Getting Grounded By Peggy Sue

For those of you who haven’t yet broken ground, preparing the soil ahead of time will help flowers and veggies grow exponentially better than just plopping them into the soil would.

To do this you will need a bare patch marked out for garden, preferably broken ground (grass removed). You will also need either, peat moss, manure, fish offal, potting soil, topsoil, or sand, depending on your situation. You will also need a spade, shovel or other digging tool. This article, I’m going to talk about clay problems because, in Nanaimo we all know clay problems well.

Now, this method will seem like a lot of work, but you can spread it over time to reduce your workload. First break ground and turn all the clay, trying to break as many clods as you can. Next, you remove three quarters of the clay and replace it with sand, peat and manure mixed together. Mix the medium with your clay mess and your soil will begin to spring to life.

Depending on how much space you have, slowly mix in more of your removed clay and add sand and peat in as needed. This should add volume to your flat patch, making it a raised garden and adding the need for borders of some sort. Once your borders are in place you can fill your garden with the remainder of the clay and mix once more before topping with top soil, or potting soil, and planting.

Making a new garden can be a lot of work (the cost is in the making or re-making of a garden, not the upkeep) and is often intimidating, but it is rewarding as well and will give you great returns in flowers and veggies all year long. Mixing other mediums in with your clay will also have the benefit of improving your drainage and is useful for reducing the puddles in your lawn as well.

Whatever your soil problem, it can be fixed with a little research and a bit of trial and error guesswork. Taking the time to understand what will add to your soil and what will take away from it will help you save a bundle in dead plants and lost crops.