While some of us are lucky enough to have backyards and planters with excellent and nutritious soil, ready for planting, others aren’t so lucky. Some plots have rocky or sandy soil that is dry, hard and devoid of nearly all life that is essential for healthy plants to grow. If this is the case for you and your garden, here are some helpful tips for creating the perfect environment for your plants to thrive!
You might think soil is just dirt, but the truth is that soil is made up of a fine mixture of organic and non-organic compounds that come from broken and weathered bits of rock. These rock bits contain valuable minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, which just like our bodies, is required for plants to begin to grow. No minerals no plants! You can purchase a mixture of vital minerals at nearly any gardening store to add to your gardening plot.
Although you don’t need much of it to create an optimal gardening soil environment, organic matter is absolutely necessary. Not only does it help retain moisture and other nutrients needed by the plant, but it is also the main source of food for soil life like earthworms and other bacteria (more on that below). I’ve found that composting your own food and organic waste is the best way to add organic matter to your soil.
Air and Water
Making sure your soil is properly aerated and moisturized is also essential for the survival and optimal living conditions for your earthworms and other garden life (you’ll notice that keep your soil health has a lot to do with supporting the micro-life forms living in it). Before planting your seeds, make sure to loosen the ground with a rake or garden trowel and avoid compacting or stepping on the ground after planting. Once it is properly loosened, add a bit of water to help hydrate the soil and prepare it for life!
While many people actually purchase different forms of garden life, like earthworms and such, it isn’t actually all that necessary. Throughout my years of gardening, I’ve found that if you create a conducive enough environment for these life forms to thrive in, they will naturally start showing up. With my current garden, not even after a couple weeks following the planting, I started noticing a host of soil life begin to establish itself in my planters.
Essentially, soil life takes the organic matter and soil minerals you added to the plot and converts it into compounds that your plants need to grow and produce delicious fruit and vegetables. So make sure to support the life in your garden and in return, it will keep your plants healthy and strong with nutrient-rich soil!