#1 If your soil isn't draining correctly, its probably because it's clay soil! So what can you do? Feed it lots of Organic Matter! Dig in lots of chunky like straw, pine needles, wood chips. You can also work in leaves, grass clippings, animal manure (not dog or cat), or my favorite thing, Compost. These will open up the soil so that nutrient and worms call move through the soil better.
Tip: Fresh organic matter uses lots of nitrogen during the break down process. But you can correct this if you will add one of these three things to each bushel of organic material you add to the soil.
1 pound of nitrate of soda or (Ammonium sulfate, ammo-phos, cottonseed, soybean meal, or tankage)
1/2 pound of ammonium nitrate
1/2 pound of ammonium sulfate
#2 Dig in your Organic material in the fall, the best way to do this is by Double Digging.
What is double-digging? Nothing more than loosening the soil more than 12 inches down to create conditions that your plants' roots can stretch their legs out in and soak up more nutrients and water!
How do you double dig? Begin at one end of the bed and dig a 1-foot-wide by 1-foot-deep trench across the bed's width, placing the excavated dirt in a wheelbarrow or tarp. Next, work a garden fork into the floor of the trench and slowly rock it back and forth to loosen the soil. Continue until the soil in the excavated area is loosened. Dig a second, similar-size trench next to the first, this time placing the excavated soil in the first trench. Loosen the soil at the bottom of the second trench with the garden fork. Dig another trench and back fill the second trench, loosen the bottom of the third trench, and continue this process until you reach the end of the bed. Fill the last trench with the soil excavated from the first. Note: As you go remember to work in any and all Organic Material that you are going to use, this will work it deep into the soil.
Tip: If its an existing bed or the middle of the growing season, you can use a garden fork to loosen the soil. Just push it in the ground as fare as you can, work it back and forth, pull the fork out, move the fork a few inches and repeat the first step. After you get done with the fork, spread lots of compost or smaller organic matter and it will works its way down into the fork holes.
* For larger fields like hay fields or lawns, uses a Lawn Aerator, Spiker, Plugger, Core Aerator, or Aerifier in place of a garden fork and spread lots of compost or smaller organic matter and it will works its way down into the fork holes. Most of the time with a hayfield it get's to acidic because of all the animal urine. So it will probably need more lime than anything to correct the problem.
#3 Back To Eden? There is another wonderful way to get larger and even smaller areas back to a most perfect way to grow and its rather simple! HURRY TELL ME! I knew you would ask, lol! Check out this video called "Back to Eden", its amazing how he prepared his site to garden. It is a 2 hour video but what else do you have to do on a cold winters evening! On-line video
#4 If you don't want to go through all that work, do like I do and build "Raised Beds" and garden in those. That way you can control the type of soil and its drainage.
Here were just a few more tips for your soil. Remember more time spent here will be worth it in the long run. Playin in the dirt is a lot of fun, so dig in there! Next week we should finish our talk on soil.
"Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve and mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve."
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