Do you garden? I have had a wide variety of gardens over the years, ranging from pots on a back porch, to raised beds. I enjoy growing a garden year after year because I like having fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs at my disposal for making delicious meals. Now that I have a child, also I see it as a great way to get my kid outdoors to have some fun and teach her some valuable skills. She just loved going out every day last year to pick tomatoes and check out all the butterflies. I can’t wait to see how much she enjoys it this year now that she’s walking and talking!
If you haven’t started already, now is the time to start prepping your garden for all your summer blooms, fruits, and vegetables. Here are a few basics that you can do, to create a foundation for a successful garden.
PREPARE THE SOIL
A good crop starts with the right foundation. Your soil is a living ecosystem that helps plants grow, so it is best to check your soil and amend it before you start putting plants, or seeds in the ground.
All soil can be improved. Have you checked your soil lately? Is it sandy? Is it thick like clay? You want your soil to be well balanced with sand, silt, and clay so there is good aeration and drainage. Having good aeration and drainage will ensure that there’s enough oxygen getting to your plants’ roots to help it grow.
Ship’s Tip: A good soil should be a balanced blend of about 50% sand, 30% silt, and 20% clay.
My #1 garden tool to help me prepare my soil (and do a whole host of other things too!) is the MANTIS tiller. It is a high powered, compact tool, that can till your soil, dig holes, and make rows for planting seeds. It is awesome!
You can also improve your soil by adding organic matter to your soil, in the form of compost, peat moss, or manure (or a combination of the three).
Organic matter makes any soil healthier by helping hold nutrients in the soil and by aiding in the aeration and drainage of soil.
Compost is a great way to reduce waste in your home and increase the fertility of your land and soil. As an organic gardener, this is my alternative to synthetic fertilizers, and it’s free!
Composting is all about decomposition that is done by many microorganisms living in the soil. A lot of this stuff can happen with minimal effort on your part, but to create an environment where microorganisms can grow and multiply you want to make sure your compost is composed of: 1. 1 source of carbon, 2. A source of nitrogen, 3. Adequate moisture, and 4. Oxygen.
Make sure your compost is composed of: 1. A Source of Carbon, 2. A source of Nitrogen, 3. Adequate Moisture, and 4. Oxygen to help Metabolize Things
Did you know that a single earth worm can digest and recycle its own weight in compost every day?
Material you can add to compost:
- Grass Clippings
- Pine Needles
- Kitchen Scraps
If you have a bunch of leaves or sticks around your yard, it is best to chop them up with a wood chipper before adding to your compost pile. Leaves can just be mowed over and then added to your compost if you do not have a wood chipper.
What to Avoid in Compost Piles:
- Coal Ash
- Colored Paper
- Diseased Plants
- Pet Litter
- Pet Droppings (unless your pet is an herbivore like a horse or cow)
- Animal Products (bones, meat, oils)
- Seems and Pits (slow to decompose and attract rodents)
If you have the space in your yard, a COMPOST BIN is a great tool to help mix your compost, and speed up the decomposition process. It also looks a lot better than a heap of decomposing banana peels in your yard. 😉
These two tips are pretty basic if you think about it, but a creating a great foundation and putting a little extra work into your garden early on, will help all your plants flourish throughout the growing season with minimal effort from you.
Shop all your garden essentials here:
What are you planting in your garden this year? Stay tuned for more green thumb related posts this spring and summer, and be sure to subscribe to Ship’s HQ to get all my posts straight to your inbox!