How To Breathe Life This Spring Into Your Tired Garden Soil

Gardening 11.09.15
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:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Martin Finn
    Martin Finn Oshkosh, WI
    How do you turn the grass under? You don't use a rototiller?
  • 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?
  • Jen
    Jen Wallace, SC
    Wisteria vines are huge and taking over my garden spot...what do I need to do right now!
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