Row by Row Episode 211: 4 Tips For Creating Healthy Garden Soils
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Row by Row Episode 211: 4 Tips For Creating Healthy Garden Soils

Row by Row Episode 211: 4 Tips For Creating Healthy Garden Soils

Can you turn really bad soil into good soil? Today we talk about one of the most important aspects of growing healthy plants, getting good production, and harvesting the highest quality food you could possibly eat. You will need to know these tips for building and maintaining healthy soils for a successful vegetable garden! Below are the 4 tips for creating healthy garden soils.

4 Tips For Creating Healthy Garden Soils

Soil Sample

Getting a soil sample is very important, definitely the first thing that we suggest you do. You need to know what's in your soil! It provides useful information about the chemical and physical conditions of your soil (specifically in the area you are planting). There are variables to getting your sample, such as, what time of year it's done, who does the test, and how samples are collected. We always recommend getting a soil sample to your local extension office several weeks before planting. Click here to find your local extension office.

Amend Your Soil

Adding organic matter is the best way to improve nearly most any type of soil. Adding a 5% increase in organic matter will quadruple your soil's ability to maintain water. Composting helps with water retention, it will lighten up heavy clay soils (ex. worm composting), it is free soil fertility and soil improvement!

Cover Crops

Never let your soil be bare. Using cover crops adds tons of micronutrient minerals that are not accessible. Cover Crops will protect and improve your soil, different varieties will add different benefits, so make sure you use the right kind you need based on your soil sample test. What can cover crops do?

  • Nitrogen fixers
  • Soil miners for nutrients. Daikon radish gets deep oxygenating your soil, breaking it up, and then tilled in for organic matter.
  • Green Manure, chop, and drop
  • Steals energy from the sun and air, putting it back into your soil.
  • Weed Control
  • Mulch - it's not always ideal, but could help in not losing your soil quality. Better for some plants (strawberries) than others. Mulching takes longer to build the soil than other methods

Crop Rotation

Consider crop rotation if you have soil erosion, low yields, soil crusting, or water stress for crops. Crop rotation can help manage your soil and fertility, reduces erosion, improves soil health, and will increase nutrients available for crops. Healthy soil is the backbone of "no-till" methods. Other than helping with weed management and pest control, a good crop rotation gives your soil microbes different food sources. It will assist in better crop yields, and you tend to reduce fertilizer and insecticide inputs.

Extra Tip: Know Your Soil Type

A soil's texture, most importantly its ability in retaining nutrients and water is crucial. Sandy soil drains well but heavy feeders don't do as well (ex. brassicas). Clay soil doesn't drain well, the roots lack access to oxygen and can't breathe.

Product of the Week

Cover Crops

Complete Organic

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