Your garden is your sanctuary, and if you love plants then you know they are like your babies. They need a proper environment that supplies nourishment, so making sure your backyard soil is healthy and nutrient rich is vital for a flourishing garden. Here are some simple tips to help improve your soil and give your plant babies the TLC they need.
During the spring season, organisms that live in soil come alive after hibernation and get to work by recycling nutrients, holding moisture and even fighting against pests. This is called living soil, and it needs nutrients, shelter, water and oxygen to thrive, just as we do. In order to get your soil ready for spring, start mixing organic materials in the fall, such as fallen leaves, garden debris, or kitchen scraps into the top two inches of soil. Add a layer of mulch and let the materials break down through winter.
Worms are essential for soil health, as they play a huge role in the breakdown of organic matter on the surface, depositing it back as natural, nutrient rich matter that feeds plants. You can add worms directly to your soil, just be sure to add organic matter first so that they have a food source to begin the break down cycle. You can use rotted manure, compost or a leaf mould to mix in before introducing worms. Keep in mind that the longer the organic matter has been left in the soil (up to one year is recommended) the better your worm amigos will fare in your garden.
Did you know that planting certain plants improves soil? These are called cover crops, because they add organic matter and help to loosen up soil. They also can aid in controlling weed growth. Some popular varieties include: buckwheat, phacelia, vetch and clovers.