Learn how to improve your soil quality for better gardens
(from Canadian Gardening)
With the milder temperatures finally approaching, it”s time to start thinking about a spring clean up and preparing your beds for optimal growth for the 2013 garden season. One of the most overlooked items for property owners is the condition of their soil. It is so important to factor in healthy soil in order for plants/flowers and shrubs to survive and thrive in your beds.
Create self-sufficient soil by making it healthy. You don’t want to provide temporary solutions to any problems. Manure and organic matter are not necessarily interchangeable in ecological gardening. Organic matter is the most important: leaves, plant waste, garden detritus, straw, hay. Straw, alas, encourages mice.Another method of enriching the soil is to dig down and fill the hole with layers of aged leaves and manure. Earthworms do most of the work of breaking down these materials into compost.
Build up the soil with compost or make your own organic fertilizer as recommended by garden writer Eliot Coleman: 4 parts blood meal, 2 parts bone meal and 1 part kelp or rock phosphate.Here’s a good soil food recommended in the book Organic Gardening for the Pacific Northwest: 4 parts seed meal (or 2 parts fish meal), 1 part dolomitic limestone, 1 part rock phosphate or 1/2 part bone meal, 1 part kelp.If you add bone and blood meal to coir, it will act as a fertilizer.
Coir products are made from coconut fibre (from outer husk) and are used as an alternative to peat moss. Though I realize coir products have to be shipped long distances, that’s better than destroying peat bogs.Leaf mould is an excellent amendment. Bag leaves and place them in a corner to break down, or dig them into a big hole and let them rot, or shred them and add to the compost heap. One thing you don’t do with leaves is throw them out.
Extremely sandy soil is too porous and it won’t support earthworms. Add masses of compost and keep adding as often as possible. Over time the soil will improve. And your plants and flowers will thank you!
If you aren”t sure where to start, or have questions on how to amend your soil give us a call or send an email.
We’d be happy to help!