Soil is the foundation of all our plantings. Without the right soil you are setting your plants up for less than success and adding more work for yourself down the road. Soil isn’t just dirt, it is alive filled with insects, worms and millions of other microorganisms all working and living together. Here are three things you can do to improve your soil and your gardens:
Test your soil You don’t know what you need until you know what you have. Whether you send in a soil sample to the University of Minnesota for testing or use an at-home kit, it is helpful to know what kind of soil you have and what nutrients are in it. Maybe you need more nitrogen? Maybe your pH is off the charts? Some plants such as blueberries have specific needs and prefer a low pH soil. Others require more nitrogen like cucumbers or squash. A soil test can help you determine how to amend your garden plots to give the plants just what they need.
Add organic matter to improve the structure of the soil and add nutrients. Composted products made from manure, kitchen waste, mushrooms or cotton burr are all a great way to add texture to the soil. Improved texture allows the soil to better retain nutrients, moisture, and air while the nutrients form organic matter help feed the microorganisms that live in the soil.
Rotate your crops Planting the same things, in the same plot every year especially in vegetable gardens can deplete certain types of nutrients.Rotating crops gives the soil a break and can also reduce insect and disease problems. Some crops such as peas and beans can actually add nitrogen to the soil providing growth for different plants next season.
Sargent’s carries a full selection of soil tests, soil amendments and fertilizers to help your garden grow. Our expert staff can help you find the right products to ensure your plants have what they need.