Enriching Your Garden’s Soil

Credit: The Dirt Bag

Sometimes, Mother Nature needs a little nudge.

The cornerstone of a healthy, bountiful garden is the soil. You ever seen one of those farming movies where the farm is going out of business and the owner is like “we can’t grow anything in this soil!” Yeah, bad soil means no garden for you. Now, luckily, most gardening soil is very receptive to plants, especially because a backyard garden is obviously not the same thing as a struggling movie farm. But if you’re having some trouble getting some sprouts, there are a couple of tricks you can try to give your soil a little chutzpah.

Plants receive nutrients from organic matter. In other words, manure and compost. You can make your own compost with scraps from the kitchen trash and bit of patience, but the good stuff usually comes right from the source: animal waste. If your dog did his business in the yard, don’t just bag it and chuck it, put it to work for you! Unpleasant as it is to think about, you can’t argue with the results, though manure should be used in moderation. If you drop a giant lump of the stuff right onto your soil, it won’t get properly absorbed into the ground. It’ll just sit there and smell.

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If you want to keep your soil fertile between seasons, grow cover crops. Something simple like beans or grasses will help your soil to become a little more complex without taking up too much space or resources, and when the time comes for the real stuff, just chop ’em down and use them for mulch.

A garden’s soil is sort of like a microcosm of the circle of life. Natural things go in, decompose, and fuel the growth of what comes next. It’s a beautiful thing, really.