To have healthy, blooming plants, you need to have a good base for them to grow in. Good quality soil is also critical in minimizing the presence of weeds and pests.
Improving and maintaining the condition of your soil requires some time and effort. A renowned professional in lawn care in Cortland, New York shares five tips to keeping your soil in top condition.
1. Nourish the soil
Much like any other living organism, every human being has basic needs such as food, water, air, and shelter. However, food for the soil comes in the form of organic materials.
The autumn season is the best time to feed your soil. By adding them during the colder months, you are giving the soil time to absorb the nutrients from any organic materials you add on top of it. Once spring starts, your garden will be ready for a new set of plants.
Chop organic material such as apples and kitchen food, leaves, and other organic materials you can find in and around your garden. Nitrogen-rich manure, mineral phosphorus, and lime can also be added to the mix.
Mix them together and sprinkle them over the soil. With a heavy hoe, cover the mixture with approximately two inches of topsoil and some mulch. Once done, you can wait for nature to do its work.
Be cautious when applying animal manure. Since pathogens can exist inside organic fertilizer, it is recommended that you wait a few months between adding manure to the soil and when harvesting the yield from your garden. This is especially true if you are harvesting ground vegetables such as root crops.
2. Plant cover crops
Experts in lawn care in Vestal, New York recommend using a cover crop to improve the quality of your soil. There are several options available depending on the season you want to start planting. Plants such as phacelia and buckwheat are great during the warm summer months while clover is better suited for the cooler autumn season.
Cover crops are used as a natural way to provide the soil the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Similar to worms, cover crops also work in keeping the land loose while protecting the soil from weeds and pests at the same time.
Once you feel the soil is ready for planting, you can remove the crop cover. The plants can then be added to the land to function as mulch for your next lineup for flora.
3. Test the soil
A soil test kit is an indispensable tool for any aspiring gardener. It is needed whether you are working with a new yard or checking if the soil is lacking any nutrients.
Give your soil a nutrient test sometime between the late summer to early fall months. Send the samples to a nearby certified lab. Based on the results you get back, create a plan on what you need to do to improve the condition of the soil in your garden and when.
4. Aerate the soil
Choose the tools you will use in your garden carefully. Machine tools such as rototillers may make aerating the ground easier, but you also run the risk of killing beneficial organisms and damaging the soil structure.
Stick to digging with a garden fork. Garden forks provide you with more control in loosening the soil without killing helpful organisms living underground such as earthworms.
5. Create permanent plant beds
A basic but significant rule among experienced gardeners is to avoid stepping on garden soil as much as possible. What you can do is to create garden beds to prevent any foot traffic on your plants.
Build pathways between the garden beds. This is a creative way to design the look of your garden while giving you access to different beds. Pathways also make it easier to add organic material and install irrigation.
Do a manual test before planting. You can do this by squeezing a handful of soil. If the earth is wet, reschedule the planting to a week after to give your soil time to dry.
Now that you are better prepared to do some yard work, you can be confident that with continuous TLC, you can expect to grow lovely and healthy plants in your garden.
Just be sure to apply these simple tips to keep the soil in lawn and garden healthy and fertile.