Tips: How to Improve Your Garden Soil on a Budget
There are dozens of products on the market for gardeners at home improvement stores and nurseries. Ranging from mulch to water supplements, the cost of improving gardening soil can be very expensive. However, there is no need to buy ready-made products–unless you have no time. By following these simple tips, you can have garden-ready soil at little to no expense.
Begin composting your kitchen scraps. Start by collecting fruit peels, potato skins, carrot peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, and other scraps that become available daily as you prepare food. It is advised that you not compost things like meat, because the smell can attract wild animals, and it becomes unpleasant. Additionally, bone does not compost well. When these items are placed in a composter or another outdoor container with a lid, it breaks down into nutrient-rich material that can be added to your soil. You can sprinkle handfuls of compost around the base of plants every few weeks, or turn it into the soil with a pitch fork before every planting period.
You can also use “Lasagna” gardening to make an effective mulch system. Lasagna gardening is an organic gardening method that saves time. Instead of placing one big layer of pre-composted soil down, the lasagna method uses layers of biodegradable material, similar to the way lasagna is prepared.
The first layer is something heavy, like flattened cardboard, to kill the grass. The next layer should be something absorbent, like peat moss. After that, a layer of compost. Then, another layer of absorbent peat moss, and then organic material like grass clippings. Some gardeners will let their lasagna beds sit, so the materials can break down–but this is not completely necessary.
Depending on where you live, your local city government may have a cheap compost program that allows you to buy compost. Big universities, restaurants, and farms may also have this option. Shop around to find where you can buy cheap compost.
Planting a cover crop can also help repair soil quickly, while still giving you a crop to harvest. Cover crops tend to not need to be watered, unless you are experiencing a drought. When it is time to plant your next season’s crop, cut back the cover crop. Then, wait two days, or until the remaining stalks are dried. Then, use a pitch fork to turn under the crops. Then, wait a few weeks until the start of the growing season to plant your new vegetables.
Begin preparing your garden for the growing season weeks in advance, to give you time to break down compost items, if need be.
Almost all of the soil improvements that you should make in order to have a thriving garden can be made very inexpensively, and very effortlessly. The money you save on making these soil improvements can give you more money for seeds, tools, or other home improvement projects. By following the simple tips in this article, you can have nutrient-rich soil available for planting, all year round, at very little cost to you.