By Jeanette Castanon
Now that it is growing colder you may be spending less time in the garden. Just because you can’t get your hands dirty doesn’t mean there isn’t time to prepare for the upcoming spring and sharpen up your gardening basics knowledge.
Soil is the base of any good garden. The soil is the support for the root system. It should be a comfortable pair of shoes for the plant so they can have a safe and comfortable place to grow and spread their roots. The soil shouldn’t be too sandy because it won’t hold on to any moisture and will blow away in our West Texas winds. But you go in the opposite direction of a heavy dense clay soil and you get a lack of aeration and too much moisture. The ideal soil composition has a good mix of both, the characteristics of a sandy loam. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so we must work with what we are given.
A great way to help your soil structure is through composting this not only adds great structure to your soil, but it also improves the nutrient content. You can also use raised beds with store bought soil for an easier fix to grow your flowers and shrubs in. If you are going to add in compost, make sure to mix it in as deep as you can to ensure the root zone will be fertile and ready to support some new plants. You can use a rototill or spade to mix the compost in. The same goes for the addition of soil it is beneficial to till the soil mix in with your existing land. The blending technique helps prevent the dramatic difference between two different types of soil that can prevent root penetration.
Always remember to inspect your soil before planting your garden. Good soil is the base for happy thriving plants. Good garden soil will crumble easily when forced between your fingers and it should not crack or crust over when dry. After a good inspection of your soil choose the best options to improve your soil structure so you can be on your way to starting a garden with ease.