilling also brings up dormant seeds that will start to germinate and adding weeds to your garden.

This is why we all should adopted the no dig method of gardening.

Feeding the soil to feed the plant

Feeding the soil to create a healthy living soil will intern feed your garden plants yielding beautiful healthy vegetable to eat. Look at it as feeding the soil not the plant.

How to get ground ready for garden

How do I prepare my garden for planting?

  • If first time, remove the grass or cover with wet cardboard and start a no dig garden
  • Loosen the soil with broad fork, do not flip soil
  • Add 3 to 4 inches of organic compost matter
  • Measure of planting rows and walkways
  • Level garden beds before planting
  • Plant seeds or seedings and water
  • Stay on top of weeds early

How do I know my soil type?

6 Soil Types

  1. Clay Soil heavy soil type that benefits from high nutrients
  2. Sandy soil may be low in nutrients and or acidic
  3. Silt Soil light and retentive moisture with a high fertility
  4. Peat 
  5. Chalk
  6. Loam 

What to Add to Garden Soil

What is the best thing to add to garden soil? Peat is an excellent soil amendment, especially for sandy soils to help with retaining more water. Peat is generally acid (low pH) help gardeners grow plants that require a more acidic soil like strawberries and blue berries.

Do I need to do a soil test for my vegetable garden?

What does a soil test show?

Having your soil test will tell you the pH and levels of the macronutrients (nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K)). This information will provide what your soil is lacking or has too much of. Having your soil tested will put you on the right path to a more healthy soil.

What is the best way to amend soil?

The best way to amend soil is by adding compost or another organic material to the top of your garden in the sprint and fall. The compost will slowly break down and enter the soil as the nutrients needed by plants. Further amendments can be added monthly a few inches under the soil beside vegetables that are heavy feeders.

How to amend soil around existing plants

Top-dressing is the best way to amend soil in an existing garden. Adding an inch or two of compost each season. The compost will break down, improving soil structure and fertility. Plus, you’ll perk up your perennials

Slow feeding meals can be added beside growing plants by making a small trench two inches deep adding the feed and covering the trench with soil. This will slowly feed the soil replacing nutrient’s the growing plants are depleting from the soil.

Fertilizer Blend that I Use at the Farm and Garden Neversink Farms

Soil amendment is any material added to a soil to improve its physical properties to help in water retention, permeability, water infiltration, aeration, drainage, and structure. Providing better soil environment for the plant roots.

5 Top Soil Amendments

  1. biochar Increases soil water retention & prevents water runoff, Improves soil microbiological activity & soil organic carbon content level
  2. Feather meal A great source of slow release nitrogen that is perfect for heavy feeders such as corn, cole crops & leafy green vegetables
  3. Alfalfa meal rich source of trace elements and natural growth stimulants and an excellent soil conditioner that accelerates growth and promotes larger, more plentiful blooms
  4. Kelp meal Stimulate root development, stops transplant shock, boosts growth, prevents fungal problems and alleviates stress caused by fluctuations in temperatures
  5. earthworm castings

Gardening Basics – Fertilizers for Organic No Dig / No Til Gardens

Do soil amendments work?

Soil amendments help feed and build the soil quality producing healthier plants that can help fight off plant diseases and bug attacks.

How do I enrich my garden soil?

Soil Amendments

12 Types of soil amendments will enrich the quality of your soil

  1. Plant material Leaves, straw, and grass clippings
  2. Compost Make your own or buy
  3. Leaf mold Decomposed leaves add in soil nutrients and improve soil structure.
  4. composted manure
  5. Coconut coir peat moss helps retain water in the soil.
  6. Wood chips, and sawdust take time to decompose but are great for walkways or around to help against evaporation
  7. Cover crops (green manure): Cover crops are more of a soil improvement technique than a soil amendment. Cover crops like oats, clover, and rye, or oats can be planted in the garden at the end of the growing season and have to be worked back into the soils to add an abundance of nutrients and their roots can provide structure. 
  8. Topsoil can be added to start a no dig garden or amend a poor soil to jump start your garden
  9. Calcium is crucial for plant growth and makes plants less susceptible to diseases and pests
  10. Lime Raises the pH of acidic soil.
  11. Sulfur Lowers the pH of alkaline soil. Do a soil test first
  12. Wood ash Raises the pH of acidic soil. Do a soil test first

Please check out my blog post on Composting for beginners

#garden #growingfood #homegarden #gardeningforbeginners #homegarden #plants #planting

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