Prepare Garden Soil Now for Next Season

October 21, 2016

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Now is the perfect time to start preparing for next season’s garden. As you finish harvesting a garden bed start preparing for the season ahead. 

Start with a soil test if your plants were off-color, had fewer flowers or produced less.

Collect several cores of soil 3 to 6" deep from several areas throughout the garden. Mix the plugs together, allow them to dry and send a cup size sample to a certified soil testing lab.

The test results will tell you what type and how much, if any, fertilizer to add next season.

In the meantime, add organic matter such as shredded leaves, compost or aged manure to improve drainage in heavy soils and the water holding ability of fast draining soils.  Dig or till 2 to 4 inches into the top 12 inches of garden soil. Wait to add needed fertilizer and rake smooth just prior to planting.

A bit more information: Check soil moisture before digging in. Working wet soil causes compaction and results in poor plant growth.  Test soil moisture by grabbing a handful of soil and gently squeeze. Tap and if it breaks into smaller pieces, it is ready to work.

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