Are you eager to start planting this spring but worried about the quality of your soil? Our team at A Garden Patch will teach you how to turn bad soil into good soil in five simple ways so your garden can flourish this season.
The following are a few signs of damaged, nutrient-starved soil:
- The ground turns hard and forms cracks
- It’s difficult to dig in the soil
- You don’t see worms, insects, or other life under the soil
Good soil is moist, loose, and full of nutrients and organic matter. Plants typically need adequate drainage, moisture retention, food, and room to grow. Hard, compacted dirt makes it difficult for plants to spread their roots, absorb nutrients, and get air and water.
If you’d rather skip the soil-adjusting process and get straight to growing, try our Garden Patch GrowBox, an innovative garden planter that waters and fertilizes your plants for you.
1. Add Organic Matter
Organic matter is the magic behind healthy, fertile soil. Its carbon-rich compounds supply the living organisms in the soil with food, which they break down into nutrients for your plants, improving the structure of the earth. Organic matter will loosen hard clay and bolster sandy soils, providing a better balance between moisture retention and water drainage.
Examples of organic matter include manure, compost, shredded leaves, and grass clippings. Work these materials into your soil to improve the structure, help retain nutrients, and maintain healthy moisture levels. Organic matter also aerates the soil, balances pH, and protects plants from diseases.
Fixing bad soil takes a long time, but you can start your garden in minutes with a GrowBox. You only need to fill the planter with potting mix, which requires little to no adjustments. To promote a healthy balance in your GrowBox, get dolomite for your garden, an organic blend that provides tons of calcium and prevents blossom end rot.
2. Reduce Soil Compaction
Compacted earth inhibits the absorption of water and nutrients and microorganism activity, preventing roots from getting water and organic matter from turning into plant food. Soil can become compacted from the weight of snow or ice during winter, so it’s essential to allow the ground to dry out before planting.
If you try to work with soil that’s too wet and sticky, it can cause the ground to become more compressed, blocking water and nutrients further. You should avoid walking on the wet soil in your garden, instead blocking off areas where you plan to grow your plants.
With a GrowBox, you never have to worry about compacted dirt. The advanced growing system has entry points to aerate the soil, and the four-gallon water well maintains perfect moisture levels. The GrowBox is simple enough for first-time gardeners and provides greenhouse-quality produce.
3. Mulch the Surface
Mulch is an excellent way to keep your plants healthy and improve garden soil. The natural materials in mulch, such as leaves, bark, and wood chips, protect your plants from weeds, keep your soil at safe temperatures, and retain a lot of moisture. Over time, the mulch decomposes and provides your soil with nutrient-rich organic matter, slowly turning it into a healthy garden.
Mulching your garden can be a lot of work, but the Garden Patch GrowBox doesn’t need a layer of compost. The Nutrient Patch cover prevents weeds, maintains the correct temperature, perfectly spaces your plants, and releases fertilizer all season long.
4. Use Cover Crops
You can plant cover crops in your garden at the end of the season to improve your soil in various ways, including:
- Adding organic matter
- Breaking up the soil
- Increasing nutrient levels
- Curbing weed growth
- Preventing soil compaction and erosion
Kale, turnips, clover, and peas are excellent cover crops for maintaining your soil in winter. These plants protect your garden from natural processes that can hurt the soil, like erosion from wind and rain, and provide food when they eventually break down.
The GrowBox requires little maintenance during the winter and isn’t vulnerable to the same risks as a regular garden, meaning you won’t have to plant cover crops in the off-season. Instead, you simply remove the Nutrient Patch cover and the leftover fertilizer, allowing the soil and roots to compost until the growing season.
5. Rotate Crops Yearly
Rotating your plants to different areas of your garden each year prevents nutrient depletion and stops pests and diseases left in the soil from the previous season. The rule of thumb is not to plant the same type of crop in one place for three years, giving enough time for pests and pathogens to die off.
You can strategically plant your crops to maintain the health of your soil, such as planting nitrogen-producing crops in a spot that previously grew plants that consume a lot of nitrogen. With smart planning, you can keep your garden in a constant healthy balance.
Alternatively, you can choose to grow your vegetables, herbs, and other plants in GrowBoxes. You won’t have to spend countless hours preparing new garden areas to rotate your crops. With a GrowBox, your plants are growing in the perfect ecosystem within five minutes, and all you have to do is ensure the water well doesn’t become empty.
The Easiest Way To Grow Your Vegetables at Home
After reading our tips on how to turn bad soil into good soil, you might be feeling overwhelmed about how much work it can be. Fortunately, we have the perfect solution for beginner gardeners or fresh produce lovers who don’t have the time to cultivate a garden.
The Garden Patch GrowBox is a self-watering, self-fertilizing planter that can grow a bountiful harvest of vegetables and other produce without all the digging and weeding. The plant-by-numbers Nutrient Patch removes the guesswork from gardening, perfectly spacing your plants and feeding them the nutrients they need to thrive.
Order your GrowBox now from our online store, or call 800-519-1955 to order by phone.
For more gardening tips, check out our blog, where you can learn about the importance of soil pH level.