When and how do I prepare my soil for my garden?
Most climates in the United States don’t allow for year round gardening. However, while waiting for your spring planting time to arrive, you can use that opportunity to be nourishing your soil. Especially if you only have one growing season, you will want to make the best of it.
We will plant some cool weather vegetables such as turnips, carrots, cauliflower, beets, etc. in about half of our garden beds. Then, in the other half, we’ll layer a couple pounds or less of alfalfa meal or alfalfa hay per each sq. foot. We also usually blend in some guano, blood-meal or other organically approved nitrogen source as well as kelp and bone meal. We really dig it into the soil and saturate it well.
When the first veggies we planted start to come up, we go ahead and nourish those beds using the same process, and then plant some more of those cooler weather crops in the beds that we first completely fertilized.
A few days later, we sprinkle beans and pea seeds followed by a thin layer of straw, just enough to cover them and then water it. Just as they beans and peas start to blossom, we dig and chop them back into the soil. Being full of nitrogen, the roots and legumes in the soil will feed the molds, fungi, worms and microorganisms that are so important for rich soil. Then we take 6 millimeter plastic and cover the bed, putting bricks around to hold it on the corners until it’s time to plant.
This allows the sun’s rays to penetrate deep into the soil, while allowing the warmth will encourage the germination and growth of your veggies when you take the plastic sheet off a 1-2 weeks before planting. About 2 weeks under the plastic is perfect for getting the soil hot and the organic matter composting.
Remember that more is not always better when it comes to fertilizer. So follow the package directions on the organic meals such as kelp, bone, or fish meal that you use. With just a little time and effort, you can have a rich soil for a wonderful garden.