It All Begins With the Soil
Great gardens begin with great
soil. Most folks don't start with ideal soil when they purchase a
new property or decide to try gardening for the first time. Too
sandy, too clayey, too shallow, too hard and dry, you name it and we
gardeners have dealt with it on more that one occasion.
Here in central Texas a few folks
enjoy the benefits of a deep, alluvial soil alongside a river or
creek. Others fight the black clay that holds water like a fish bowl
when it rains, but dries like concrete when it doesn't. In summer
giant cracks appear large enough to lose a small child playing out
in the yard.
Still other gardeners, especially
in the western parts of the area, have large rock outcroppings on
which only a thin layer of soil remains. These soils lack the depth
to hold much water and are prone to drought. There are plants that
are designed to grow in such conditions, but most of our garden and
landscape plants and turfgrasses are not adapted to such stressful
conditions. You might as well spread a 4 inch layer of potting soil
on the driveway and try to grow a lawn or flower bed on that thin
layer…good luck and you better have a water hose nearby.
The good news is that you need not
settle for your lot in life! You can improve your soil and over time
turn that parched patch of earth into a Garden of Eden. Most
gardeners get it backwards. They buy plants and then come home and
look for a place to put them. We should prepare the soil first and
then those plants we spent our hard earned cash on will thrive and
provide the produce, blooms or other aesthetic benefits we hoped
a dollar on your soil before you spend a dollar on your plants and
you'll save money in the long run and have a much better garden to
show for it. This section of the website provides information on
soil testing, soil nutrients, fertilizing, and ways to make and use
composted organic matter to grow a better soil, season after season.
So dive in and get the real dirt on building better soil.