Nora Held works for a number of gardening-related sites and magazines, sharing her experience as an owner of a small farm in North Carolina.
Like humans, flowers need to get the right food to grow. Providing them with good soil is an opportunity to make sure that they are getting an abundance of helpful nutrients. The best way to do this is by turning to soil amendments. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
Start With a Soil Test
Gardening is often about finding the right balance. You want to find what you are lacking, then try to add the missing components. Because of this, you should start with a soil test. This will tell you the NPK levels and pH of the soil. This will give a good idea of what you should be looking for in a soil amendment. For example, if you have acidic soils, you might need to add lime. This will lower the pH.
You’ll also need to consider the type of flowers that you are intending to plant. Think about what conditions will suit them best. For example, some plants will want to have a higher level of nitrogen in the soil. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most popular soil amendments.
Manure can work wonders for a garden. It is packed with nutrients. It will also benefit the organisms that live in the soil. Worms will love using it. Another benefit is that manure can help you increase the amount of moisture that is in the soil. But, for many gardeners, one of the biggest reasons to use manure is because it takes a long time to break down. This ensures a steady release of vitamins that will occur over several days.
There are a few pieces of advice to consider when using manure in your garden. First, it’s a good idea to turn it into the soil within 12 hours of spreading it. This ensures that the minerals will be kept in the soil, rather than getting washed away.
It’s also a good idea to spread this out a few months before you plant. Finally, you should use livestock manure. If possible, get it from farms that use organic farming, to reduce the chances that it will contain any dangerous chemicals.
Another option that you might want to explore is leaf mold. These are simply leaves that have been left for two to three years. To make it, you’ll need to crush up the leaves. You can do this by running them over with a lawnmower. Then sweep them into a pile. Every few weeks use a rake to turn the pile over.
One of the best ways to use leaf mold is to offer some protection from the weather. When it is getting too hot in the summer, you can spread it around the garden. Just make sure to keep it away from the stems of plants. It will also help make sure that the plants are retaining moisture, stopping the soil from drying out.
Kitchen Soil Amendments
One of the biggest sources of nutrients for your garden can come from your kitchen. Many people think the food scraps are waste. But this doesn’t have to be the case. If you know how to use them properly, you can supercharge plant growth. With the right tools, the process of creating fertilizer is easy. Because of this, you should consider using the FoodCycler.
To use the FoodCycler, all you need to do is put suitable leftovers into the bin. When it is full, turn on the device. It will take between three to six hours to form the fertilizer. After a week to cure, you will have a suitable soil amendment.
All you need to do is mix it into your garden at a ratio of 10 parts soil to one part soil amendment. This will ensure that you are getting the maximum benefits. Ideally, do this a week before you plant something. It will be suitable for most gardens.
What Else Do Plants Need?
While soil amendments are important, they are only one part of the puzzle. When planning your garden, you’ll also need to consider other essential elements. For example, you’ll need to make sure they are getting the right amount of sunlight. You’ll also need to check that they are being watered regularly. The easiest way of doing this is by setting up a sprinkler system. This will automate the process. If you want to know what to look for, check out this informative guide to garden sprinklers.
If you give your plants the right mix of nutrients, you’ll be able to boost their growth. There are a few soil amendment options that you can explore, depending on the type of garden you are planting. So, now you’ll be able to start planning how you can get your plants the nutrients they need.
Want to know more about how to use your kitchen soil amendment in your garden?