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Soil preparation is arguably the most important part of growing your own flowers and veggies and having good soil gives your crops the best chance at a successful growth.
Sp, why we should be preparing our soil in the autumn and just how do we do it?
Good soil provides a good environment for plants to grow and gives them healthy nutrients. It also helps your plants to withstand tougher weather conditions by being able to filter and regulate excess rainfall.
In order to have good soil you need to ensure that it has balanced nutrients and good drainage.
By preparing your soil in autumn, you’re giving yourself a head start before next year’s gardening season comes back around in spring. This is because over the autumn and winter months the frost and rain allows your compost and organic matter to really break down and give nutrients back into the soil.
So how do you prep your soil in autumn?
One of the most common ways to improve and prepare your soil is to add compost. The good thing is that at this time of year, many of the materials needed for good compost will be readily available to you like leaves and grass clippings.
A good rule of thumb when gathering compost is that half should be green materials – think grass clippings and vegetable peels. And the other half should be brown materials like wood clippings and straw.
If you don’t plan on planting during the autumn and winter months then I suggest you cover the soil to prevent weeds from making their way through.
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You can actually just cover the soil with an old blanket or cloth you have laying about if you’re not looking to purchase garden fleece.
Alternatively, you can also cover your soil with mulch. This is also a good option if you are planting in the soil throughout the colder months.
By covering the soil and suppressing the weeds from germinating, you’ll be helping to prevent their growth in your garden next year too – so it’s a win win.
Well rotted manure is also really good for soil – if you’re lucky enough to live near a nice local farmer it’s definitely worth asking if you can get your hands on some well rotted manure.
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It’s important to ask the farmer how long its been rotting for, ideally you want it to have been rotted down for at least a year.
Anything less than that could have a much higher concentration of nitrogen which can actually damage your soil.
If you do have the time and facilities to prep your soil now then I strongly suggest you do so, you’ll thank yourself as next year’s planting season comes around and you’ll have less work to do!
And let’s face it, after the colder months there are plenty of other garden jobs to be getting on with. The more you can do now, the better.
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