With small glimmers of spring peaking through the snow-covered ground, we're already thinking about lush gardens that fill warmer days. Each night, dreams of bright, healthy produce and verdant shrubbery flood our restless minds. Easily forgotten are plans of spring soil preparation, the foundation of every blossoming garden.
We have you covered, though...in that nagging, motherly sort of way. You can thank us later.
To get started on your spring soil prep, it's important to answer the question of weather or not your garden needs soil amendments. But before we get there, a quick refresher on just what soil amendments are...
Soil "amendments" (noun) are elements added to the soil, such as natural fertilizer (for example, compost), peat moss, manure, or chemical fertilizer, to improve its capacity to support plant life.
At SCD Probiotics, we have our own eco-friendly approach to amending soil. Rather than looking to traditionally harsh chemical fertilizers and treatments, we approach garden soil restoration at the microbial level. With DIY natural compost, microbial inoculations, and probiotic-centric soil enrichment treatments, we focus on maintaining balance within your existing garden soil.
Why Restore Garden Soil at the Microbial Level?
Staying true to soil amendments' goal of increasing nutrient accessibility for plants, natural soil amendments transform the underlying structure and chemistry of the garden soil. Take peat moss for example.
"While chemical fertilizer improves soil by adding nutrients only, soil amendments such as peat moss improve soil by making its texture or drainage more conducive to plant health," reports About Home.
Animal manure and compost are other natural amendments that can transform garden soil, better feeding the plant life that inhabits this environment. There are a couple considerations for both of these treatments, though, one being the tilling needed for animal manure. Animal manure needs to be gently incorporated into the existing soil, which involves tilling.
Tilling should be done eight weeks before crop planting, according to Home Guides, so you will need to plan accordingly. Tilling should always be minimal when possible, because it can cause soil erosion and can actually kill good microbes by exposing them to air and sunlight.
If you are using compost, think about the quality of compost you're putting into the soil. Not all compost is created equally, and you can't always know what nutrients your soil needs. This being the case, adding compost can be a bit of gamble. Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take.
We'll start with a few common kitchen offenders that should never make it into your compost bucket. Cooking oil is one of the biggest no-nos. There are a couple reasons for this, one being the way it throws off the compost's underlying microbial ecology. The other reason to exclude this from your compost is because cooking oils and fats can attract animals and vermin.
This next compost don't may seem like a no-brainer, but we'll say it anyway. Never put plastic in your composter; it's for the recycling bin only.
The other compost culprit is excessive meat or fish. While they can be composted, it is important to not overload your compost with these materials. Too much meat and fish can overheat your compost, disturbing the existing microbes - something nobody wants.
Started from the Bottom Now We Here
It may sound outlandish, but rapper Drake was on to something when he famously sang, "Started from the bottom now we here." If you're unsure how this relates to gardening, we have you covered.
Using amendments like compost and manure to make the microbial level of soil restoration a focus is the key to gardening success. Simply put: What happens beneath the flower bed directly affects what you see above it.
For more spring gardening tips, stop by again soon. We have probiotic tips for all realms of life.