Whatever you are growing, be it vegetables, fruits, herbs, lawn or even flowers, it is necessary to have perfect vegetable garden soil for your plants. With the ideal soil mix for your garden, problems like pests and diseases attacking your vegetables will be rare, and your plants will grow and even look better.
All that is required is a little savoir-faire, patience, and hard work and you will have the perfect soil for your plants regardless of the soil began with in the first place.
What Are The Characteristics of Healthy Garden Soil?
Knowing the appropriate soil for your plants may be a daunting task, but it is very crucial in ensuring the success of your crops. Even though fertility is the central aspect of healthy garden soil, other qualities involved are:
- Excellent Texture
Healthy soil for gardening should be crumbly and have a rough texture just like cookie crumbs.
- Well Balanced pH
Soil pH is the soil’s acidity. Soil pH affects the mineral content in the soil. For a well-balanced pH, the soil must be neutral, not too acidic and not too alkaline.
- Sufficient Organic Matter
Organic matter is the remains of animals and plants that are decomposed. Organic matter is also the humus. Humus has numerous benefits: it improves soil texture, provides nutrients to crops and helps in soil aeration and also improves soil drainage.
The Three Main Soil Types to Consider
You should be able to know the various structures of soil before preparing your garden soil.
- Clay Soil: This is a sticky type of soil. Due to its sticky properties and tiny particles, it forms huge lumps. Even though it is more fertile than other soil structures, it is not the best for planting due to its poor texture.
- Sandy Soil: It is easier to convert sandy soil to healthy garden soil than clay soil however it is not fertile. It has a high drainage rate preventing it from retaining nutrients.
- Loamy Soil: This is referred to as the perfect garden soil and what we are trying to achieve as the end result. It has the perfect texture, pH and full of organic matter.
How to Create The Perfect Garden Soil?
As we mentioned above, your plants require good healthy soil. If your soil is too lumpy, rocky, waterlogged or lacks nutrients; your plants won’t grow according to your expectations. To prepare the perfect garden soil, we advise you to follow the steps below.
Step 1: Clear the desired area; Clear up all debris; remove any traces of unwanted weeds, grass, and even stones. You can use a spade or a hoe to remove grass or use glyphosate to kill grass then till afterward.
Step 2: Loosen soil; Using a garden fork, dig the soil to a depth of 8-12 inches, this will ensure any soil becomes broken down, this improves the soil texture and also improves drainage.
Step 3: Improve the soil composition; Add some compost or fertilizer evenly and mix with the soil using a fork. This is important as the compost will add nutrients and micro-organisms that will benefit your vegetables or plants. To achieve an optimum pH, add sulfur or lime according to the results of your soil test. You can test your soil pH yourself at home. Check out The Spruce for more details on how to test soil pH.
Step 4: Level the soil using a rake ensuring your soil is even and smooth in preparation for planting.
For better results, we recommend building a raised garden bed and putting the healthy garden soil on top especially if your soil is too rocky. You can also do your planting in flower pots or containers.
For tips on building Raised Garden Beds check out Lowes, and also view how to plant in containers from Better Homes And Gardens. Consistency is required; adding compost regularly will ensure your soil will improve in all aspects throughout the year. The result should be a deep dark, organic soil that retains moisture, full of nutrients with superb drainage.
We tend to call this soil “Black Gold.” If you require more information on how to create the ideal garden soil for vegetables we recommend viewing this video for more insights.
Video by SeedToPlate