all about soil

I have had a lot of questions about the importance of soil amendment. It's definitely not the fun part of gardening, but it's the most important part. Too often I see people plant beautiful and expensive plants in really poor soil. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you put a $2 plant in $20 hole.
When we first bought our home we had horrible soil. Nothing was thriving or worth salvaging so we tore everything out and began amending. Every Spring these are products I use to prepare my beds. You want two things, organic matter that will soften and break down your soil and mulch or soil pep that helps retain water. Your soil should be so soft you could push a pencil through with minimal effort. After I prep all my beds I turn on my sprinklers or better yet, I try to do all this before rain is in the forecast. You want everything to get a good soak.

1.What does it mean to amend soil?
To amend soil means to improve it with additional materials. These soil amendments or soil conditioners improve the physical nature of soil. They reduce compaction, aerating the soil to allow water and nutrients to more easily move through it and reach plant roots. 
2.What tools do I need to amend soil?
Garden fork, shovel, small rake.
3. Do I need to amend my soil even if I am not planting anything new?
Yes, I do it every single year and we have mostly perennials.
4.Where do you get your soil?
Lowes, Home Depot, local nursery. I like Glover Nursery, they seem to have the biggest selection of plants, trees, soil.
5. How do you add the soil pep?
Dig in the peat moss and manure in places that annuals or new plants will go. Then spread the soil prep on top of the ground around the other areas.
6. What happens if you didn't properly amend your soil to begin with? Do I pull the plants up and try again?
No! Don't pull anything up, just add on top and mix with a garden fork. It's like a big salad, just turn it over and mix.
7. If you have mulch on top do you just dig in out and replace it after you've amended the soil?
No, just mix it in. It may look like a lot of soil, but it will settle and sink in. 
8. How much time do you spend maintaining your garden? 
In Spring/Summer 1-2 hours a day. I know that seems like a lot, but I truly enjoy it and it brings be a lot of joy. Dead heading all my flowers at night is like therapy for me. 
9. Do you plant new flowers each year? 
I used to plant a lot more annuals, but it can tend to get expensive and a lot of work for just a season. Over the years I‘ve learned I prefer to size and scale of perennials. 
10. Do you have a gardener? 
I usually have someone help me with Fall/Spring clean up and help me with the soil. My husband doesn’t enjoy gardening as much as I do, so I do the majority of the yard work. Although he does mow the lawn. 😉
Hopefully this helps, don't overthink it. Your main goal is having a nutrient rich space for your plants to thrive. Happy gardening!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published