This article will teach you exactly how to prepare the soil for a garden to grow your crops 2X faster.
Healthy soil is the foundation for healthy plants and an environmentally friendly environment. When your garden soil is healthy, you won’t need as many fertilizers or pesticides.
Soil can be improved each year and will continue to grow plants indefinitely if properly prepared. Soil that hasn’t been properly prepared for will soon be home for weeds.
Let’s dig in on how to prepare the soil for a garden.
To make the soil more effective, almost all gardening soils can be enhanced by having organic matter. Composition of organic matter:
1. Leaves, straw, and grass clippings are examples of plant materials. Allow time for the material to decay by working it into the soil several months before planting. The majority of gardeners do this in the winter.
2. Manure should be used and incorporated into the soil well before planting. Fresh manure should not be used because it can harm plants and introduce illnesses. For every 100 square feet, apply 30 to 40 pounds of composted manure.
3. Compost is made out of decomposed plant matter. Before planting, work it into the soil.
4. Reducing soil compaction is also a key part in improving your soil. The small animals that live in your soil form a porous structure that allows both water and air to reach your plants’ roots.
When you tread on it, especially when it’s moist, the spaces in your soil are compressed. Stick to the routes, don’t work in the rain, and prevent any additional soil disturbance if you want to develop good soil.
Now, changing the structure of your soil can also help quite a bit, if done right.
In the long run, you don’t want to till too much because it affects soil structure and life, particularly fungi and earthworms.
However, there are instances when we want to do that in order to get a lot of new organic matter and fertilizers into the soil straight soon.
When I was developing a new garden, I tilled up to 6 inches of compost, which is maybe a little excessive, but I just wanted to get it in there and not have to till again in the future.
Double digging, which is a less invasive form of tilling with a garden fork rather than a gas-powered rototiller, is also a terrific way to do this. In the video above, I demonstrate how to double dig.
Here is a useful video to start tilling.
Sheet mulching is another wonderful technique for how to prepare the soil for a garden, and it can create fantastic results if you can wait a season before planting. It eliminates the need to dig out grasses and weeds. Instead, bury them under a thick layer of soaking wet cardboard or newspaper, followed by 12-18 inches of organic materials. Here is what you need to make simple sheet mulch.
- A cardboard or newspaper layer
- 3-inch manure and/or grass clippings layer
- 9-inch layer of leaves and/or straw
- Sprinkle your fertilizers on top, mix the top two layers together to hasten decomposition, cover with at least a couple of inches of straw or leaves, and water everything.
When you look after your soil, you look after your entire garden. Adding organic matter, mulching it, and allowing it to thrive free of compaction and undue disturbance are all common ways to prepare good soil.
You’ll keep your soil bacteria and earthworms happy if you follow these guidelines, and they’ll eventually build a rich garden for all of your plants to enjoy!
Here are some more resources you may want: