How do you get the best garden soil? The answer is “black gold.” You have heard me say it more than once and that is because I consider good compost soil to be as good as gold.

The dirt or soil that your plants grow in may not be the most glamorous part of gardening but it is certainly one of the most important. The reason is that good soil such as what we get from compost has all of the nutrients that your plant needs to be healthy and bear more of what you are growing it for in the first place. Every vegetable gardener must realize that there is just no way to grow the best vegetables without having the best soil. We have been talking about the importance and methods for making compost and this is the pay off – your very own black gold.

Let’s briefly review composting. Composted soil is what we made from all of the kitchen and garden waste mixed with organic matter, some soil and moisture. When you see the results of what this was transformed into it is one of nature’s little miracles. All of those months and months of dumping, watering and mixing pays off in this rich, pliable soil. You do not have to be afraid to handle it because all of the microorganisms have decomposed.

Now what do you do with it? You want to add it to your existing soil in order to improve its’ ability to create better plants. Typical soil found in most yards is only about 10 percent decayed organic matter. Soil that is best for growing vegetables is crumbly and will allow the roots of your plants to pass through it easily. By adding compost to your soil you will improve the texture and also make it possible for worms and other insects to aerate and fertilize the soil with their waste.

But let’s say that you are lucky enough to have started with a garden of good, rich soil.  Over time you will need to add compost and manure to keep it that way. Otherwise much of the nutrient value in your soil will become depleted. You should plan on doing this every year.

We all have to remember that vegetable plants, like all other green plants, require a few nutrient elements for growth, development and ultimately productivity. These include carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which your plants can get from the atmosphere and from water. From your soil, plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. There are also what is called micronutrients, for a total of 16 plant nutrients in all. These are essential for plant health and productivity. Any lack of these elements can hamper growth and yield. Most soils will have all of the nutrients except nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can put those back in your soil with compost.
You can buy composted soil but I want you to start composting as soon as possible because it is not only good for your plants but helps reduce our waste and therefore helps our environment as well.
Making Good Garden Soil
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