One of my readers, a fairly new gardener, told me she gets bogged down trying to do everything properly. I think a lot of people — especially beginning gardeners—do that.
Take Soil Preparation for example.
The reason for soil preparation is to give your plants the best possible chance to do their best for you. If involves loosening the soil, adding organic matter, and mulching.
99.99% of the time, it’s the “loosening of the soil” that makes people hesitate or throw up their hands.
First, understand why the soil should be loosened.
When soil (topsoil and subsoil) is compacted it can keep roots and water from going deeply into the soil. If you can loosen the soil down as far as 12 or 24 inches by a combination of digging and/or tilling you create a better situation or environment for your plants.
Coupled with adding organic matter and mulching it will have a profound effect on the success of your garden. And loosening the soil to that depth only has to be done one time.
Suppose you are not able?
Now —suppose you – for whatever reason —- are absolutely not able to prepare your soil that deeply. Should you give up your idea to garden? Of course not!
Ok – you say — what do I do?
If it is beyond you to do something the very best it can be done —– just do what you are able to do the very best YOU can do it. Believe me that will take you a long way towards getting to your goal.
There have been times in preparing a bed — that my clay subsoil was so hard, all I was strong enough to do was put the shovel in and move it. I could not turn the clay subsoil at all. So —– I did what I could do. Added the organic material that I had and shoveled the top soil back. Raked out the clods, smoothed and planted. After that I just kept adding organic matter each year and don’t ever remember turning it again after that.
I did my part. Nature did the rest. Everything worked out great. Not a big deal.
Think about this:
Think about the thousands upon thousands of farmers and gardeners who just loosen the top soil, compact the subsoil with over-plowing, never add organic matter, and leave the soil exposed to the elements!
If they can get anything at all to grow —–then if you are doing the best you can towards proper soil preparation —–you’re ahead of the game already.
Organic Matter is the Backbone of your Garden.
The popular Lasagna Gardening which does not involve loosening the soil at all is no more than adding organic material to produce lots of organic matter in which to plant.
Organic Matter is the backbone of your garden. Once organic material decomposes to organic matter it improves
- the condition of the soil,
- the ability of the soil to hold up to 90% of its weight in water,
- and provides food for the living beings in the soil that are working to make your garden a success.
Then why bother with loosening the soil and subsoil?
To make it even better and to give your plants and gardens the ultimate chance to perform. Its up to you! If you use the Lasagna method to get started and then later decide you want to loosen the soil to a greater depth — do it.
You need not be bogged down by any of it. You need only to work with nature and know that she’s pretty easy to get along with. Her seeds and plants are user friendly.
If something doesn’t go just right — keep at it, do the best YOU can do and enjoy the journey. She’ll work with you if you work with her and all will be well in the end.
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