It’s been a cold one this year hasn’t it? Hopefully you did your duty and protected your plants accordingly and they look to have survived the several cold snaps (Surprise! Snow!). Yes, we’re still having drizzly and cloudy days, but there are plenty of days in between that you can take advantage of to get a jump start on some gardening tasks.

(A little extra effort now will ease the chores later.)

We say it year after year, and this year will be no different. Prepping your soil is the most crucial step to successful gardening. Whether you are filling up a raised bed for veggies or thinking of creating an in ground perennial bed, soil preparation is key. If you think you can walk outside and plop some plants into your existing native soil and expect that they’ll survive, you will most likely be very disappointed. Our soil stinks y’all. So if there is one piece of advice that we strongly urge you to follow, it’s to amend the heck out of your soil.

(Go out and dig up a handful, it’s not that pretty.)

You should be adding compost EACH growing season, tilling it into the top 2-3 inches of your existing raised beds.  If you are planting in ground that hasn’t been planted before, you’ll definitely want to take some time to till the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches, then mix in your composted material. We love Happy Frog Soil Sonditioner from FoxFarm which helps loosen and acidify soil while also providing it with beneficial microbes. Loose soil will allow the roots of your plants to penetrate and seek out the nutrients that they need to survive and thrive. If you already have an area in the ground that you plant in, you should easily be able to layer a couple inches of compost on top and till it down to a depth of about 6 inches.

(FoxFarm has an incredible line of nutrient-packed, organic soil amendments.)

Soil preparation is the gift that keeps on giving. Especially if you are including rich, organic material like compost into that preparation. You can create a habitat full of beneficial microbes that break down organic material and turn it into rich, vital nutrients that your plants can easily take up and use. Run, don’t walk, to Rainbow Gardens to load up on your compost now. Run, don’t walk to your gardens and take the time to amend your soil. Do it now and when spring arrives, you can just dive into the fun! It’s right around the corner, y’all!

(Ahhh…  the good stuff.)

The Happy Gardener

Lisa Mulroy