Poor quality soil can seriously effect your harvest. What characterizes good soil?
A high-quality soil for gardening has the following characteristics:
- Good air circulation because it is well aerated.
- Free of obstructions, ie: stones.
- Rich in organic matter, such as compost. When soil is rich in organic matter, the soil will provide the nutrients required to grow strong healthy plants. This means that artificial fertilizers are often unnecessary.
- Well draining soil. If your soil does not hold moisture well or is to thick to drain properly, you need to add compost.
It is often beneficial to dig 3-6 inches into the soil and add compost in the fall to help prepare your plot for spring planting. This can help lessen your workload in the spring.
If you did not add compost in the fall, start preparing your soil in early spring. If the ground is still semi-frozen or soggy, digging in the soil can compact and harm the soil structure.
Prepare your plot by digging to loosen the soil. Most plants are fine with 6 to 8 inches of good soil for growth. Our plots are raised planters. There is no obstruction under the plots so the plants grow into the earth.
Add lots and lots of organic matter. You can amend the soil by adding:
- worm castings
- mushroom soil
- organic fertilizers (we are an organic, pesticide and synthetic fertilizer free garden)
Work the organic matter into the loosened soil by piercing the cultivated soil at least 6 inches down with a shovel and turning the soil to break it up. After tilling, let the soil sit for a few days before planting.