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This September at AussieGreenThumb.com is ‘So You Want A Better Garden?’ month. This month I will be focusing on helping you step forward to meet your gardening goals. I realise though that for many people the task of improving your garden seems monumental.
Hopefully you have kept up with the simple challenges so far. My goal is that each challenge will take no more than 10 minutes per day.
Here are the next 5 tips!
Days 11 to 15 – Understanding Your Soil
11. Spend 10 minutes working out if you soil is too sandy, has too much clay or is just right. Dampen a small amount of soil and then pick up a handful. Squeeze. As you open your hand, take note of whether the soil keeps shape or not. If it falls apart you likely have a sandy soil. If you prod it and it then falls apart you probably have good soil. If you prod it and it still sticks together you probably have more clay in your soil. Getting to know your soil will help you understand what you need to do to improve it so that your plants will grow to their best.
12. Choose a garden bed to focus on, either your most sandy or most clay filled. Buy some manure (like chicken poo, sheep poo or cow poo). If you have your own compost this will also work. Add approximately one bag of 30L per square metre and mix it into the soil. Manures and compost help improve both sandy and clay based soils. The organic matter within manure improves the soil structure, either helping to lock in nutrients in sandy soil or by breaking up the clay and allowing nutrients to be accessed in clay soils.
13. Make sure you spend 10 minutes watering your garden manually today. Watch the water as you go. Does it sink straight into the soil? Does it slowly sink into the soil? Does it form puddles and only very slowly sink into the soil? If it sinks fast your soil has good water drainage. If it sinks but only slowly, you probably need to improve the drainage. If it forms puddles on the surface you have water drainage issues. Either buy a soil wetting agent and apply or use a garden fork and thoroughly poke your garden beds which need drainage improvement.
14. Do you have mulch on your garden beds? Take 10 minutes to see which garden beds still have a thick (10cm) layer of mulch and which need a top up. Mulch will limit weeds ability to grow and make your job easier. Top up your garden bed as required. It is a good idea to check your garden beds at the beginning of each season, so every 3 months. Keeping a healthy layer of mulch on your soil all year around will also help to improve your soil because as the mulch breaks down, it will become part of the soil and, again, improve soil structure much like manure does.
15. Spend 10 minutes weeding your garden. Weeds steal nutrients from your soil that your other plants could use. If you limit your weeds you will enable your wanted plants to have access to more nutrients. I also want you to get in the habit of weeding in small doses as a more likely way for you to keep your garden weed free. 10 minutes weeding every few days will increase the likelihood of you actually continually working on the weeds.
Stay tuned for the next 5 tips which will all be to do with Buying Gardening Tools.
For all the ’30 days to grow a better garden’ series, follow these links:
30 days to grow a better garden: part 1
30 days to grow a better garden: part 2
30 days to grow a better garden: part 3
30 days to grow a better garden: part 4
30 days to grow a better garden: part 5
30 days to grow a better garden: part 6
Intrigued to know more about how understanding your soil will impact on your garden? Chapter 3 in my ebook delves into the topic of understanding your soil in a way specifically designed to help beginner and intermediate gardeners understand more about how soil impacts on your garden.
You will learn about;
1. What makes good soil;
2. How to improve your soil consistency;
3. Improving the water situation in your soil;
And much, much more!
So You Want A Better Garden?
Click here to read more about what my ebooks have to offer you, or to buy and help support this website (thank you so much).
All my best articles have been collected into what I’m calling the ultimate gardening toolkit – make sure you take a look, there’s a heap of great gardening advice available.