When you have a garden or are simply growing plants outside, then you may know that the quality of your soil is going to affect what you grow. Your plants will grow larger and healthier if they have healthy soil. Although you may not have great soil in your area, you can improve it with a few simple steps. Use these tips to ensure that your soil supports healthy growth.
Test Your Soil
Before you make any changes to your soil, it’s always a good idea to test it and see what you may be missing. There are a variety of simple DIY tests that you can use to find the pH of the dirt or any deficiencies that may be present. A local cooperative extension may be able to help you with this as well.
Add Organic Matter
Organic matter is probably the one best thing that you can do to improve your soil’s quality. Whether the dirt is low in nutrients, has poor drainage or has too much clay, organic matter will go a long way to improving its problems.
What type of organic matter should you use? Compost is probably the best choice if possible. It will improve the quality of your soil and also introduce microorganisms that will continue to improve the dirt by breaking down organic matter. You’ll especially want to do this if you’re growing a garden. Add compost in the spring and fall for the best results, although you can add at any times as well.
Adjust the PH
According to this article from The Kitchen Advisor, the type of soil you use can affect the taste of root vegetables like beets, and the acidity of the soil will have an effect as well. If your soil is too acidic, you’ll want to take steps to bring it back down to a more normal range. Many plants grow in alkaline soil, so you may want to add components that will adjust to the desired range. However, make sure to test the soil and adjust with the help of your extension service before making any major changes.
Aerate the Soil
This is a good step to take in the fall and spring. In the fall after the plants have died, aerate the soil to mix up the organic matter and do this again in the spring before you start planting. The compact soil is difficult for plants to grow so avoid stepping in the garden bed as much as possible. When you aerate the soil, you make it easier for water to be absorbed and plants to root deeply. Try to do this at least once a year when you’re not growing anything for the best results.
Although you may be struggling to grow plants in your area, you don’t have to settle for poor soil with these tips. Use this advice to help your garden grow as healthy as it possibly can. These simple tips can be used by anyone to improve their soil quality.