Raking up dead leaves, dethatching the lawn, and weeding out the beds isn’t the end of seasonal work. Practiced gardeners know there’s always more to do. And fall offers a chance to do a special favor to your garden soil.
We’re giving you four ways to care for your soil in fall.
Cultivating and Tilling
If you spend time cultivating or tilling in fall, you won’t have to deal with soil crust or wait until mud dries out in spring to do it.
Besides, cultivating helps loosen the medium, which improves air circulation, water retention, and nutrient absorption, all the while preventing weeds from sprouting. Normally, you would cultivate dry soil. Don’t cultivate too deeply or too close to plant root systems.
Tilling in its turn encourages deeper aeration and helps a great deal when it comes to improving heavy, compacted soils. Combined with amending, tillage works wonders on the soil.
So, when you consider amending the soil, you should first test it to find out whether it contains enough nutrients. That way, you can know for sure which chemical elements your plants don’t get enough. That’s especially useful in houseplant care, where you could cater to the needs of an exotic or demanding specimen by adjusting the necessary parameters.
However, in outdoor gardening, you would only test the medium pH. Bear in mind that you ought to measure it when you notice the plants looking worse than usual.
Use a DIY kit from the store or send a sample to the local lab. Repeating tests every 3 years is more than enough.
The First Amendment
There are two cases that call for amending the soil. Either you’ve detected extremely alkaline or acidic values or you want to improve areas where plants with specific needs grow. Starting the process in fall has a greater chance of the medium reaching the desired state by spring without harming plant roots.
Raise the acidity by adding lime and lower the alkalinity by applying sulfur. Let the test results guide you and keep amending regularly throughout the fall. Watch the unhurried and repetitive process bear fruit in spring.
Just Add Compost
Once again: late fall is the time to enrich soil to let the effect take its place over the course of winter. With this, organic matter is a universal helper. It’s eco-friendly, hard to overuse, and can improve the quality of any soil.
By busying yourself with these soil care activities in fall, you’ll ease the workload for the future you when the next growing season starts.