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Organic Garden Soil Prep: Feed Your Soil

Here at Cascadian Farm, we have a saying: “Feed the soil, so it can feed the plants.” Organic farming focuses on adding rich organic matter to the soil, so that the various microbes and chemical processes in the soil food web can convert them to available plant nutrients over time. Kari has outlined a few ways you can add nutrients to your soil:

Soil preparation is a critical part of organic gardening. Plants “feed” off the soil, pulling water and essential nutrients from it. Amending the soil to replace those lost nutrients is a great way to ensure this year’s fruits and veggies will flourish. Once you determine your soil’s needs, the organic matter can be worked in using a fork, spade, or rototiller, depending on the size of your garden. There are a number of organic amendments that can be added to improve your soil. A few of the most common are compost, manure, peat moss, lime, sand, and sawdust.

Compost

Composed of garden trimmings and kitchen scraps or composted animal manure, compost helps your soil retain moisture and provides nitrogen, an essential element.

Peat Moss

A commercially grown, lightweight moss, peat moss’s sponge-like quality increases soil’s ability to retain moisture.

Lime

Ground limestone dust or pellets contain calcium and magnesium to help your soil maintain a proper pH level (between 6 and 7).

Sand

Coarse “Builder’s Sand” will loosen the soil, allowing roots room to grow, as well as improve soil drainage.

Sawdust

Sawdust or wood chips from tree bark are other materials that aid in proper soil drainage.

Soil tests are available at nurseries so you can determine exactly what your soil needs. Improve your garden this year by giving back to the earth and feeding the soil.

Photo by timsamoff


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