Tips on Improving Soil Quality

Whilst the task of improving your soil may sound like just another mundane aspect of adult life, it is definitely worth doing! The better the quality of your soil, the better your plants’ roots will develop and the better the plants will grow. In fact, no matter how much weeding, mulching, fertilising, sowing or any other tending to your garden that you do, it will be in vain if your soil quality is not sufficient. However, improving soil quality doesn’t have to be tedious and time consuming, this guide should point you in the right direction!

What Will I Need?

  • Soil
  • Garden Spade
  • Garden Fork
  • Garden Rake
  • Organic Matter (e.g. compost or manure)
  • Fertiliser

When Should I Do It?

You should aim to start improving the quality of your soil between the months of October and March.

How Long Will It Take Me?

You should allow between 10 to 20 minutes per square metre for this garden task.

How Do I Do It?

1. Dig your soil. Dig the soil thoroughly. You should be sure to break up all large lumps and clods of soil in order to reduce compaction within the soil. For soil that has never been dug like this, you should use a spade, otherwise, you can use a garden fork and should fork the soil to the depth of the tines.

2. Add the organic matter. This can be either homemade garden compost or bagged compost, or well-rotted manure. Between 5 and 7cm is the optimum thickness of the layer of organic matter. When this has been applied you should fork it into the soil.

3.Dig again. You should dig over the soil again to effectively mix the organic matter into the soil. Once again, you should dig as deep as the depth of the spade or the length of the fork’s tines.

4. Tread the soil. You should tread the area, simply using your heels to firm the soil. Again, you should break up any large lumps in the soil with the back of the garden fork. Sprinkle the fertiliser over the soil, paying close attention to its application recommendations on the box. Mix this into the soil using the rake and the same time as making the soil even for planting your plants and sowing seeds.

Are There Any Extra Tips?

-Take your time. Don’t worry about getting all of the digging done in one go, especially in a larger garden. It’s more important to aim to dig the soil properly and sufficiently break up lumps of soil rather than aiming to complete the job as quickly as possible.

-Use homemade compost. Wherever possible, it’s always best to use homemade compost. You shouldn’t worry about it not containing the correct nutrient for your soil, it’s just as good as anything you’ll buy in garden centres! As well as being fantastic for your plants, it makes use of any garden waste that might otherwise just be thrown away!

Do you have any more tips on improving soil quality? Let us know!

[Photo Credit: thirstforwine ]