When you are starting to get your garden together, there are a lot of things that you need to think about. One of the most important parts of any gardening project is the topsoil.
The first thing you need to know about topsoil is what types of soil are out there. There are three general kinds of fill dirt. You can get loam, clay or sandy soil.
- Loam: The best kind of soil is loam. It is packed with nutrients and is good for drainage. The thing about this kind of soil is that it may be too acidic or basic for the plants you are looking to put in. You can test the pH to make sure it will be good for your flowers and plants.
- Clay: Soils with clay are heavy. They are not great for drainage. If this is what you have around your home, you should look at adding some compost and sand. That will break up the density. You need to feed your plans with more fertilizer if you are using this kind of soil.
- Sand: Soils that have a lot of sand are the opposite, in terms of drainage, of clay. The problem they present is that water just flows through putting you in the position to add more water, more often. Compost is good to add to any soil but it is most helpful when you are working with sandy soils.
There are a few problems with topsoil that pop up on a regular basis. Here are a few things you can expect to experience with your soil for gardening and what you can do when you do.
- Inadequate water drainage through the soil. This is really a Goldilocks problem. Too much drainage and your plants do not get a chance to absorb the water they need. Too little drainage and the roots of your plants will literally drown. You need to pay attention to this and take steps to make sure you plants have the access to water and oxygen that they need to thrive. You can put in a pipeage system or you can build raised flower beds.
- Topsoil can have the wrong acidity for your garden. You can buy a kit to test your garden’s oil (you should do this when you first out your garden together so you know what the baseline is for your soil). If you are really concerned, you can also have professionals analyze your soil for both the pH and the nutritional content. If you have soil that is too acidic, adding lime will make it more basic (alkaline). if your soil is too basic, adding sulfur can help with that. You can get good fertilizers that have sulfur in them from your landscape supply store.
- Make sure your soil has the right nutrients. Make your own compost. Many people use compost in their gardens to keep their plants healthy and happy. This is also a good way to reduce your carbon footprint as food that is sent to landfills contributes greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Use at least three bins for your compost. One will have compost that is ready to go to the garden, one will have a mix of new and mature compost and the last will have the newest compost.
- Get the right amendments for your soil. There are a number of options out there for amendments for soil. You can get compost from mushrooms or manure. One of the first things you should do is spread a layer of the amendment of your choice on top of your topsoil. Mix this with the topsoil that is already there.
Proper preparation of your topsoil is one of the very best things you can do to get your garden looking healthy and happy. One thing that many people find about their topsoil that they think is a problem but is not, is the presence of bacteria. Bacteria help materials decompose but they also take nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it biologically available. You should not be alarmed when you find you have it in your soil.
Gardening can be a very relaxing activity and having a pretty garden will increase the value of your home.