Question of the Week
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This week's question is one that I wish people would ask more often. Unfortunately, what we usually get is the question of “Why did my plant die, why is it not productive, or why doesn't seem to be thriving?”
But preparing the soil is the foundation, literally, for a good successful garden. I always tell people that by the time your plant is in the ground you are two-thirds of the way to success or failure. That's true with shrubs, vegetables, flowers, or whatever you're planting.
Most people get gardening fever and go out and buy a lot of flowers and go home looking for a place to put them and they get plopped in unprepared soil. If you would spend a dollar on your soil and prepare it first before you plant, you would save money in the long run.
Before you plant, mix compost into the soil, which is the best way to prepare it. It loosens the soil and makes a better spot for those new roots. Plants live in their roots; you can see this when a tree is paved around and then proceeds to die. It's that underground part, the roots, that really sustains and keeps the tree or the vegetable plant, or the lawn grass or any of your plants, going and doing well.
So, mix at least two or three inches of compost into the soil if you've never prepared it before and then an ongoing basis add about an inch every time you renovate the garden. We burn up a lot of compost in our warm climate, so adding it every year will really help your plants thrive.If your soil is very shallow over rock, like in some of the Hill Country areas, build up the soil a little deeper. Purchase a soil mix and build raised beds. I've seen gardens built on concrete parking lots where they just built boxes a couple feet high, filled them with a quality mix, and had a beautiful garden. We can garden anywhere we want to if we just have good soil to grow in. I can't stress that enough, since that is where the garden begins.