Are you ready to get down and dirty to spruce up your home? Gardening is one hobby that will give you a huge return on your investment. Flower beds, trees, and shrubs add to your home’s curb appeal and value. Planting a vegetable garden will provide you with fresh produce for a good part of the year.
No matter what you choose to plant, you’ll be supporting the local environment and reducing your carbon footprint as well. But before you put any plants in the ground, make sure the ground is ready.
Here’s how to prepare your soil for a blooming spring garden.
Pick a Sunny Spot
You may be tempted to choose a spot in the yard that’s most convenient for you. However, many times the most comfortable place in the yard is not the most productive. Plants need full sun to grow well, which means the area should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Check your yard multiple times during a sunny day to find the best location for your spring garden. Make sure to choose a spot that is easily accessible for you and somewhat protected from predators and the wind.
Clear Away Debris
For the best preparation of garden soil, start with a clean slate. Pull weeds and clear out any debris like branches, dead plants, or trash. Ridding your garden of weeds, no matter how young they are, will help keep your garden free of these pesky intruders in the coming months.
Loosen the Soil
You can either plant your spring garden in the topsoil of the yard or build raised beds to offer better soil quality. No matter the type of soil you’re using, it’s crucial to break up the top layer before planting. You can rent a garden tiller, or borrow one from the neighbor, to make this job more manageable. Elbow grease and a spade are other ways that you can loosen the top foot of soil.
Test the Soil
Pick up a test kit at a local garden center to check your soil for the right nutrients. The test is easy to use and will help you determine what kind of soil you have and what you need to add to the land to make it more receptive to plant growth. Aim for a pH level of 6.5 for best plant growth. You can also take a sample to your local extension office where they’ll test the soil and make recommendations on any additives you may need.
Understand Soil Texture
Soil texture has a lot to do with the success or failure of your garden. Sandy soil has a hard time holding onto nutrients due to its quick-draining capacity. Silty soil is more fertile but doesn’t drain very well. Clay soils are hard and compact making it tougher for root vegetables to grow. Knowing how much sand, silt, or clay is in your soil is vital to understanding which plants will thrive in your garden.
Add Some Energy
Add compost to the soil to give plants the needed energy they need throughout the season. Compost also helps the soil hold water which can be useful during hot, dry patches of the summer. You can buy compost or create your own compost pile. Mix in the compost to the top layer of soil for an even texture and base for plants.
Plant and Mulch
Now comes the fun part! Choosing which plants to grow. Remember to space them far enough apart so that they can fully mature. Mulch around plants to help cut down on weed growth and to help the soil retain water.
The preparation of the soil is a vital part of having a successful and beautiful spring garden. Paying extra attention to the ground at the beginning of the season will reap mature plants that produce well. Here’s to a bountiful harvest!