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Set Yourself Up For Success!

For most of us, thoughts about this year’s garden leapfrog to “What exciting new varieties will I grow?”

Wait, wait! Close your eyes. Think about the best gardener you know. The person with that envy-producing kitchen garden and those killer flower borders.  Bet your bottom dollar that knowledgeable soul takes care of two key things before choosing a single plant. Location and soil.

This garden gets plenty of sunshine and benefits from a fence that offers wind protection.

Love That Location (or Not)
How well did last year’s garden site(s) work? Was there enough sunlight? Good drainage? Crazy amounts of wind? Use what you learned last year to increase your success this time around. Rethink and change what didn’t work.


Essential Soil
Say “soil” and most people yawn. Don’t be fooled – getting this piece right is essential. Soil provides nutrients, moisture and physical support. Better soil = healthier, happier, lusher plants.

  • Observe: You probably already know if your soil is super sandy, sticky clay or hard packed.
  • Test: Before you “fix”, determine what’s actually needed. Your local Cooperative Extension office offers super helpful soil testing services, plus advice about soil types found in your part of the country. Give them a call and ask every question that comes to mind. That’s why they’re there – to help gardeners like us.
  • Amend: Once you know what your soil needs, add it. Work it in. Now pat yourself on the back: you’ve just bumped up the odds that this will be your best garden ever.

Rich soil that drains well produces stronger seedlings and healthier mature plants.

Wahoo, congratulations! You’ve just laid the foundation for your best-ever garden. Now, let yourself go wild choosing fun, new plants!



1/15/2014    Soil & Compost: It All Starts Here, Starting Out