Preparing Your Soil (How to Guide)

How to prepare your soil for the best veggies

Starting a veggie garden? Want to grow amazing blooms and luscious fruits? Before you begin you need to address your soil and get it ready for planting. Make your soil rich with good microorganisms guarantees healthy and abundant harvests which gives your plants the perfect start to life.

Soil preparation is important because:
– Retains more water
– Produces larger harvests
– Saves time on maintenance
– High germination
– Encourages worms

Too often I see people planting out their garden and then wondering what went wrong. Generally it all comes back to site preparation. Hopefully this guide will help you correct your soil and add vital nutrition back to promote vigorous growth.

How to fix your soil, sandy, loam or clayThere are three basic types of soil: Loam, Sandy and Clay.
Loam – Loamy soil is rich in minerals, free draining and feels soft and crumbly. It’s composed of a mixture of coarser and finer particles and various amounts of natural organic matter. Perfect for growing crops.
Sandy – Sandy soil is made up of large and coarse particles which are loose. The soil tends to drain very well and become dry very easily. Add plenty of organic matter and manure into your soil to encourage water absorption.
Clay – is made up of fine particles and holds on to moisture well. Plants can become waterlogged and stunted as the soil can be heavily compacted. Add plenty of gypsum to your soil each time you turn it, this will help to break up the clay into smaller pieces along with plenty of organic matter and manure.

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Site Preparation:

TWO WEEKS BEFORE PLANTING – Start by ploughing or digging your soil in the area you wish to plant out. If you have heavy clay soil at this stage add some gypsum. You goal is to rid the area of weeds and grass.
WEEK BEFORE PLANTING – A week later come back and plough or turn your soil again. Aerating the soil is great for your plants to spread their roots. At this point I add one bucket of organic matter per square meter, 2 cups of blood and bone, 2 cups of manure.
PLANTING DAY – turn your soil again before planting. Then mulch the area and plant your seedlings, flowers or trees.
TWO WEEKS AFTER PLANTING – add a little liquid fertilizer or organic fertilizer around the base of your plant and watch them grow.
What is Organic Matter?: Organic matter is also known as compost and can be made up of anything that is natural like; veggie scraps, paper, cardboard, animal manure, garden waste, tea bags and coffee grounds. Read more about composting here.
Manure: I use cow manure and chook manure from our farm and neighbouring farms. When using cow manure I put it directly in to our soil a week before planting. Meanwhile the chook manure may go on to an area a month before planting or put into our compost system to start breaking down.
TIP – Weeds, old vegetables and mulch are great to turn into your soil as they break down over time.

What do you add to your soil?

DISCLAIMER: Images sourced from littlehouseontheurbanprairie.comsevaniskin.com and then edited by me.

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8 Comments

  1. Good advice I was just looking at the composting but there isn’t a link. Kathy

  2. This, my friend… is exactly what I needed to read! My grandma is an AMAZING gardener and me… well, I’m an impulsive gardener. She always talks about prepping soil… Me? I decide today is a good day to plant… and I plant. I am then disappointed (but not surprised) when they don’t go as well as I want. I am SO doing it right this spring… so thank you. I will be definitely using this!!

  3. hey Lizzie .. It is all about soil prep! I’ve just started reading a book called Teaming with Microbes .. Fabulous read

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