Soil, compost, and mulch are not the sexiest topics, but they could be the most important part of gardening. Healthy soil is key to successful growing, and mulch and compost are two essential helpers. Good soil is not a destination: it’s an ongoing process as plants use up the goodness in the soil and it needs replenishing.
Have a look at these tips for improving the soil in your garden and find out how to create compost all year-round.
The word compost has various meanings. Here I am referring to once-living material that has decayed into a soil-like medium. It is used to enrich the soil in garden beds with the goodness of decomposed food scraps plus an assortment of fabulous microbes that join in and help.
- Composting 101 | Slow & Fast Methods | All the basics to composting. You can choose how much effort you put into it. Fast or slow, eventually everyone ends up with good compost for the garden.
- Easy Composting Without Pests (Sorry, Rats!) | Want to save scraps for compost but vermin are a concern? This composter is the answer.
- Easy Winter Composting in a Cold Climate | I find it easier to keep compost in the cold seasons because there’s not much to do other than keep kitchen scraps frozen.
The soil in our gardens (and all over the earth) is some combination of sand, silt, and clay. The good stuff that feels earthy in your hands and holds water enough to form clumps when you grab it, is loam, sweet loam. It’s rare to have a garden with great soil from the start. It’s our job as gardeners to continually enrich it as plants grow and deplete it.
- How To Have a Happy Garden With Healthy Soil | Understanding soil and how to improve it.
- Soil Testing: Home Kit versus Lab | Here’s what we found.
- What’s Your Soil Type? Here’s an Easy Test | Sand, silt, or clay? Loam wasn’t built in a day!
- 10 Best Vegetables for Drought Soils | Find out which veggies are okay with drought conditions.
- 10 Best Vegetables for Clay Soils | Got clay? Try growing these veggies.
- 10 Best Vegetables for Sandy Soils | Got sand? See which veggies appreciate loose soil.
- 10 Smart Reasons to Use Raised Beds in Your Garden | If your garden lacks good soil, raised beds and container growing are the answer.
Mulch can be organic or not—I use once-living things like leaves, bark, and wood shavings to cover my garden soil. Mulch helps keep moisture in and suppresses weeds. It’s important not to apply mulch too thick or it can choke the soil below. I try to keep it about 2-inches deep.
- Mulch | Many gardeners buy it and many also misuse it. This links goes to a recent news article.
Leaves are gardening gold! If you have trees in your garden, save the leaves as mulch and ‘browns’ in the composter. They are so valuable.
- Why Tree Leaves Change Color in Fall | Revisiting the stuff we learned in school and have forgotten.
- The Leaf Tip that Can Transform Your Garden | A tip I wish every gardener would use. Nature wants you to!
- 48 Smart Money-Saving Garden Ideas | If I was starting over as a gardener today, I’d put almost all my efforts into the soil first.
- The Most Important Fall Garden Tasks and What Should Wait | Fall cleanup can hurt your garden!
- Oh No You Didn’t! 6 Common Gardening Mistakes | Yes, putting good plants in bad soil is not smart.
- How to Make a Yard Waste Bin | A creative project for storing your yard waste.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛