The Burpee Home Gardens Tip of the Week Podcast provides practical information from gardening expert and national television host, Joe Lamp’l on how to grow a bountiful vegetable garden. From planting to harvest, we have what you need to know, every step of the way. In this episode, we focus on what exactly makes “rich healthy soil” and how do you know when you get there.
Show Notes – BHG002
It’s All About the Soil; How to know your soil is the best it can be: A formula for success
Welcome to Burpee Home Garden’s Tip of the Week. Well in last week’s podcast, we talked about 3 basic elements you need to create a healthy and manageable garden: plenty of sunlight, rich healthy soil, and a bit of restraint. This week, I want to focus in more on what exactly makes “rich healthy soil” and how do you know when you get there.
First of all, for plants to thrive, nearly all soil needs to be improved, commonly known as “amended”, as in “amended soil. Typically, as is, soil is either too sandy, and water drains right through it, before the roots have a chance to take up the water, or, the soil is too heavy, like with clay, and water doesn’t drain fast enough. Consequently, the soil can become so saturated, plants can literally drown.
But fear not, we can fix either problem with the addition of soil amendments.
Now to begin, take comfort in knowing this is not an exact science in my book. It’s simply a matter of adding organic matter, such as rotted leaves or aged manure, decomposed wood mulch, or my favorite: Compost. And the best mix is a combination of several options for your Burpee Home Garden plants to thrive!
But why is that? Well fist of all, understand that soil is almost always a mixture of sand, silt and clay; the variable is just in the percentage of each. So, think of each component as a different particle size. Imagine that sand particles are basketballs, silt particles as tennis balls, and clay, the size of golf balls. If you had only basketballs in a container, as with sandy soil that’s a lot of air space between the balls, so water runs right through. Clay soil on the other hand, with all golf balls, doesn’t have enough space. In the perfect world, using the balls as our example, you’d want about equal parts of each to create optimal conditions for air and water drainage and retention.
And that’s why adding organic matter to your soil helps introduce various particle sizes and opens up the soil. But in addition, over time, all of these organic soil amendments create something called humus, which helps with water retention, nutrient availability and allows soil particles to bind together in a favorable way.
But since the topic of soil science is beyond the scope of this podcast, lets summarize what you should know to make it simple.
No matter if you’re starting with loose, sandy soil or heavy, clay, in either case, you want to add enough amendments so that when you squeeze a handful of soil, it binds together, but as you run your fingers through it, it easily breaks apart. So use this example to create your ideal garden soil, and the perfect growing environment.
In our next podcast, we’ll talk more about my favorite of all soil amendments: Compost, why it’s so important, and how you can make it at home for free! Beyond that, we’ll have a whole series of podcasts to get you off to a great start with your Burpee Home Garden Seedlings and what to do throughout the entire growing season, every step of the way, all the way through harvest. And be sure to check out burpeehomegardens.com for more ideas and inspiration any time!
Thanks for checking in!