Organic amendments will help correct soil deficiencies in a new garden plot.
In many new housing developments the topsoil has been scraped away and sold, or heavy equipment has compacted the soil. You can help correct your soil's deficiencies by adding soil amendments such as compost, manure, peat moss and other organic material. Inorganic amendments – such as sand, phosphorus or gypsum – may also be necessary. Broadcast amendments over the soil to a depth of 2" to 3".
Your soil may also benefit from the addition of a slow-release fertilizer. Greensand, a popular amendment, contains potassium, iron and other nutrients necessary for healthy plant growth. Gypsum supplies calcium and is said to loosen clay soils.
Once you've broadcast the amendments over the soil, use a rake to distribute them evenly. Use a rototiller or cultivating fork to incorporate them. Dig into the soil as deeply as possible: at least 12" to 18".
Never dig or till wet soil – you could destroy its structure. Hold a ball of soil in your hand and compact it. If it crumbles easily, you can cultivate the soil. If the ball stays compacted, it's too damp, and you should wait another day or two.
Once you've incorporated the amendments, you're ready to plant.
Soil Preparation for Perennials
Perennial plants live in the same place for many years, so it's important to start them out in good soil.
Learn key basics about fertilizer that will help you select the right type based on your soil composition and growing conditions.
The Benefits of Compost
Often called "black gold," compost is valued for giving plants a boost when added to the soil of garden beds. Learn how to give your compost pile the jumpstart it needs.
Simple Soil Tests
A few simple tests can determine what you need to do to help your soil and improve your gardening results.
Organic Plant Health Care
Learn how to add some compost and compost tea to organic plants instead of fertilizer.
Organic Garden Additives
Instead of using store-bought chemicals, organic gardeners take a simpler approach to fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Effective versions of each can be mixed up using ingredients already close at hand and a basic kitchen blender.
Preparing Soil for a Garden
Learn how important it is to thoroughly prepare soil for the garden.
Fall Soil Preparation
Learn how amending garden soil in the fall can make things a lot easier come spring.
Learn about some of the unusual but effective practices of organic gardening.
An Eco-Friendly Way to Win the War against Weeds
Keeping weeds from crowding your squash crop doesn't have to mean lots of harsh chemicals. Here are some natural, easy solutions from DIY.
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