How to Prepare Soil in a Small Garden

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If you are gardening in a small garden or container gardening you will need excellent soil. You can nurture the soil over a few seasons to be rich with organic matter or you can take the quick approach by purchasing soil. In a small space garden you will be over planting in your soil. This will deplete nutrients and your garden will quickly stop producing.

Use all organic matter from your property – When you mow the lawn rake or bag the clippings, dig a ditch in your garden and bury the clippings. When leaves fall, bury the leaves. This will attract worms and increase the organic matter in your soil. In containers put small amounts between the inside edge of the container and the soil. This will provide continuous nutrients with little disruption of the roots.

Look for organic matter in the neighborhood – Do your neighbors put out bags of grass or leaves? Ask them if they use chemicals on their lawn – if the answer is ‘yes’ don’t use it. If the answer is ‘no’ ask them if you could discreetly pick up what they have left on the curb. One of my neighbors is so happy to be recycling his lawn and leaf waste that he brings it to my backyard, I have all I need delivered right to me, and I provide him with vegetables weekly in the summer. The perfect loop!

Worms – If you are starting a new garden area and have begun to enrich the soil, add worms. After a thunderstorm take a disposable cup and walk through the neighborhood picking up the worms that have emerged on pavement and sidewalks. Place them in both containers that stay outside year-round and the garden.

Buy Soil – If you need an immediate garden bed, go to the garden center or nursery with a sample of your soil in a ziplock bag. They will be able to recommend both materials to enhance your soil as well as the volume needed for your space.

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