How to Build the Best Garden Soil

Is your garden looking sad? Odds are your soil is not as rich as it once was. Because of this, you should consider working on improving soil quality. Giving your garden rich soil, full sun, and plenty of water is the best way to have your best garden yet.

Today we are going to talk about what you can do to improve and revitalize your soil. Hint: It is easier than you think. 

Why should you work on reconditioning soil?

When you make the effort to enrich oil you rejuvenate the soil for use all over again. This is vital because as we grow plants in the soil the plants deplete the nutrients in the soil.

You should make a point of reconditioning soil after each growing season. This can be done in simple ways like adding compost or tilling the finished plants back into the soil. 

If your soil is of poor quality when you start gardening due to heavy clay or heavy sand soil you can working to change the soil to improve drainage or water and nutrient retention can help your plants grow and thrive. 

What makes healthy soil?

  • Healthy soil has good drainage
  • A moderate PH level
  • Retains water well without leaving roots waterlogged
  • Holds enough nutrients for your plants to thrive. 

How to make the best soil for raised garden beds?

One of the advantages of using raised garden beds is that you can completely build your soil from scratch helping to ensure that it is just right for your plants for growing.

Starting raised garden beds allows you to start with just the right mix of organic matter and compost to have a thriving garden with less work.

When adding soil to new raised garden beds do a mix of 50% peat moss for drainage and 50% mushroom compost to help pack your raised garden bed soil with nutrients that will help your plants thrive. 

How to improve the soil for gardening? 4 Quick tips to enrich soil fast:

:: Mix compost into your soil

:: Add organic matter such as old leaves, grass clippings, or old mulch

:: Add fertilizer for a fast way to improve your garden soil

:: Use compost tea to quickly feed your garden

How to make soil organic

For soil to be organic it must have gone without spraying or treatment for the last 2 years minimum. This means to make your soil organic you will need to avoid using any chemicals in your garden for at least two years. When adding nutrients to your soil or working on pest control you must use all organic products. 

How to Build the Best Garden Soil

Compost, compost, compost for the best garden soil

Adding great compost to your soil is an amazing way to build up your soil quickly. Check your local Craigslist for a deal on mushroom compost. This strong compost is often sold by the truckload or large feed bags for cheap.

Mushroom compost is high in salt so it is best to add to established plants rather than germinating seeds. This is a great start for any canning garden. 

If you would rather DIY your compost you can reduce kitchen waste and get great compost for your garden with a little work.

A rotating composting bin can be a bit of an investment at around $100 but, you make your money back over the life of the bin while taking care of your compost and protecting it from critters easy.

Some kitchen items can go right into the garden as they are. Every morning I take our coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and banana peels cut up right out to the garden beds. Whenever we are out and decide to grab a fun coffee we stop by Starbucks to see if they have any free bags of coffee grounds available. 

Compost allows you to feed the soil and add nutrients to the fruits and vegetables that you plant helping to nourish your family. Learn more about what to compost for a thriving garden.

Give animal fertilizer a go for great soil

When it comes to fertilizer animals are your best friend. For most animals, you need to let the manure sit for several weeks to keep from burning your plants. Tossing chicken manure into your compost or if you have chickens you can start composting where you let them run is a great way to take advantage of your chickens.

If you are lucky enough to have a rabbit or a friend with one you have found a gold mine for your garden. Rabbit manure does NOT need to sit before it goes into the garden allowing you to put it to work around your plants right away.

Check out these tips on using beer for garden growth. You will be surprised how well old stale beer works as a fertilizer. This is a great addition right into your garden or as a booster for your compost.

Mix in organic matter to build the best garden soil

Mixing organic matter into your soil improves drainage and as it breaks down leaves behind nutrients for your garden. A great way to add organic matter to your garden is to mix in yard waste from grass clippings to small broken twigs.

In the fall as your garden comes down for the season you can mix plant stalks, and fallen leaves into the soil to break down over the winter leaving you with well-draining soil packed with great things for the new growing season.

Using small sticks, dry grass, and fall leaves to add organic matter to your garden can help you save money on your garden.

Plant nitrogen-enriching plants

Growing plants that replenish your soil is a great way to keep your garden going strong. Planting deep-rooted plants help pull nutrients up from deep within the ground.

Growing comfrey in your garden allows you to pull minerals from as low as 8 to 10 feet underground. Comfrey has plenty of medicinal uses for around the home.

Cover crops are a great way to put nitrogen back into the soil. You can grow green beans and peas as great edible cover crops perfect for replenishing the garden soil. This can save soil that has taken a beating from growing things like potatoes and other root vegetables.  

Add Calcium to your garden for stronger plants

Calcium is important to add to your soil to help plants like tomatoes grow tall and strong. Adding calcium to your garden can be an easy task that will help all of your plants grow stronger and help put calcium into the good you grow so your family can be healthy too. Eggshells and powdered milk are just two great ways to add calcium to your garden. 

Let worms build the best garden soil

To really give your garden soil a boost add live worms. Worms help aerate the soil giving roots room to grow while composting organic material in your soil. Worms make it easier for your plant to take advantage of the nutrients.

If you are starting a compost bin you can also add some worms to that to help break everything down faster. For this, do a bit of research on how to keep the ratio ideal for your worms.

Want to save money on improving your garden soil?

A great way to save money when shopping for anything including things to improve your garden soil is to take the time to earn gift cards that can cut the cost. One of my favorite ways to earn gift cards is Swagbucks.

I have been using Swagbucks to earn gift cards for about 10 years now! Sign up for a Swagbucks account to earn free gift cards including to Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart.

Earning gift cards, while you shop, is a great way to cut cost on great items for your garden. When doing your everyday shopping use Ibotta to get rebates on everyday items from milk to your favorite brands.

These can be redeemed for digital gift cards to Amazon or paid out to PayPal within minutes

Insta gift card is one more easy one you can earn points just doing clicks to pages on your phone when you have a few minutes.

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  • Michelle says:

    Very useful and accurate information. Compost is all you need. Ithere is too much incorrect information about adding nitrogen and such plus it is confusing with test kits. Thank you

    • Simple At Home says:

      If one feels the need to add nitrogen I always suggest growing grean beans. We had banana plants in Florida that would thrive when planted with green beans.

    • Mike says:

      Maybe you need to know something about N and what is required in the soil before making comments first. N is N – and there are many ways to source it.

  • Nicola Casley says:

    Great article. Growing a great garden needs to start with growing great soil! Bokashi composting is becoming an increasingly popular method to build fantastic soil. The bokashi’d food waste is packed full of nutrients from food waste and teeming with beneficial microbes which are the building blocks of a strong, productive soil food web. Happy gardening 🙂

  • Mike says:

    This article could have been condensed down to about 3 paragraphs. One – about all the things you can put into making compost – and composting is not about just throwing a heap of stuff into your garden. Two – about how to make compost. Three – about adding compost to the soil. There is too much garbage on the internet from people who think they know a lot about gardening when in fact they know very little.

    • Jenn Gerlach says:

      There are many great things you can do beyond compost for your garden. Some of us are not blessed with naturally wonderful soil to start with.