We all want the kind of vibrant gardens we see in magazines, and while we can make sure that we plant where there’s lots of light and give enough water, the soil plays a crucial feature in our success, whether we’re gardening in San Francisco. Making your garden’s soil so healthy that it adds vigor to any plants you choose is a great way to get better at gardening and keep your garden lush for a long time.
Rotate Vegetable and Flower Crops
Every plant sends some nutrients into the soil through its roots and takes other nutrients for use. It stands to reason that planting the same thing in the same spot each year will deplete the nutrients, mainly if you aren’t using a tailored nutrient fertilizer to replenish what has been taken. The easiest way to keep your soil thriving and varied is to rotate where you plant your crops of vegetables and flowers each year. This can also help you keep pests at bay when they never quite know where their favorite munchable vegetable will grow and can’t become as entrenched a problem.
Add Compost and Other Nutrients Based on Soil Testing
When you test your soil and send it to a lab or the local agriculture bureau, they can help you know whether there are any concerningly low levels of nutrients, allowing you to customize additives to your soil. However, a good compost mix will almost always add to the ground in a good way; compost from your home creates new life when you let it decompose and then put it in your garden beds.
Cover Crops Plowed Each Year. Rejuvenate the Soil
Over the winters, if you choose to plant a cover crop, you’ll help to hold the soil in place and prevent erosion (ask your local nursery what the best cover crops are for your chosen cover season) while adding back nutrients that might have been depleted. If the cover crop isn’t edible, and honestly, even if it is, you can plow it under before your next growing season, adding decomposing compost to your soil and making it even healthier.
Pay Attention to Aeration, and Don’t Compact Your Soil
While the composition of your soil is essential, it is hard for plants to thrive in compacted soil, especially soils with high clay content that can’t access as much air and water. Once you till for the year, don’t walk on your ground and pay attention to how you water, since gushes of water can flood the soil and reduce the air pockets you’ve perfectly created in the earth for the plant’s future health.