Colorful lush flowers and plants are what every gardener is dreaming about when selecting plants (I see it in their faces). The little babes are carefully taken home and as the gardener with great effort scratches out holes big enough to hold each plant they hope and dream thing will somehow turn out differently this year. By the 4th of July hopes and dreams are dashed and reality sets in. The little plants are still only one stem one flower and yellow leaves. The would be gardener once again sighs “I just don’t have a green thumb.”
Anyone can have a Green Thumb. The foundation to a lush and bountiful garden is the soil in which the plants grow. This may seem obvious but is the most essential and overlooked aspect of gardening.
Anyone who has ever dug a hole in our soil knows then it is hard and sticky in the spring and hard and harder in the summer. If we can barely dig in our soil with steel tool how do we expect tender young plant roots to penetrate this clay tomb. The Secret then is to Amend the Soil. Amending simply means tilling or spading organic matter in to a depth of about 6-10”. The amount of organic matter should be about 1/3 of the soil depth. If you are working to a depth of 9” then add 3” of organic matter.
“Sounds great” you say,” but what’s organic matter?” For our purposes it is simply plant or animal waste that has been rotted down(composted). Some common products are; peat moss, Poesy Power, pine bark, leaf humus, and any other yard or animal waste you can get your hands on. The important thing to remember is they need to be composted! When these have been composted they should not smell too bad but have more of an “earthy” smell. You can work them into your soil just ahead of planting but it is better to do this ahead of time to allow the soil to settle. The absolute best time to amend is in the fall. This requires a little planning but is by far the best and will save a lot of time and effort in the spring.
If you do this Secret you will be amazed how enjoyable and rewarding gardening can be as you gaze at the waves of color all summer long.