Now that spring has officially sprung, many gardeners are thinking about how they can have a productive and green growing season. As all planters know, the health of plants largely depends upon the health of soil. Fertile, rich soil gives plants the shelter and nutrients they need to thrive during a temperamental and often unpredictable time of the year. If you have yet to give your soil some TLC, now is the time. Maintaining soil health is a commitment, and techniques to enhance natural soil should be used congruently for the best results. Start with these simple techniques and, from there, you can customize your routine based on how well it works in your garden. The best fit is always a custom one!
Reduce Soil Compaction
In my yard, soil compaction is a reoccurring issue. Several dogs, a handful of people, and the occasional neighborhood critter are treading through our lawn on a daily basis. After a while, the soil starts to get hard and packed down, making it inhospitable to new growth. Soil compaction can be alleviated through lawn aeration, which you can do yourself at home. To prevent severe compaction, stay off of soil that is wet and consider using raised beds for planting.
Add Natural Nutrients
Though chemical fertilizers can do a great job of rejuvenating nutrient-starved lawns, they should only be used a few time of year. For year-long plant health, you should have some way of getting nutrients like nitrogen to your plants naturally. Using compost and other decomposing organic material such as dead leaves or cow manure will provide your soil with all the nutrients it needs without inundating it with chemicals. Manure may not be the best smelling thing in the world, but nothing beats it when it comes to bolstering soil health!
Erosion strips soil of its richest, most fertile top layer. Often caused by strong wind, rain, and other inclement weather, heavily eroded lawns are notoriously impossible to transform without investing in an entire lawn renovation. It’s best to prevent against erosion before it becomes a problem. Raised beds, retaining walls, and sloped yards that include rain water drains and runoff catchers all help prevent against damaging erosion.
Keep Soil Covered
For now, the weather is still unpredictable. Temperatures fluctuates from balmy to freezing within the span of a few days (or even a few hours). These extreme changes can have a deleterious impact soil health, especially over a long period of time. Thus, every season gardeners should be covering their soil with some kind of living vegetation, like straw, mulch, or leaves. Whether it’s extremely hot or extremely cold, a soil cover will keep ground temps consistent and help plants thrive regardless of weather related whims.