How To Breathe Life This Spring Into Your Tired Garden Soil

Your Back Yard 03.15.15
No matter how healthy your vegetable plants start off in the spring - no matter how carefully you water - how perfectly it rains, or how much of the sun's rays find their way to your garden – your plants are only going to turn out as good as the soil you plant them in. Period.

Vegetable crops like tomatoes, peppers, corn and cucumbers take a heavy toll on the soil' structure and make-up. They devour valuable nutrients as they grow to produce the very fruits and vegetables we love to eat. Eventually, after a few years - even the best of soils will begin to break down and weaken if not replenished and re-energized. Soil that becomes weak in nutrients will result in successively weaker crop yields that are also increasingly prone to disease and pests.

So what is the best way to keep your garden strong? Feed your soil!

And no - we're not talking about heaping on generous amounts of expensive synthetic fertilizers. Those are temporary fixes to a problem that can leave your soil weak, unstable, and full of excess salts and chemicals.

  • The bright green texture of 4 week old annual rye – a great green manure crop to plant in the early spring garden
  • To have healthy tomato plants – you need healthy soil
  • Barren soil makes it easy for soil erosion to occur, and for weed seeds to blow in. Cover crops solve both problems.
  • Bright green annual rye about to be turned under to provide nutrients for our tomatoes!
  • Healthy plants make for great looking and tasting vegetables
  • Fall and spring cover crops are a must for replenishing soil

To see more:

  • Jen
    Jen Wallace, SC
    Wisteria vines are huge and taking over my garden spot...what do I need to do right now!
  • Jen
    Jen Wallace, SC
    I have large heavy vines growing in my proposed garden area. What should I do first?
    • Douglas Hunt
      Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
      Jen Perhaps you should reconsider where you are going to establish your vegetable garden. Getting rid of mature wisteria vines is a major undertaking, and not a one-shot proposition. The muscadines are not on some sort of arbor?
  • Martin Finn
    Martin Finn Oshkosh, WI
    How do you turn the grass under? You don't use a rototiller?
  • Gloria W
    Gloria W Little Falls, MN
    By the time the snow melts here in Minnesota I hope I will have time to put a cover crop in. Otherwise it will be to late for putting garden in. Our first Frosts come in Sept. So don't give much growing season. Should I wait till fall or should I still
  • Jeanette C
    Jeanette C Dallas, TX
    Amend, amend, amend is a great idea. Using cover crops in the winter such as vetch, clover, rye grass, buckwheat, alfalfa and planting legumes such as English peas can be helpful when tilled in in the Spring. Containers can benefit from those too. Here
  • Lequita Ridenour
    Lequita Ridenour Eureka Springs, AR
    I am starting my garden this year. Raised beds and a small greenhouse. I am planting the raised beds using the hugelkulture method of putting downed timber in the bottom of my waist high beds.... then new dense top soil (the downed timber composts in the
  • Diana Dray
    Diana Dray Harrod, OH
    Yhank you soo much.
  • Dee W
    Dee W Albuquerque, NM
    Do you do the same in container gardening?
  • Christine Anderson
    Christine Anderson Farmington, WA
    what's the best way to use rye as a cover crop? Can you seed your whole garden plot with it then till it under when it gets a few inches high?
  • Sondra A
    Sondra A Janesville, WI
    Thank you for the info. I had read about this and planted winter rye for the first time last fall. With all the snow we've been having this year I'm not sure I'll ever find out the results! We may be 2 days into Spring but I'm sure not seeing it yet.
  • Cindy W.
    Cindy W. Oshkosh, WI
    Thanks for the info!! I will heading to a feed store (if I can find one) to buy some clover or annual rye soon. Now just for the snow to melt!! With living in Wisconsin, when should the fall cover be planted?? October??
  • Janice C
    Janice C Owosso, MI
    I had better get to the feed store for my rye. Never got a winter cover on so hoping this will help. First I have to hope the sun shines to melt off the snow covered veggie bed. Thank's for all your gardening experience.
  • Rose A
    Rose A Robinson, IL
    Thanks. I am just beginning to learn about natural gardening, although I have gardened for years.
  • Patty
    Patty Bellingham, WA
    Was interesting reading this as I planted a cover crop for the 1st time this fall but never read before to do one in Spring as well. I'll have to do this tks for the great info. Living in the PNW it tends to be pretty wet in Spring.
  • Old World Garden Farms
    HGTVGardens - I sure hope it's around the corner too! We will be starting our seeds indoors soon, and that is always makes us feel like old man winter will be leaving soon.
Old World Garden Farms

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