Does soil really make a difference? YES, good soil does make a difference on anything you plan to plant in it. Plants often come with directions or information on type of soil that should be used. Most plants need good drainage, but some do just fine with bad drainage (more clay). Some like “wet feet”, some can’t be allowed to dry out- Dirt matters. Before you start to plant or design, make time to adjust the soil first.
Most often you will need to add soil amendments to improve your soil. A good garden soil is deep, loose, fertile, well-drained, near neutral, and has a lot of decayed organic matter. Soil is usually low in organic matter for structure and water retention. Often its needed to alter the soil’s pH level. It also is excellent for lightening clay or rocky soil or adding substance for sandy soils. A general recommendation is to add about 3inches of soil amendments to about 6-8 inches deep if your current soil.
Clay soils provide slow water penetration and hold moisture well. Sandy soils have low water holding capabilities and can loose nutrients you add with the quick flow of water. By adding organic matter, you will help balance out either of these type of soils you may have.
Here are some good ideas for amendments:
- Deciduous tree leaves
- Needles from conifers
- Bark, sawdust or shavings
- Peat moss
- Pet Rabbit droppings 🙂
- Grass clippings/vegetable trimmings
(Straw and manure often carry many weeds with them)
Good planning makes a good garden!