Your garden is your own little patch of the world to look after. If all of our gardens were cared for organically, it would create a much better environment – for our families, plants and wildlife. But many of us stumble at a stage of organic gardening that precedes even having planted anything: preparation. But where to start? here are a range of options that will help you prepare a healthy and fertile environment for your plants. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide to preparing your soil using organic fertiliser.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE PLANTING
Start by tilling your soil gently in the area you wish to plant. Your first battle might be with weeds. These compete with your plants for light, nutrition and water, so you need to clear them before you start growing. If your area is small, you can gently pull the weeds out, making sure you remove the whole plant, plus its root. For years, ‘soil preparation’ was equated with the practice of completely turning over the soil, based on the assumption that this helps roots push through the soil more easily. Recent studies have, however, proven that practice destroys the structure of the soil. So let’s cross out the phrase “turning over” in our gardening vocabularies and replace it with a more appropriate term: “tilling”. Someone once said
…’til you learn to till, your garden will be miserable….
Okay, maybe no one ever said that before now, but it is worth remembering. The most important thing to do when tilling is to be gentle. You should loosen the soil lightly with a spading fork instead of turning it over completely. Secondly, when it comes to deciding how deep to till, the general consensus is that the depth of tilling and how fine you break up the soil depends completely on your reason for tilling. So think ahead. What do you want to plant? And then decide how deep and how fine your soil will need to be tilled.