Preparing Soil for Planting in a Garden Bed

A resident of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Brendan Wetzel leads the corporate and residential landscaping business Yardley Landscaping and Paving Company. Through his business, Brendan Wetzel assists clients with everything from hedge trimming and fertilization to garden bed installation and maintenance.

Poor soil quality in a garden bed can have a significant impact on the overall health and growth of the plants in it. Yet, many gardeners fail to realize how important soil quality truly is.

The first step in improving the soil quality is to evaluate what type of soil is in your garden bed. This involves considering the texture of the soil, its density, and its propensity to clump together. Depending on how your soil behaves, you can figure out its general particle mixture. For instance, clay soils are dense and hold moisture better, while silts are tightly packed and impede air circulation.

After you have identified the type of soil you have, you can add in the minerals and nutrients that the soil is lacking. For clay soils, mineral particles found in sandy soils and silts must be added to create a more balanced mixture.

Beyond balancing the soil mixture, you must break the soil up using a hoe or tiller. These tools loosen the top layers of soil and enable water, fertilizer, and air to reach further down. Tilling the soil also encourages the roots of the plants to grow deeper. You must break up about 6 to 8 inches of soil to mix in any added organic materials, as well.

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