It’s the Soil, Silly

Whether you’re tending a small flower garden or trying to sustain your family with a large vegetable garden, it’s vital to know your soil. For many people, soil is an afterthought—it’s the stuff that your kids drag in on their clothes and toys. However, soil is more than dirt; it’s what helps your plants thrive.

Many people, especially those just starting out, may hit up the soil amendments aisle at their local nursery and purchase the lot. Or, they may not augment their soil at all and then wonder why their petunias are keeling over and their crops aren’t growing. If you want a bountiful garden, you have to find out what’s going on with your soil.

How's my soil?
How’s my soil?
  • If you want to know more about your soil, check out this article from Houzz: The Simple Secret to Gardening Success. It gives a great basic overview of the three main components of soil—sand, silt and clay—and even gives you instructions to see what type of soil you have.
  • If you’re feeling ambitious and want to learn all about soil and how to improve the health of yours, check out this book: The Soul of Soil: A Soil-Building Guide for Master Gardeners and Farmers by Joe Smillie and Grace Gershuny. It’s a relatively short book that will give you a crash course in soil science.
  • Get your soil professionally tested to learn more about its makeup and find out its pH level, nutrient content, etc. Contact your local cooperative extension for more information or do a quick Google search for a private laboratory close to where you live.
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