What’s The Dirt on Dirt?
Let’s talk about the very foundation of gardening: soil. If you’re a big house plant hoarder like myself, then you know how important it is to know the dirt on dirt. You wouldn’t put a monstera in a pot of sand and expect it to survive. You know most plants need an excellent little base to let their roots hang out! Plants, like us humans, need nutrients to live. Soil nutrients can get depleted that’s why it’s important to tend to your soil as much as you tend to your plants. Healthy soil means a healthy garden!
Some things you can do to replenish your garden’s foundation are:
Clear out any unwanted tenants from your soil along with any rocks or debris that may get in the way of your tilling.
Loosen up that soil! This helps plants' roots reach down to grab onto any nutrients and aids in hydration.
Adding additional nutrients through organic soil amendments such as compost, manure, peat moss, mushrooms, or old leaves.
Here's a quick sidebar about mushroom compost! Mushroom compost is what we get from mushroom farming. So, once your precious baby bellas are harvested, the by-product of straw, hay poultry litter, peat moss, and co. are then gathered (enriched by said mushrooms might I add) and create a beautiful nutritional foundation for gardens! If you want your reasoning to get a bit more technical and science-y it's because of the magical 13:1 ratio that mushroom compost is made of. We'll touch base on the nutritional components in a bit! We highly recommend checking out Americanmushroom.org to get the details on why mushroom compost is the way to go!
Since we’re in the Midwest our colder seasons are longer and can leave our soil depleted from dry winters. A hot tip for protecting your soil, and your garden, is by covering your garden beds with tarps or cardboard can keep your soil warm!
Loamy soil is the ultimate soil! This balanced sand, silt, and clay concoction is ideal for moisture, drainage, and oxygen. Loamy soil is damp but not too moist, crumbly but doesn’t crust over when it’s dry out. Basically, you want the perfect batter for your German chocolate cake bund cake!
The three main nutrients in soil are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Nitrogen (N) = strong green leaves and stable stems!
Phosphorus (P) = rugged roots and plant growth
Potassium (K) = robust resistance, a healthy immunity to diseases (and helps with flavor for your vegetable garden)
Soil pH levels are another aspect to keep in mind for the health of your soil. A pH that is too high or too low leads to issues in your plants' prosperity. That sweet spot is right in the middle between 6.0 and 7.0 on the pH scale!
Soil type can change from neighborhood to neighborhood. That’s why testing your soil is so important. That way you know what you’re working with and we can take the lead on how to best tend to your soil and do what we do best: keeping your garden happy and healthy!