There’s nothing like walking to your garden and getting your shoe stuck in the mud. That goopy sound it makes (is goopy a sound?) tells you that there’s way too much water in the soil. Your plants don’t like it anymore than you do, either. If this sounds like a regular occurrence, it might be time to think about improving garden drainage.
Category: Soil & Fertilizer
In the articles below, discover everything you need to know about soil and fertilizer for a fruit, herb, and vegetable garden.
There are entire books and college classes on the science of soil and fertilizer. At the risk of glossing over the immense amount of work that so many have done to bring us this knowledge, let’s just say that the best all-purpose plant fertilizer has some combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with smaller amounts of nutrients like zinc, manganese, magnesium, and many others.
If you want to make the most of your efforts, a soil sample test will tell you what you need to balance your soil.
Another good reason for a soil test? Researchers at Brown University in Rhode Island found that “lead-based paint spread more than 400 feet from nearby water towers, and often penetrated more than 12 inches below the soil surface.”
The quality of your soil is important, but the safety of your soil might be even more-so.
Is it contaminated with old lead paint that chipped off your house? Used oil from someone changing their motor oil in the backyard? Perhaps arsenic from the treated wood on your old deck? Maybe the manure runoff from the farm uphill? Chemical waste from the old factory upriver? Leaky septic system? Pesticides? Or maybe your home is newly built on land that was once an industrial site?
In the articles below, we dive into everything you need to know about soil and fertilizer, such as soil safety, improving soil quality, drainage, using fertilizer, making fertilizer, and growing your best, most nutritious garden. And you can learn even more in our How to Grow a Vegetable Garden: 10 Things Every Gardener Needs to Know Before Starting a Food Garden freebie. Enjoy!
After a rainstorm (or even a heavy watering), does your vegetable garden resemble day three of Woodstock? Soil drainage may be an issue! The good news is that there are soil additives to improve drainage in soggy gardens.
Let’s just get this out of the way: Worm Castings = Worm Poop. But, “castings” is a much more civilized way of describing the digested waste of your garden variety earthworm so we’ll just stick with that!
I might be dating myself here, but anytime I think about adding manure to garden beds, I have a vision of the scene from Back to the Future. You know the one – Marty (played by Michael J. Fox) is on a skateboard and getting chased by the bully Biff and his cronies. Biff is in his convertible car (top down) when Marty makes a quick turn. Biff tries to follow, but the car slams into a dump truck full of… you guessed it: manure. The manure falls out and fills the car. Talk about a smelly situation!
Near the gate of his 11-acre farm in central Rhode Island, John Kenny talks about his quest to improve garden soil. Or, more accurately, to share his knowledge with gardeners so they can improve their own soil. Part of that plan today includes tossing a few tomato hornworms to his chickens. Wings flap and dust […]
My summer cookouts are not for the faint of heart. It’s not that there’s anything scary or bad. But conversations tend to skip the polite weather talk and get straight into things like garden pests, favorite heirloom tomatoes, and the best type of manure for vegetable gardens.
Container vegetable gardens are the versatile champions of any garden. I love container gardens because you can start them indoors and transition them outdoors without disrupting the vegetable roots. They’re ideal for small spaces, porches, balconies, and even that sliver of side yard you might have that gets great sun exposure but is too small for a garden bed. The key to a successful container garden is your potting medium. There are many different store-bought varieties of potting soil and potting mix, but in my opinion, the best potting soil for container vegetables is a hand mixed.
Hi there. For those who may not know me, my name is Amanda, and I like to play in the dirt. Even better, I like to make my own dirt! Who said gardening has to be boring? One of the “dirts” I like to make turned out to be the best seed starting mix I’ve […]
We know fish has plenty of proteins and oils that are good for us, but is fish fertilizer good for our plants? Sometimes it’s hard to look beyond the marketing hype and figure out what counts when it comes to taking care of our gardens.
I’ll admit that part of the joy of gardening is having a good excuse to play in the dirt. As adults, we don’t get to do that very much, but it sure does feel good. Of course, playing in the dirt actually means getting the soil ready; there’s always compost to add or weeds to dig up. Even when you have “perfect” soil, you still have to do some prep work. Preparing clay soil for planting your garden isn’t that much different.