Tips To Improve Your Garden Soil

Organic matter is the key to perfect garden soil. While you can’t change the type of soil you have, adding organic matter makes your soil loamier. It loosens and aerates clay, improves the ability of sandy soil to hold water and nutrients, and attracts beneficial fungi, bacteria and worms for a healthy ecosystem.

If using raw organic matter like leaves, add it to your soil at least a month before planting, to ensure it breaks down. If it’s already well rotted, however, you can add finished compost and decomposed manure just before planting – it should have a dark brown colour and nice earthy smell, with little of the original material visible.

Add a layer of organic matter to the area where you intend to plant, using a wheelbarrow and shovel. This can be two inches thick if your garden is new, or your soil is full of sand or clay, but less is needed if it is well established, loamy and fertile. Work in the organic matter to at least a spade’s depth using a shovel, gardening fork or tiller.

If you aren’t able to make your own compost, you can buy it in bags or have a load delivered. Before buying, check whether it’s safe to use when growing vegetables if that’s what you intend to do.

If adding sawdust, you will need to use extra fertiliser as sawdust robs the soil of nitrogen when it breaks down. The same thing happens with some fresh manure. Manure can also contain lots of hay that’s full of weed seeds ready to germinate in your nice flower bed or vegetable patch.

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