Let’s talk about garden soil. For those of you like me, who want to call it dirt, the saying goes, “Dirt is just soil out of place.” So, it is dirt, if it gets in your house, it is soil, if it is in your garden where it is supposed to be!
Soil is the key ingredient in growing your own food! The richer the nutrients in the soil, the richer the nutrients in your food. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself about the soil you choose:
- Is the soil free of commercial pesticides and insecticides? This includes any soil brought in, or the soil in your backyard. If your lawn has been sprayed with weed killers, you might want to consider creating a raised bed garden.
- Does the soil have the ability to grow healthy, nutrient-rich plants? It is hard to grow healthy plants in soil that contains too much sand or clay.
If you are starting a new backyard garden plot (not a raised bed) this year, first till up the soil and then add compost. This is an important step in having a healthy, productive garden plot. You can choose to either make your own compost or buy it. Check out our composting blog where we talk about feeding your soil vitamins.
If you’re considering making raised garden beds, here are a few suggestions of different soil recipes you can use in your garden beds.
Good black soil mixed with compost. We had a nice large pile of fertile black soil from our land that wasn’t being used, so in some of our beds, we put about 2/3 part black soil and 1/3 part compost, and mixed them together. This black soil did contain some weed seeds because it wasn’t steamed, but we weren’t about to let our good black soil go to waste.
Compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. Another option for soil in your raised garden bed is 1/3 part compost, 1/3 part vermiculite, and 1/3 part peat moss. These three ingredients should be mixed together prior to filling the box. This mix should be free of any weed seeds (a great bonus). If you are looking for a quality garden soil mix, check out Purple Cow. It is one of our favorites!
One of the greatest benefits of growing your own food is knowing your body is getting the best nutrients possible. And think, it all starts with the soil!