Ways to prepare healthy garden soil

Ways to prepare healthy garden soil

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Novice or expert, whichever kind of gardener you may be, you need to know that in the long run, healthy garden soil plays a pivotal role in helping your plants thrive.

The more you keep your soil healthy, the more your garden will flourish. In this article, we will focus on ways to prepare healthy garden soil that will help you to protect soil structure, feed the soil with nutrients from both natural and commercial sources, and increase the diversity and number of the beneficial microbes and organisms that live in the soil.


best potting soil


The first step is to make soil fertile, is to test your soil health, understand the texture and type of soil and then follow the steps mentioned below:


1. Add Nitrogen-rich Manure

Manure makes a greater contribution to soil aggregation than compost. It is advisable to use organic manure with potting soil to gradually improve the soil quality.  

Organic manures increase the humus content and water holding capacity of the soil. Plus it provides most important dose of macro nutrients (NPK) to plants.

organic manure


Cow dung manure is the most commonly available organic fertilizer in India. It is always a good idea to use well decomposed manure instead of any kind of fresh animal dung. Ideal organic manure is dark, moist, consistent, rich in texture & more importantly it doesn't have any unpleasant odor. Leaves of leguminous ‘green manures’ can be added to convert the otherwise balanced manure into nitrogen rich manure.


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2. Try Composting

Composting can be defined as a means of recycling almost any type of organic waste. The best part about composting is that it reduces the bulk of organic materials, stabilizes their soluble nutrients, and triggers the formation of soil humus. Application of one-quarter inch per season is recommended as it will provide slow-release nutrients, which will dramatically improve your soil’s water retention and suppress disease.

Vermicomposting is one of the renowned composting methods. In this technique, earthworms are used to convert nutrient-dense materials, like manures, food waste and green crop residues, into forms usable by plants. 


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compost soil


Various organizations are promoting the concept of composting these days vigorously. There are machines available too. Don’t know about it yet? Do watch the new Swachh Bharat commercial casting Amitabh Bachchan and highlighting the benefits of composting on You tube.


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3. Plant Cover Crops

To feed our soil, build its fertility and improve its structure with time, you should consider growing cover crops. Freshly uprooted cover crops provide already available nutrients for the soil microbes and also for food crop plants. Plus, the pores opened up by the decaying roots of these cover crops permit oxygen flow and water to penetrate the soil. Consider growing clovers, alfalfa, beans and peas as they are valuable cover crops, as they fix the nitrogen from the environment into forms available to crop plants.


garden plant covers



Also Read: What is ‘green manuring’?


4. Mulching is Full of Advantages

Use organic mulch to keep the soil covered. The mulch retains soil moisture and protects it against temperature extremes. Microbes, earthworms and other forms of beneficial living organisms can “nibble” at the mulch, and gradually incorporate their residues into the top layer of the soil.

High-carbon mulches are preferable for weed control when compared to the materials that decay promptly since they endure longer before being incorporated into the soil food web. It is necessary and advisable to renew mulches that are in place for the entire growing season.




Also Read - Understanding Mulching: The protector of soil


5. Use Permanent Garden Beds and Paths

The key strategy for protecting soil structure is to grow plants in wide permanent beds, restrict foot traffic to the pathways, and plant as closely as possible. Close planting shades the soil surface, which in turn benefits both soil life and plants by conserving moisture and moderating temperature.

You also can use paths to grow mulches, or mulch the paths and take advantage of the foot traffic to grind materials such as straw or leaves. Then add this finely shredded material to the beds, where it will break down readily than in its coarser forms. 


Also Read: Garden Tools for Raised Beds


vegetable beds


There is no dearth of tips, and the list is endless. But to begin with, you can follow these primary and necessary ones.

Let’s create happy and healthy gardens!


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