The Three Most Important Things for Your Garden

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Posted by Green Thumb Gardener | Posted in Garden Conservation, Garden Maintenance, Organic Gardening | Posted on 28-06-2010

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Gardening is like being a good parent: you always think first in terms of meeting the needs of the garden. You take care of the soil, the soil provides for the plants, the plants produce food for you. So the three most important things in gardening are: Soil; dirt, and loam (yes, they are all the same thing, lol).

In most areas there are three types of soil: clay, sand and humus. It is good to have a mixture favoring humus, but in any case your soil will improve with a healthy addition of compost. Be an extremist here; composting cannot be overdone. No need for home gardeners to test for pH. As a general rule, whatever the problem or deficiency of your soil, lots of compost will fix it.

Compost: The organic gardener is not troubled with poor soil, because wherever he is, he makes his own. There are folks who have raised gardens in Vermont, New York, and sites in Arizona. In a Mexican fishing village a man developed a deep-compost food garden on the salty, sandy shore of the Sea of Cortez. All successfully grew abundant food. There really is no soil that cannot be improved by sufficient composting.

There are many compost “recipes”, but providing your garden with sufficient compost is not mysterious, complicated, nor work-intensive. Truly, this is an easy task, though not an instant results one.

Layer a few inches of each: topsoil (humus), greens (grass clippings, raw vegetable kitchen scraps, leaves), manure (horse, cow, chicken, never dog or cat). No meat. Keep the pile moist but not wet, and aerate it by mixing (turning) it every few days. After a few weeks (composting is not an exact science) it will be ready to spade into your garden soil, or fill up garden beds, and/or use as mulch.

Mulch: ¬†Mulch is compost-type material used to cover the soil’s surface after the plants have started. Other than compost, mulch is by far the best friend and work saver a gardener ever had, far better than any $1500 tiller. Apply two or so inches of grass clippings, peat moss, leaves, bark, pine needles, the list is nearly endless. Some folks even use newspapers, old carpets and flagstone, but these do not provide nutrients to the soil as well as the above.

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