Soil is the primary requirement of every landscape as the plants need soil to survive along with air and water. Soil supplies all the essential nutrients and minerals to the roots required for the survival and growth of plants.
Many people don’t pay attention to the soil and simply start planting their favorite plants in their yard. However, the right way to do so is to first prepare the soil and then plant the plants and flowers. Let us check these steps to make the best garden soil.
Test the soil
The first step in the preparation of garden soil is to test it yourself or by taking the help of a professional. Check the amount of organic material in the soil, nitrogen, and pH level. Knowing all these things can help you determine what you need to add to your soil.
Check the moisture level
It is also necessary to check the moisture in the soil. To do so, take some soil in your hand and close your hand into a fist. Suppose the soil begins to crumble through the fingers; it is fine. On the other hand, if it takes the shape of a ball, it means it is too drenched. Let it dry for a few days to work on the soil. Once the soil is ready for preparation, first of all, remove the weeds and debris.
Add organic matter
The best way to improve any type of soil is to add organic matter. Whether you have clayey soil, sandy, or having poor drainage, adding organic matter will fix most of the problems in the soil. You can add compost to the soil, and it improves it immediately with the introduction of microorganisms. The soil continues to improve as the organic matter breaks down with time.
Adjust the pH
If your soil is acidic, it can be harmful to plants. So, you need to reduce its acidity level. The addition of organic matter improves the pH level of the soil naturally. However, you can add chemicals that neutralize the acidity of the soil. These chemicals are available at the landscaping stores. You can buffer the acidic soil by adding powdered limestone in the fall. Plants like blueberries and azaleas grow better in acidic soil, but most plants grow best in alkaline soil.
Adding mulch to the soil reduces the growth of weeds and water loss through evaporation. Mulches are made of straw, grass clippings, hay, and shredded bark). They break down steadily and enrich the soil with organic matter. Also, inorganic mulches like pebbles, black plastic, fabrics, and gravel prevent quick evaporation and keep the weeds in check. The advantage of using inorganic mulches is that they do not attract pests and insects.
Although adding organic compost works well, if your soil is too deprived of nutrients, you can add fertilizer. Garden soils fertilizer comes in organic and synthetic types. Organic fertilizers improve the soil slower than synthetic types but release nutrients over a long time period. Synthetic fertilizers work fast but are harmful to the environment and can kill the microorganisms present in the soil.
Plant the cover crops
Cover crops are temporary plants sown at the beginning of the winter season. They protect the soil from erosion and also add organic material. They also prevent the growth of weeds and protect the soil from pests and disease. The winter cover crops are planted at the end of the growing season, while summer crops are planted during the growing season itself. Legumes like soybeans, cowpeas, velvet beans, and sweet clover are grown in summer and add nitrogen to the soil. When these crops are harvested, their remains are left in the soil to decay and form green manure.
If your soil is deficient in nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, you need to add them. You can try adding alfalfa meal or alfalfa pellets. Another way to add nutrients is to grow alfalfa as a cover crop in your garden as it will add nitrogen to the soil. Alfalfa also adds little amounts of potassium and phosphorus to the soil. Other than alfalfa, there is a cottonseed meal that you can buy from a feed store to enhance the nitrogen content in your soil.
Mazzega’s Landscaping supplies offer products used in the development of gardens and landscapes in Western Australia. They offer products like soil mix, mulch, bark, compost, edging, sand, and gravel for every type of landscaping. If you are located in Western Australia, you can visit their store in Kelmscott, WA, else visit their online shop.
Now, as you know the steps to make a better garden soil, you can use them to prepare the soil for your landscape. The key to preparing the best garden soil is to test it for nutrients, texture, and deficiencies and add the necessary things to make it as fertile as possible. Also, it is important to prepare the soil as per the requirements of the plants or crops you want to grow on your landscape.