Replenish Nutrients in Your Soil
Growing vegetables take a lot out of the soil, and the only way to continue growing healthy vegetable plants (or flowers) is to replenish the nutrients which have been used up. The soil must be fed in order for it to feed growing plants and here is how to replenish nutrients in your soil each year.
A healthy dose of compost worked into the garden soil prior to planting will keep plants fed and improve soil structure. The soil will be less compact, drain better and be filled with organic nutrients.
Add 6 inches of compost to the garden in spring and till it under to the depth of 6-10 inches. Add 2 more inches of compost around the base of the plants during the growing season to act as an organic mulch. The side dressing of compost will help retain soil moisture, prevent weed growth and will add more nutrients to the soil as it slowly decomposes.
Making your own compost from kitchen scraps will keep the costs down and provide a steady supply of nutrients for your garden soil.
Manure to Replenish Nutrients
Well-rotted animal manure is a great additive for garden soil. Use it as organic fertilizer to feed the soil and improve soil structure. Cow, chicken, bat, rabbit and other types of animal manure must be allowed to decompose for at least three months before using. The weed and grass seeds in it need time to die so they won’t germinate and fresh manure will take nutrients out of the soil to accomplish its decomposing process. Toss manure onto the compost pile to accomplish the rotting stage.
Leaf Humus to Replenish Nutrients
Instead of trashing or burning the fallen tree leaves in autumn, use them to replenish soil nutrients. Pile them directly on the garden so the can decompose in place during the winter months, or toss them into the compost pile to decompose and then use them in the garden.
Instead of letting garden space sit idle during the winter months, plant a fall cover crop to improve the soil. Plant legumes, collards, clover or mustard in the fall and allow to grow during the winter. The cover crop will prevent soil erosion and compaction. In early spring, till the cover crop plants under and they will add nutrients to the soil as they decompose.