Preparing Garden Soil

Improving Garden Soil with Mulch

In addition to composting, you have many options for improving the quality of your soil. Adding mulch is another good method to consider. Add a thick layer of mulch and let it rot to improve the soil of existing gardens.

Minerals, released as the mulch is degraded into nutrient soup, soak down into the soil and fertilize existing plants. Humic acid, another product of decay, clumps together small particles of clay to make a lighter, fluffier soil. For best success, remember these points:

  • Woody mulch, such as shredded bark, uses nitrogen as it decays. Apply extra nitrogen to prevent the decay process from consuming soil nitrogen that plants need for growth.
  • Don't apply fine-textured mulches, like grass clippings, in thick layers that can mat down and smother the soil.
  • Use mulch, which helps keep the soil moist, in well-drained areas that won't become soggy or turn into breeding grounds for plant-eating slugs and snails.

If a soil test reveals that your garden is missing essential nutrients, you'll want to add fertilizers to your soil. Learn all about garden fertilizer on the next page.

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