Learning how to improve soil for gardening purposes doesn’t have to be a well-kept secret of professional landscapers, gardeners, horticulturists, or farmers. You might already know the best techniques for planting and harvesting, but aren’t sure how to correctly make a soil amendment.
Luckily, we have a few tips that you can use to improve your soil quality, ensuring that you’ll have strong, healthy plants for this upcoming season. Keep reading for more details!
Why Make a Soil Amendment?
Not all soil is created equally – certain areas of the world have soil that is absolutely perfect to grow almost any type of plant. Other places have garden soil that isn’t capable of supporting even the easiest to grow vegetation.
Soil that has been used and reused multiple times can become devoid of nutrients; sometimes the soil in your garden isn’t quite right for the plants you’d like to grow.
Unless you live in one of those areas with perfect soil, there is a high chance that you’ll want to make a soil amendment by adding materials that can improve the quality and growth potential of your soil.
By making proper amendments, you can help to ensure that your garden can support a wide variety of plants, help them stay resistant to disease and improve the overall drainage and aeration around their roots.
What to Add for Rich Garden Soil
There are a number of materials that you can choose to add to your gardening soil to make it healthier for your plants. Many people choose to add compost, manure, mulch, sand, or peat. Other people choose to add a combination of these materials, while other people opt to use synthetic fertilizers.
Ideally, you will stay away from synthetic fertilizers because of the health risks associated with them and choose more natural options to help your garden grow.
Compost is recycled, decomposed organic material. It may consist of twigs, leaves, cardboard, black and white newspaper, yard waste (disease free) and vegetable food scraps. Microorganisms break down these materials into their simplest parts, yielding a highly nutritious soil conditioner.
Manure is most often animal waste that has been aged three to four months. It contains phosphorus, nitrogen, and several other nutrients that plants need to grow. Green manure is quite different in that it is created by leaving old, uprooted plants to decompose in the garden or field.
Mulch can consist of grass clippings, straw, hay, shredded bark, sawdust, and other similar materials. Typically, it is placed on top of the soil to help reduce water runoff and evaporation.
Using sand as a soil amendment can help improve aeration, drainage, and permeability in most soils. It shouldn’t be used as an amendment in clay-based soils because it can create a concrete-like mixture.
Peat is a mixture of partially decayed vegetation that is found in bogs, peatlands, mires, and moors. Because using peat can contribute to the destruction of the bogs in which its found, many people are moving away from the practice of using it as their only soil amendment and instead are opting to use it as a minor adjustment found within other amendment mixtures.
Finding the Best Gardening Soil Components
Before you begin attempting to make soil amendments or improving your soil, you may want to perform a soil test to identify which nutrients would be most beneficial to add and which ones your garden already has.
When you’re searching for the best types of components and amendments to improve your soil, you will want to avoid big box stores, if possible. Most bigger chain stores may know a bit about soil, but not specifically what is found in the product they’re trying to sell.
Ideally, you will work with a retailer who is an expert in the areas of soil and soil amendments to receive the best products and advice. They will be able to tell you where their compost and other materials are sourced from, and can tell you how to apply the amendments for best results.
When you’re trying to learn how to improve soil for gardening and want to receive an honest, helpful, and scientific opinion, Sequoia Soil has you covered. We are a soil company that is dedicated to helping others in the industry improve and learn about their soil.
If you would like to learn more about our soil mixes or are interested in ordering any of our materials for your garden, send us a message today!