- Soil prep tips so your soil is packed with the right nutrients for plants to thrive.
- How to prepare the soil for fall planting including recycling the old debris into your mulch or compost heap.
- Tilling, or turning, your soil is crucial in getting a garden ready for any new season.
- Testing your soil to help you fix any deficiencies long before putting a damper on plant growth.
- Giving your soil a nutrition-packed boost with a top-quality soil amendment.
Do you have your sights set on a fabulous fall garden? Whether you’re planting flowers, vegetables, trees, shrubs, or a little bit of everything, the first thing on your fall to-do list should be preparing your soil for planting.
One of the most common mistakes that new gardeners make is assuming that a regular bag of potting soil is needed to kickstart their plants. The majority of bagged soils promise plants that are bigger, better, healthier, and more fruitful – any gardener’s dream come true! But the perfect planting soil isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it’s not something you can find in a generic bag of potting mix. Luckily, with a little bit of gardening know-how and a few essential items, you’ll be ready to get your soil into prime planting shape.
In this article, we’re going to break down the basics of preparing the soil for fall garden success, covering everything you need to know about how to create the ground layer for your best season yet.
Help Your Plants Flourish this Fall with Smart Soil Prep
The key to a great garden is its soil, which needs to be packed with the right nutrients for plants to truly thrive. The ideal soil for your garden will satisfy plants’ nutritional needs, support proper water absorption, discourage destructive pests, and strengthen the all-important root structures.
1. Get rid of any stragglers from last season’s garden.
Whether you’re working with raised beds, pots, and containers, or a traditional in-ground garden, the very first step for fall gardening preparation is to clean everything out thoroughly. Clear away any remaining or dead foliage, including leftover leaves, stems, and roots. Even small scrap of stem or leaf could be a hiding spot for stubborn pests, many of which would be all too happy to hunker down and emerge in your garden when you least expect it. Removing all of the garden remains also helps decrease the risk for wilt and disease, two factors that can destroy even the toughest garden.
Don’t make the mistake of recycling the old debris into your mulch or compost heap, because you’ll just be setting the pests up for a warm, comfy buffet of nutrients. As soon as you’re ready to use the compost for your new fall garden, you’ll be unknowingly giving all the bugs and unwanted bacteria a first-class ride to their new home. Make sure you throw out all of the spring and summer garden remains, giving yourself a clean slate for proper soil prep.
Note: If you’re starting from scratch this fall, your first step might be getting set up with soil. Unless you’re planning to plant directly into the ground, you’ll need some soil to get started. Depending on the size of the area you’ll be tending, you might need a few bags to a few tons of soil. Your neighborhood nursery or garden center can often help you source quality soil (usually from a local provider), and most offer the option to have the soil delivered. Once you have your garden stocked with a starter soil, you’re ready to move on to the next step of preparation.
2. Then, move on to tackling the task of tilling.
Tilling, or turning, your soil is a critical step in getting a garden ready for any new season. Not only does it mix everything up nicely, but it’s the best way to bring rocks, bugs, and debris up to the surface. Aim to till the soil at least 8 to 12 inches down, working through the entire space you’re planning to garden.
If you’re working with a few small containers or even a relatively compact raised bed, you can use a regular shovel or trowel to get the job done. But if your garden covers a considerable area, save yourself some time and sweat using a roto-tiller. For about $100-200, you can invest in an electric or gas-powered tiller that will more than pay for itself time and time again. Or you can rent them at most home supply stores.
3. Put your soil to the test.
Your existing soil’s condition plays a big part in preparing a nutritious blend for your fall plants. This means that you’ll need to get your hands (or at least, your shovel!) a little dirty, and get to know the soil you’re working with.
There’s a wide variety of soil testing kits that you can pick up from your neighborhood garden center or hardware store and a huge array of options for sale online. Testing your soil will give you a better idea of which nutrients it’s lacking, and help you fix any deficiencies long before they put a damper on plant growth.
Keep in mind that many gardeners opt for a mineral-rich additive that will resolve a range of nutritional deficiencies, so don’t feel like you need to start mixing up complex soil recipes of your own. Whichever route you decide to take, knowing precisely what you’re starting with is a good way to be an informed gardener.
4. Give your soil a nutrition-packed boost with a top-quality soil amendment.
Don’t be discouraged if your existing soil doesn’t turn out to be a nutritional superstar – plenty of native soils are less than ideal for gardening. The good news is that a well-formulated soil amendment like Harvest Gold Organics® Premium Soil Conditioner is all you need to bring the soil up to par.
Add 1 part Harvest Gold Organics® Premium Soil Conditioner for every 9 parts soil, mixing it thoroughly before placing your new fall plants. Water well, and the soil conditioner will take care of the rest – all you’ll have to do is enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Look Forward to a Fantastic Fall Garden with Harvest Gold Organics®
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Harvest Gold Organics® Premium Soil Conditioner is an innovative blend that combines a rich variety of minerals with silica to set your plants up for success. Rather than relying on synthetic silica, we’ve chosen a chemical-free option sourced from the purified gold mine tailings from a historic Arizona mine.
The product helps naturally enrich your existing soil, helping plants fight back against temperature changes and pests, but it’s also designed to regulate nutrient and water absorption for a flawless formula for healthy growth. Frustrations like root rot, bacteria, fungi, and weak stalks and roots will be no more, and your fall harvest will be more beautifully bountiful than ever before.
Don’t be disappointed by another lackluster season – especially when starting your soil on the right foot can be so simple. Order Harvest Gold Organics® Premium Soil Conditioner for your fall vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs, and more, and see the results bloom before your eyes!