Why is soil preparation important?

I have recently pondered the question of whether people realise how important soil preparation is?

What raised this question is that I have been watching a new garden being established in the neighbourhood. And it made me realise that a lot of people don’t understand the need for good soil preparation before transplanting their plants.

Importance of soil preparation
The small amount of mulch!

The garden in question sits in full sun, and I have watched a number of rose bushes struggle and eventually die in the garden. So I was interested to see it cleared and weeded recently.

As part of the soil preparation, the soil was broken up and a fine layer of sugar cane mulch was added over the top. But this seemed to be only about a centimetre deep. I’m hoping that some fertiliser was added. No other organic matter seems to have been added to prepare the soil apart from the sugar cane mulch (see photo).

The garden was then planted with several tomatoes bushes. Chances are not great for the tomato plants to provide a bountiful crop!

The soil looks pretty dry and compacted. It will probably be lacking both oxygen and worms, not to mention water!

What you need to grow things successfully is healthy, friable (i.e. non-compacted) soil. Generally if your soil is healthy, your plants will be healthy too.

To get healthy soil, you need good soil preparation. This means plenty of organic matter in the soil. Organic matter is a nice way of saying you need dead and decaying plant materials, as these provide the necessary nutrients to the plants.

The more organic matter you can add to your soil the better! Without organic material, your soil won’t have worms or

Importance of soil preparation
Planted tomato seedlings

beneficial bacteria and it will be depleted of vital nutrients. Organic matter also helps your soil retain water to help your plants grow.

You can add good organic matter to your soil by adding some home-made or commercial compost, mushroom compost or even manure to your soil. This needs to be topped with organic mulches like sugar cane mulch.

You can also put layers of lawn clippings directly on your garden. However, you need to be careful where you put these grass clippings as they can create quite a lot of heat as they decompose and break down. And they can cook any plants that they may be too near.

You may wonder why I haven’t passed this information on to the neighbour in question? However previous attempts at conversation have not been successful. (I tried to offer some advice for the poor roses, which could have thrived in that position with a little TLC). Aren’t you happy that I don’t live too close!

Happy gardening 🙂

from Rohanne, your Personal Garden Expert

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