The foundation of any garden is the soil and if it is treated correctly it will reward you. The soil in your garden needs to be improved and conditioned each year to meet the demands of the weather and cultivation. If you need to improve the quality of your soil, there are a few methods that you can use.
Boost Your Soil With Cow Manure
Farmyard manure from chickens, horses, cows or sheep will have trace element content and be high in nutrients. This makes it ideal for boosting the quality of your soil. The manure boosts the nutrient content while helping the structure of the soil. It also releases the nutrients slowly into the growing bed over the course of the season. If your soil has excessively high nitrogen levels, well-rotted manure that has been left to break down over months will reduce this.
Use Garden Compost
This is a soil booster that requires little effort and will be readily available when you need it. Garden and kitchen waste will need to be left to naturally decompose with the help of micro-organisms. This will form a friable and light material that adds nutrients to the soil. To get a well-balanced compost, you need a mixture of nitrogen and carbon-based materials that have all the necessary nutrients to boost your soil.
Add Some Seaweed
Traditionally, seaweed has been added to soil in coastal regions because it provides high nutrient content and is easy to come by. Seaweed offers a lot of nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium for your soil which is needed for healthy plant growth. Fresh seaweed can be added to the soil like manure or you can place it on the garden beds like mulch. You can also get this in a powdered or liquid form to add to your garden.
Use Some Leaf Mould
Leaf mould is made from fallen leaves and is great for conditioning your soil. You need to collect leaves in fall and create a sheltered heap in the garden or store them in plastic bags. The leaves should be left to rot for up to two years. The crumbly mixture that is left will have little in the way of nutrients but can be mixed with compost for seed-slowing. Leaves from alder, oak, hornbeam, and beech are the best for this,
Grow Vegetables In Mushroom Compost
Mushroom compost is the leftover material from mushroom farming and will have high organic matter content. This is ideal for use as a mulch or to maintain the composition of the soil. The compost is alkaline and will not be suitable for acid-loving plants.
Fish, Bone, And Blood
This creates an organic and general-purpose fertilizer that offers a slow-release. The mixture will promote strong plant growth and provide the nourishment the plants require. When plants take up these nutrients, it will be on an as needed basis which reduces the chance of overfeeding.
Bark is a waste product from the timber industry, but it is ideal for mulch. It can also improve the aeration and drainage of clay soils. Bark does not offer nutrients, but has a high carbon content that can be beneficial when there is excess nitrogen present.
Adding Sand Or Grit
If you have heavy clay soils, you need to improve the drainage and help them release the nutrient content. This can be done by adding sand or grit, but you need to be careful. Less than 50% sand will make the soil worse.
Use Ericaceous Compost
This is a soil conditioner that is completely lime-free. This makes it acidic enough for plants like camellias, blueberries, rhododendrons, and azaleas.
Use Green Manure
Green manure comes from plants that are sow in beds after the main crop has been harvested. The foliage acts as a weed barrier. The plant is then dug into the bed while green to return the nutrients to the soil.
You can also purchase soil amendments for your garden to improve the quality of your soil.
I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.
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