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Preparing Healthy Soil

| Articles | January 29, 2013

If you’re getting ready to go on a new garden venture, you need to prepare

your soil to ideally house your plants. The best thing you can do in the

soil preparation process is to reach the perfect mixture of sand, silt,

and clay. Preferably there would be 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt, and

20 percent clay. There are several tests used by experienced gardeners to

tell whether the soil has a good composition. First you can compress it in

your hand. If it doesn’t hold its shape and crumbles without any outside

force, your sand ratio is probably a little high. If you poke the

compressed ball with your finger and it doesn’t fall apart easily, your

soil contains too much clay.

If you’re still not sure about the content of your soil, you can separate

each ingredient by using this simple method. Put a cup or two of dirt into

a jar of water. Shake the water up until the soil is suspended, then let

it set until you see it separate into 3 separate layers. The top layer is

clay, the next is silt, and on the bottom is sand. You should be able to

judge the presence of each component within your dirt, and act accordingly.

After you’ve analyzed the content of your soil, if you decide that it is

low on a certain ingredient then you should definitely do something to fix

it. If dealing with too much silt or sand, it’s best to add some peat moss

or compost. If you’ve got too much clay, add a mixture of peat moss and

sand. The peat moss, when moistens, helps for the new ingredient to

infiltrate the mixture better. If you can’t seem to manage to attain a

proper mixture, just head down to your local gardening store. You should

be able to find some kind of product to aid you.

The water content of the soil is another important thing to consider when

preparing for your garden. If your garden is at the bottom of an incline,

it is most likely going to absorb too much water and drown out the plants.

If this is the case, you should probably elevate your garden a few inches

(4 or 5) over the rest of the ground. This will allow for more drainage

and less saturation.

Adding nutrients to your soil is also a vital part of the process, as most

urban soils have little to no nutrients already in them naturally. One to

two weeks prior to planting, you should add a good amount of fertilizer to

your garden. Mix it in really well and let it sit for a while. Once you

have done this, your soil will be completely ready for whatever seeds you

may plant in it.

Once your seeds are planted, you still want to pay attention to the soil.

The first few weeks, the seeds are desperately using up all the nutrients

around them to sprout into a real plant. If they run out of food, how are

they supposed to grow? About a week after planting, you should add the

same amount of fertilizer that you added before. After this you should

continue to use fertilizer, but not as often. If you add a tiny bit every

couple of weeks, that should be plenty to keep your garden thriving.

Basically, the entire process of soil care can be compressed into just

several steps ensure the makeup of the soil is satisfactory, make sure

you have proper drainage in your garden, add fertilizer before and after

planting, then add fertilizer regularly after that. Follow these simple

steps, and you’ll have a plethora of healthy plants in no time. And if you

need any more details on an individual step, just go to your local nursery

and enquire there. Most of the employees will be more than happy to give

you advice.

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