Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Organic Gardening Soil Preparation: Let's Get Dirty!

So, having had our soil tested, it's time to start our garden soil preparation.  The recommendations of your soil testing site will allow you to properly prep the soil for growing vegetables organically.  It may take a couple of seasons for your soil to reach "ideal" results, so don't give up if the first time or two is not the best.  It does get better!  Here are the general steps involved with prepping the soil:
  • Areas with invasive plants should be turned well and all plant matter should be removed.  Additionally, for areas which have hard to control weeds, solarization of soil is an option.
  • A "hardpan" is compacted soil that lies a few inches beneath the surface.  These need to be broken up. 
  • Soil should be turned 10-12 inches.  Organic matter should be added to the soil as it is turned.  
So what is organic matter?  What does it do?   What is compost?   Organic matter plays two major roles in growing vegetables organically.  It helps to release nutrients within the soil and it improves the water and nutrient holding capacity in the soil.  The next insert in this series we will take a look at one of the most popular sources of organic materials, compost.

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