Spring Soil Preparations
Wow time flies! We are only a tad over month away from our re-opening for the 2018 garden seasons. So get your garden books out and your thinking caps on. Recall what worked last year and what didn’t; but irregardless of whether it worked or not, it won’t work unless the dirt is ideal for plant growth.
Getting an early start during the late winter and early spring season in your garden can help make gardening much easier for you while also making life for your plants much better. There are plenty of ways to start preparing for spring in the late winter, either by fertilizing, loosening soil, or by adding compost/organic matter to soil. This is also the best time to ensure you have the proper soil for whatever you’re planning to grow this year. There are plenty of different types of soil and it’s important to ensure you have the right soil for the right plants. An early start now will help alleviate work later while also ensuring your plants have the right soil to thrive this spring.
What Your Soil Needs
Soil is where a plant will receive most of their moisture, air and nutrients. Therefore, maintaining good soil can lead to a thriving garden. Many small beneficial creatures such as earthworms, centipedes, and fungi will help create a healthier ecosystem by creating organic matter. Topsoil is the richest and uppermost layer where most roots grow. Generally topsoil is at most 12 inches deep, though the depth can vary depending on the quality. The best way to ensure your soil is the healthiest is by deep cultivation, which allows for water and air to penetrate deeper, effectively reaching all of the roots.
To start with your improvements, simply turn or till your soil before planting, usually around the early spring months. This can be done easily by just digging around 8 inches deep, or however deep you need to cultivate. This helps loosen the topsoil and will allow for more air and water to reach the roots. Turning/tilling is important and should be done always before planting. It will also help increase effects from organic matter such as compost, leaves, or manure. Compost is another great and easy way to improve the overall quality by adding additional nutrients.
Before you plant, you’ll preferably want soil to break down and crumble in your hands, which can be done by just turning enough using either a fork, rake, or use of a tiller. Once you’ve reached a good consistency, you will want to apply a fertilizer whenever you’re about to plant, and ensure it is mixed in well. If you haven’t already, remove any debris and rocks that may have blown into your garden over the winter. Doing so will help give your plants a head start and provide them with the necessary nutrients to ensure their survival.
Other organic matter, such as bacteria, algae, microbes, and worms can all be added if needed. All of these are extremely beneficial most of the time and will both allow air to flow through better and increase the amount of nutrients. They do this by breaking down organic matter, and dirt that is rich in organic matter will appear dark, deep and rich. This is the type of dirt you want to grow within, and can be easily achieved by adding certain beneficial micro-organisms.
There is no way to know what you’re going to need without first doing a test. A soil test is an easy, inexpensive way to quickly determine what you’re going to require to fix any imbalances. Without a test, you may end up harming your soil and lower plant yield, or at worse cause them to wither. There are many ways to remedy a nutritional imbalance or pH that is incorrect. For example, to increase the pH, lime is applied, and to decrease it, sulfur is applied. Typically you will want to go for a pH between 6 and 7.
It’s always a good idea to conduct a test before any planting, and you should also pay close attention to how much application you’ll have to use to fix the problem. Soil that is over-saturated with nutrients or minerals might sound like a great thing, but typically it will cause many problems for your plants. Doing this incorrectly can make land unusable for months / years, so make sure to read all packaging thoroughly before any application!
Raised beds are a great and simple way to allow soil to dry quicker. Simply placing plants in a wooden box where sun will hit the sides will keep your plants warmer and allow water to dry out quickly. This is good for plants that require good drainage and will also help protect from some pests. If you do choose to use raised beds, keep in mind that you will have to maintain them during the winter, as sometimes boards may give way or rot. When fixing raised beds, it’s also a nice time for you to clean up the rest of your yard, fix anything else that is broken, and remove any other debris from the yard.
So, simply by tilling, testing, and using the correct amount of application, you can drastically improve the health and quality of any garden. The key to a fertile, lush, and abundant garden is great soil, and by following three simple steps, you are able to produce much more quality and fertile soil that will provide sufficient nutrients to your plants. This can lead to many better gardens, by allowing for quicker and better growth, and by creating healthier plants that are more resilient, hardy, and much better looking. Improving your soil is a small investment that requires little work, time, and money, and will provide you with exponentially better results within any garden…
For any compost, fertilizer, or even rakes and forks, Goffle Brook Farms has you covered. We open just in time for you to prepare your soil this year, so make sure to stop in sometime after March 15th for any spring soil supplies you might need! We carry a variety of soil amendments, composts, and fertilizers to ensure your soil is in the best shape it’s ever been in. To see what we have in stock, you check out our product page here! We hope to see you this spring and also hope we can benefit your soil this growing season!