When we think of our lawns, gardens and trees we often think of a number of tasks, but many of them fall under the soil management category. So what is soil management, and why is it important?
What is Managing Your Soil?
Managing your soil is the practice of caring for, tilling, and irrigating your soil. This means a lot of different things. In caring for your soil, you may be adding fertilizer, diversifying your plant biology in certain areas, and keeping live roots in the soil year-round. This all helps you have the healthiest soil possible for your plants.
For best results, keep your fertilizer organic. Research the plants that grow well together, and keep a mix of perennials and annuals in flower beds and other areas. Grow winter crops like garlic and winter potatoes in garden soil. Have an annual care plan for the soil around your trees that happens in both spring and fall.
Why is Managing your Soil Important?
Besides keeping the current plants and trees you have in the ground alive and thriving, the practice of active soil management makes it easier to add new plants to your landscape and garden.
Remember, starting from scratch with local soil may be difficult, and it may take a while to get the soil to a point where plants thrive in it. But once you have good, healthy soil, maintaining it takes a lot less work.
How do You Manage Your Soil?
Think about how you would start any other project. The first step is to check the health of your soil right now. A good way to check the soil’s health is to get hands on a Soil Quality Indicator Sheet here. This gives you a good starting point so you can answer some basic questions:
Where is your soil good now? What does it have enough of?
Where is your soil lacking in nutrients? What can you do to provide them?
What soil type do you have? Do you need to change that for some plants in some areas, or change the type of plants you are putting there?
Once you know where you are starting from, the next step is to visit your local garden store and try to pick up some diversified plant biology. This involves adding good microscopic algae and bacteria into the soil to give you a good foundation to start plants in. This may seem like overkill, but remember, getting started is the hardest part. This gives the roots of the plant something to pick up as it grows.
Once the plants are in the ground, soil management does not stop. Perform regular inspections and soil checkups to make sure that both the plants and the environment they live in is healthy.
Keeping Up with Managing Your Soil
While soil management at the start can be a lot of work, keeping it healthy is much easier. Weed often. Check plant health, and if they are no longer thriving look at the soil first to see if that is why. Water regularly and check to make sure the soil has not become to compact, dry, or otherwise compromised.
Check on gardens, flowerbeds, and the mulch and the areas around your trees annually when you plant, and in the fall when you harvest and prepare the soil and your plants for winter. This will ensure that your soil is getting the attention it needs.