How To Revive Your Garden In The Spring
The most important part of your garden isn't the plants that you sow. The key to success is the soil below your plants. If this does not have the right consistency and nutrients, then your garden cannot grow as well as it should. When you are getting your garden ready for a new season, start by preparing the soil. Early spring is the time to do this, and you will reap the rewards through the rest of the year.
1.) Sample To Determine Your Soil Composition
Ideally, you want to have loose, dark topsoil for your garden, which is full of organic material and natural nutrients. If you already have this, then your plants will love it, but many gardens have less than ideal soil. Check the soil in your garden, and find out if you have too much sand, too much clay, or a good mix. If you aren't sure, take a sample to a local garden center, and ask for an expert’s opinion.
2.) Add Amendments To Improve Your Soil
If your soil is too sandy, it will drain too quickly. In this case, add some organic matter like compost or peat moss, to help retain water in the soil. If your soil has too much clay, then it will harden when it is dry, and hold too much water when it is wet. For clay soil, you can add pine bark fines, gypsum, or ceramic pellets to break it up. You may even want to add a layer of topsoil to give your plants a better growing environment.
3.) Test Your pH Level
Before you add any fertilizers, test for the current pH level and nutrient composition of your soil, so that you know what you need. You can get a test kit from a local garden center, buy one online, or send in a soil sample for remote analysis. You can contact the USDA for more information.
4.) Add Compost And Fertilizer
If you have your own compost pile, you can mix some of this rich organic matter into your soil to prepare it for spring planting. If you don't compost yourself, you can purchase this at a local garden center. The best fertilizer to use will depend on the current composition of your soil. Ask for advice, buy the appropriate fertilizer, and simply add it to your garden.
5.) Aerate The Soil
Till the soil in your garden well, to mix in soil amendments, compost, and fertilizer. This also breaks up the ground, making it easy for new plants to get started. When soil is too compacted, there is not enough air and it can squeeze off nutrients, so turning it thoroughly allows air into the ground and reopens the pathways.
6.) Plan Your New Garden
This is the time when you can envision what you want for your new garden. Think about what you had last year, and decide what changes you want to make. What worked well last year, and what didn't work so well? What new flowers or vegetables would you like to try this year? Keep a journal with notes from each season, and jot down ideas for new plants. Now you're ready to get that new garden started.
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