Although garden soil seems ordinary, it’s actually a complex mixture of organic materials, minerals, and other nutrients. It keeps plants upright, channels water and air to their roots, and feeds their growth. The qualities that make for good garden soil fall into two categories: fertility and texture. Fertility is a combination of essential nutrients and a soil pH level that makes these nutrients available to plants. Texture refers to the size of soil particles, soil cohesiveness, and the soil’s ability to transfer water and air. If you have poor soil, there are certain steps you can take to improve its fertility and texture.
When to Improve Garden Soil With Amendments
The best time to amend garden soil is when you’re first establishing a garden bed. In an existing garden, soil amendments typically are an ongoing task, even if it’s as simple as digging in some compost prior to each year’s plantings. If your plants are growing well, there’s usually no need to touch the soil. But if there’s room for improvement, it’s probably time to learn more about your soil and take action.