The most important part of gardening
is soil preparation. Without good soil,
gardening will be a chore and your plants
will struggle. With good soil, your plants
will grow and flourish. Healthy plants save time and money. They are also
more resistant to insect and disease problems. Good Garden Soil PDF handout
What Kind of Soil Do You Have?
Good gardeners recognize that good garden soil is actually made up of a variety of materials, defined according to their size. Sand particles are the largest of the three types of soil particles. When mixed with water, sand particles settle out of the suspension first. Silt particles settle next and are medium sized. Clay particles are the smallest size and settle on the top.
Sand provides the best drainage in a garden but it holds the least amount of water and minerals. Clay holds the most water and nutrients, but clay particles often tie up nutrients so the plants cannot use them - additional fertilizer may be required. Silty soils share some of the characteristics of both sand and clay. A combination of all three of these soil particles make the 'best mud' for your garden soil. You can test your own soil -at home- to see what kind of soil you actually have in your gardens. Click Here for a 'Simple Home Soil-Texture Test'.
Feed Your Garden Soil - not just your plants
Your garden's soil condition is the single most important part of gardening success. Without the proper soil conditions, gardening can become a chore, and your plants will not respond and grow the way you want them to grow. Some of the insect and disease problems your plants struggle with during the summer may be prevented just by making sure your soil is in good condition before you plant them.
First, remember Garden Soil is not Dirt. Dirt is the stuff you wash out of your clothes after working in the yard. Garden Soil is a complex mixture of minerals, air, water, organic matter, microbes, and other critters. Soil is full of life and deserves your attention. With good soil, gardening will be more fun. The soil will be easier to plant in, cultivate, and it will be easier to grow your plants.
Perfect soil is hard to come by in most home gardens and it may take a little extra effort to achieve. The best way to improve your garden soil is by adding Organic Materials every year. The best time to apply Organic Materials is in the fall, not in the spring.
However, most gardeners forget to add Organic Materials in the fall, so it is important to add 'well-rotted' organic materials in the spring, so you do not injure tender plants. Mix as much well-rotted manure, Bumper Crop, Ferti Mulch, Soil Pep, or other organic materials (within reason) as you can afford. Do not add fresh organic materials or your plants will actually suffer rather than respond the way you want them to.
You will be amazed how much better your soil is each year than it was the previous year. Many garden soils may take four, six, or even ten years to completely change, but you will notice an improvement each year. We have several mulch products that we hope will help you with your gardening soil projects. types of mulches handout | back to top
Top mulches have several important roles in the garden. They are even more important in 'low-water-use conditions'. Some of the most common 'Top-Mulches' include Bark Chips, Shredded Bark, Black Forest Compost, Soil Pep, Coconut Fiber, Grass Clippings, Newspaper, Weed Cloth, and Plastic sheeting. The key benefits are:
Click on the Kellogg Logo for a Complete listing of the Kellogg / Master Nursery Garden Mulch Products.
- 1. Retains soil moisture by reducing the amount of
evaporation from the soil surface.
- 2. Protects the plant roots from heat, cold, drought.
- 3. Keeps the soil cooler.
- 4. Prevents germination of unwanted weed seeds.
- 5. Helps prevent erosion from wind, rain, sprinklers.
- 6. Adds a decorative top cover to your garden. back to top
Recipe to Fix and Make a Good Garden Soil
For a quick fix of a 100 square foot area (10' x 10' x 8") deep use:
Printable PDF Handout
- 5 bags Bumper Crop Mulch. It adds organic mulch, 'trace' nutrients, and mycorrhizae.
- 5 lbs Ironite to add iron to your soil.
- 5 lbs Dr. Earth #7 All Purpose Fertilizer.
- 5 lbs Gypsum. It adds sulphur and calcium to the soil and
helps release nutrients already in the soil.
- 5 lbs Natural Guard Soil Activator. It contains Humic Acid
which organically activates the soil with Humates.
- Mix into the soil well, plant properly,
J&L's Bulk Soil and Mulch
||Bulk Soil Compost Mix
||Bulk Potting Soil
||Bulk Soil Pep
|Bulk Shredded Bark
||Bulk Small Bark
||Bulk Medium Bark
||Bulk Brown Bark
||Bulk Playground Bark
||Bulk Red Bark
||We Can Deliver
back to top
Don't Forget the Worms
Earthworms are a barometer of your soil's health. When you turn over a shovel full of black, moist soil, and spot three or four earthworms squiggling away, you know you're working with rich, healthy soil. By the same token, a lack of earthworms in your garden indicates a condition that prevents them from living there.
The presence of earthworms has a profound effect on plant performance. Plants growing in soil with earthworms will produce yields three times higher than those grown in soil without worms. These industrious wigglers have an insatiable appetite and work day and night improving the soil. As one of nature's best recyclers, earthworms feed on organic matter such as decaying leaves, roots, and any other compost.
Many homeowners are dismayed at the castings earthworms leave above the soil and try to kill them. While the bumpiness may leave you with a less-than-perfect lawn, earthworms make enormous contributions to your lawn's health. Earthworms aerate the soil so that water and air can move through the soil more freely. Earthworms also decompose thatch and create valuable nutrients. Controlling or eliminating earthworms is about as beneficial to your lawn as removing the sparkplug out of the motor of your lawnmower. Interesting Worm Facts. back to top