How to Enrich Your Garden Soil With Minerals

How to Prepare Soil for Spring Planting

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In this short video, we demonstrate five simple yet highly effective ways to prepare your soil to give your crops the best possible start this spring.

The secret behind successful harvests is soil that’s in top-notch condition and packed full of organic matter (such as garden compost, animal manure or leafmold). Organic matter improves soil structure, enriches soil, and feeds the vital microbial life within it.

When adding organic matter to bare soil, spread it out evenly before tilling it in to the top six to 12 inches of your soil. You can also add organic matter around crops by spreading it between plants as a thick mulch two to three inches deep. It will gradually be incorporated into the soil by earthworms and other beneficial soil organisms.

Mulching with organic matter is the best way to enhance the fertility and structure of the soil around perennial plants such as fruit bushes and strawberries. It will also help minimize evaporation from the soil, which means less watering is needed and plants will be more able to cope with dry spells.

No-Dig Gardening

No-dig gardening is a growing method which suits narrow beds, such as raised beds. Avoiding digging helps to build a healthy soil ecosystem which enhances plant growth, and avoids the need step on the soil and risk compacting it. To make a no-dig bed, first lay sheets of thick cardboard on the soil to suppress weeds, then spread a four to six inch thick layer of organic matter over the top. Regularly add organic weed-free mulches to feed the soil. These will be ‘dug in’ by the thriving earthworm population.

Avoid Weeding in Winter

Overwintering annual weeds can be left untouched to develop into a mat of foliage that will protect the soil from erosion and heavy rain, in the same way that a cover crop would. ‘Weeds’ can be wild plants such as chickweed or bittercress, or self-sown salads like mache (corn salad). Hoe these annual weeds off spring before they have set seed. You can leave them on the soil surface, dig them into the soil, or add them to the compost heap.

Grow Your Own Comfrey Soil Enhancer

Comfrey has long roots that pull up minerals from deep in the soil. This means that comfrey leaves are high in essential plant nutrients, so when cut they’re great for feeding your soil and your plants. The variety ‘Bocking 14’ is best, as it doesn’t spread as aggressively as other varieties. It’s usually grown on its own or alongside a compost heap. Cut comfrey leaves can be used to mulch around greedy plants such as tomatoes, or they can be dug into the soil. You can also make your own liquid fertilizer out of comfrey leaves. When diluted with water it can be used to feed fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and squashes.

Did you find this advice useful?  Now try out the Almanac Garden Planner to start planning your garden! We are offering a free 7-day trial of the best garden planning software on Earth—plus much more of this expert advice!

 

 

 

Reader Comments

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Co post heap and raised beds

Hello,i live on the Costa del Sol in Spain where in July and August temperatures can reach 40c. As our soil is mostly rock i would like to make a raised vegetable bed and also start a compost heap. My questions are these 1)i am terrified that a compost heap here could catch fire(fire being our biggest fear here) is this possible?2)i intend to use concrete bricks as a framework but read that it causes a change in ph levels,could you please explain this better?3)i am a relatively new to vegetable growing so could you please tell me what kitchen refuse is good for a compost heap? Thank you for any help.

Comfrey - me too !

I have been looking for 3 years now, and canNOT find any at the local garden centers. I am thinking we are going to have to do an on-line search and order in the mail. I'd much rather support the local nurseries, but ..............
:(

Comfrey

Comfrey is indeed difficult to obtain and you grow it from cuttings or young plants rather than seeds because the forms that spread seeds are highly invasive.  Comfrey is best grown in its own area away from your main plants, often by a compost bin or separate area.  You can obtain non-invasive type Bocking #4 from Coe’s Comfrey (www.coescomfrey.com) who will mail out cuttings to all the States but not internationally or to Canada.  Be aware that some people (including references on that site) recommend comfrey for purposes other than composting and feeding the soil.  However, it’s not considered safe for direct human consumption though it’s excellent for use as a mulch or as a nitrogen boost for a compost heap.

Ask your neighbours :-)

hello Deeda,

I would encourage to ask your neighbours and friends because as many have said Comfrey can become quite overwhelming to manage and many would be glad to get rid of some. You can also ask the local garden shops for they might have some in their own yards!

Thanks

Comfrey

Where do I get seeds for this plant in all of my days I have never seen seeds for this.

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