How to Prepare Soil for Spring Planting
This week on the farm we’re experiencing unusually high temperatures for January. This week we felt the tease of mid-70 degree weather, reminding all of us that spring is indeed coming.
On mild sunny days in the winter, the weather can give many of us that itch to start digging. These are great days to begin considering your soil preparation and ground readiness for spring plantings. Below are a few tips on how to prepare soil for garden beds and landscapes.
Step 1: Start Early!
Many people wait until spring has arrived and you’re ready to start digging and planting to begin thinking about the soil. Don’t wait until you have a truck bed full of flowers and shrubs ready to go in the ground. Start early - take advantage of mild winter and early spring days to improve your soil.
Step 2: Turn & Loosen Soil
Pick a day to begin turning and loosening soil with a garden fork or shovel when the ground is slightly moist - not too dry, but certainly not wet. When preparing garden beds, many of our customers prefer tillers. While tillers are time savers, they often don’t go deep enough. Turning soil between 12-18” for areas where larger shrubs will be planted is considered best practice.
Step 3: Add Organic Matter
This final step of adding in organic matter to your newly-turned soil is perhaps the most important for providing a fertile environment for spring plantings. A 2015 article by the Virginia Cooperative Extension cites:
“Organic matter is a great improver for both clay and sandy soils. Compost, manures, leaf mold, sawdust, and organic amendments improve soil structure and thereby increase its water-holding capacity, aeration, and water infiltration. These materials are decomposed in the soil by soil organisms and their byproducts release plant nutrients and provide sites for nutrient retention.”
For more information on how to begin soil preparation and planning for your spring plantings and installs, contact our expert team today!