Year after year, and this year will be no different, we remind you that garden soil preparation is the most crucial step to successful gardening. Whether you are filling up a raised bed for veggies or building a new perennial bed, well prepared soil is key. Our native soil stinks y’all. So if there is one piece of advice that we strongly urge you to follow, it’s to prep the heck out of your soil. A little extra effort now will ease gardening chores later.

Soil prep is imperative to successful gardening.
Soil prep each season allows for a bountiful harvest.

Why And How You Should Prep Your Soil

One of the easiest ways to prep your soil each gardening season is to add compost by tilling it into the top 2-3 inches of your existing raised beds.  If you will be planting in a new area, it’s advised to first till the soil to a minimum depth of 12-15 inches. Once your native soil has been tilled, you can mix in your composted material and till that down into the first 6 inches of soil.

We love Happy Frog Soil Conditioner from FoxFarm which helps loosen and acidify soil while also providing it with active beneficial microbes. These beneficial microbes help feed your plants by breaking down nutrients available in the soil, making it easier for roots to take up. They can also fight against bad bacteria in the soil. When you offer your soil rich, organic matter, you replenish the beneficial microbes and they will end up outnumbering any bad pathogens that may lie in wait in your soil.

Products like Happy Frog Soil Conditioner, or Cotton Burr Compost also loosen your soil making it the correct consistency to allow the roots of your plants to penetrate easily. This allows roots of plants to easily seek out nutrients in the soil, water to penetrate to sufficiently water the roots of plants, and promotes better drainage.

A Plea For Soil Prep Each Season

Soil preparation is the gift that keeps on giving, especially if you are offering rich, organic material. Nature finds a way of using all organic matter to create something of greater value. You will see it in the health and vitality of your plants. Doesn’t it make sense to continue to add to the life-generating process that naturally lies within the soil rather than to degrade it by adding chemical products that do nothing to serve it?

Soil that hasn’t been planted in for a season or more, becomes sterile. This means it has zip, nil, nada, zero nutrients in it to offer your plants. Why would you start your plants in this type of environment? You will no doubt find yourself fighting an uphill battle to coax your plants to health. That sounds like an awful lot of work when you could make the choice to consistently feed your soil and start with the best environment for your plants from the beginning. Soil should never lie fallow. Even if you aren’t planting a garden each season, you can plant cover crops that will feed your soil until you are ready to plant again.

Doesn’t it make sense to prep your soil with organic nutrients that will help your plants naturally fight off pests and disease? Soil that has been well prepped throughout the year produces healthy, vibrant, and abundantly producing plants that can withstand the elements of nature better than plants in poor, undernourished soil.

Do you see now why we sound like a broken record every planting season? We REALLY want you to understand just how important soil prep really is! The time to do it is now so that when spring arrives, you can just dive into the fun! It’s right around the corner, y’all!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy