The Dirt on Improving Soil: The Espoma Company Shares How to Improve Garden Soil

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Improve garden soil before the garden season begins

Create an organic environment from the ground up

Hands down, the best gift you can give your garden is golden soil. All your plants will be bigger, stronger and dare we say, happier!

Sunflowers bigger than the sun. Cherry tomatoes tastier than cherries. Yes! Flowers and veggies can be that good. All they need is healthy soil.

The Espoma Company shares how to boost the entire garden by starting from the ground up: the soil.

Soil, as one may have thought, is not dirt. Healthy soil is a collection of creatures, minerals and living material that holds water and nutrients like a sponge, making them readily available for plants. To continue to grow big, juicy fruits and vegetables, make sure to feed the soil.

Think of soil as a bank and continue to make deposits so withdrawals can be made when needed. Draw all of the nutrients out of it until it’s dry and clay-like, and a disappointing garden will follow.

Different Types of Soil

Soil can be clay-like, sandy or loamy. Ideally, loamy soil is well-draining and full of organic matter.

-Clay soil holds little water and air and is typically “heavy.” The particles are small and packed tightly, making drainage very slow.
-Sandy soil has large, loose particles. Although it contains lots of air, it doesn’t retain moisture well because it drains so quickly, allowing nutrients to leach through the soil.
-The ideal soil, loamy, is just the right mixture of clay, silt and sand. It holds nutrients and drains well, making it ideal for growing most fruits and vegetables.

To find out the kind of soil, thoroughly wet a patch of soil then let it dry for a day. Clay soil will remain in a tight ball and feel slippery. Soil that is gritty and crumbles is sandy. And slightly crumbly soil that stays in a ball is loamy.

The Golden Ticket to a Greener Garden: Compost

In organic gardening, compost is as good as gold! Scout’s honor.

1. Go for the Gold. There’s no such thing as too much compost. Compost adds nutrients, improves soil structure and helps retain water. Compost should make up 25 percent of each planting bed or container.

2. DIY the Good Stuff. Skip the bagged compost and make compost for free by recycling food scraps. Use a compost tumbler, and turn once a week.

3. Fashion It Faster. Jumpstart compost by adding our Organic Composter Starter, which speeds up decomposition. Then turn on the turbo by shredding scraps first.

4. Split the Spoils. Fill compost with an even split of brown and green. Green goods, such as food and garden scraps, add nitrogen while brown items, such as paper and leaves, complement with carbon.

Build Even Better Soil

Start with the composting tips above. Then take soil to the next level.

1. Take the Test. Before planting, test soil to see exactly what organic amendments it needs.

2. Curb the Chemicals. Step away from the chemical fertilizers – for the sake of garden and pets! Opt for organic fertilizers that improve soil as they break down.

3. Make It with Mulch. Now, protect golden soil with magic mulch benefits. Mulch helps moderate soil temperature, prevents soil compaction and stops weeds, too.

Hands down, the best gift for the garden is golden soil. Plants will be bigger, stronger and dare we say, happier!

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Katie Dubow
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