Saturday, February 1, 2020

Getting Your garden in Tip Top shape

Getting Ready...

Now is the time to start preparing for spring. Begin by turning soil and pulling remnants of last season out of the ground. If the soil that you are working in does not hold any perennial promise for this spring, turning the soil is good practice. This will allow you to add organic compost and get it worked in prior to the planting season. Each growing season depletes the soil of nutrients. By adding composted organic matter back to it, you are adding food for your spring plants. If you do not have your own compost, it is readily available for purchase. We sell Daddy Pete's that is made here in the Piedmont.

 If you are just planting a small area you can turn the soil with a shovel or a hoe. Remove all of the old roots and work in some new soil or compost with the existing soil. This will allow further decomposition of your compost prior to new plants being added. If you are working in a larger area you may want to til your soil to loosen it and then rake all the old root matter out. Some root matter is good. You just don't want to have too many old root systems hampering the new ones. 
 If you choose you can add a thin layer of mulch to your area to help keep the soil moist and loose until planting. Pine needles or shredded leaves make excellent mulch.
 If you are starting a new area, you will need to remove all the sod. Loosen the soil that is left then add compost or planting mix and be sure to mix it up well, to a depth of at least 6 to 8 inches.
 As I sit here writing this informative piece for this blog, I am haunted by the fact that I have not yet done any of this for myself. We are all very busy in today's world and if you are like me, you don't get to spend as much time being one with nature as you would like.
 So I have broken this down into a printable shareable chart that will allow you to get it done before spring and not have to work yourself to a near-death experience all in one weekend.
Click here for PDF
 Be sure that anything from last season goes into your compost to aid in feeding the garden next year.  You can even compost weeds if you use the hot compost method. This method kills the seeds and most pathogens so there is no need to worry about this causing weeds in your soil later, though they will show up uninvited by other means I am sure. I personally like to add my kitchen scraps (plant-based and eggshells but no oils or fats) and my old potting soil to my compost heap.

When you begin to use your compost be sure that it has reached a satisfactory level of decomposition. You should see dark rick soil within the heap, probably closer to the bottom of the pile but if you have been turning your compost regularly then it should have a fairly uniform level of decomposition throughout.

Adding compost to your soil is very important before planting. Especially if you are using the same area or the same pots as last year. That soil has been depleted of most of its nutrients that are vital for healthy plant growth. I cannot stress enough, when you are planting new plants it is imperative that you prepare the area before you plant to give your plants the best chance at surviving and flourishing.

Find more information on composting at the link below.

Happy Gardening!

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