Whether you’re new to gardening or well-seasoned, the secret to gardening success is in the soil. Let’s face it, we all want the same things: bigger fruit, bountiful crops and all-around healthier plants.
Maintaining healthy soil that’s rich with nutrients will give plants their best shot.
Start from the ground up to give plants exactly what they need.
6 Secrets to Create Better Dirt:
1. Conduct a soil test
A soil test measures how acidic or alkaline your soil is. If yours has too much of either, plants won’t absorb the nutrients they need. Most plants grow best when the soil pH is in near-neutral, between 6.0 and 7.0, but there are some exceptions.
Blueberries and potatoes, for example, love acidic dirt, so a pH above 7.0 will not make them happy.
2. Mix in compost
Compost brings life to the soil. It adds nutrients, improves dirt structure and helps retain water. Either buy it bagged or create your own. Compost can also help fruit and vegetable plants fight off common diseases.
3. Add amendments
Based on the results of your soil test, either increase the pH of very acidic soil using lime or use sulfur to lower pH. Mix or scratch amendments directly into the dirt around the plants’ root zones. Ask an associate at The Home Depot Garden Center for assistance with correcting your soil.
4. Fertilize regularly
Use an organic fertilizer specific to the plants in your garden to boost nutrients and enhance harvest. Fertilizers come in many varieties from liquid to granular, so choose one best suited to your needs.
If growing vegetables, you’ll want to use organic and slow-release fertilizers. Follow package instructions to know when and how often to feed.
5. Don’t forget to mulch
A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch does a world of wonders for plants and soil. It helps moderate soil temperature, prevents soil compaction and stops weeds. Add organic mulch around edible plants to keep moisture in, block weeds and provide added nutrients.
But remember to never volcano your mulch around the base of your plants. Not sure how much mulch you’ll need? Estimate it with our mulch and soil calculator.
6. Whack the weeds
Weeds not only look unsightly but they also rob nearby plants of water and nutrients. Pull them by their roots or smother them using mulch. Learn more ways to whack your weeds.