Soil: the Foundation of Your Garden

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The foundation for all gardens is the soil we use to grow our flowers and food, and the sad truth is that soil in and around Flagstaff often isn’t up to the job. 

Our arid climate means that both rocks and plant materials break down very slowly, so soil doesn’t have a chance to develop. This results in soil that is nutrient-poor (about 1% organic matter) and slightly alkaline, both of which interfere with a plant’s ability to draw needed nourishment from the soil.

Add to that the amount of clay in our dirt, which is impermeable and doesn’t give our plants the porous environment needed for proper drainage.

However, soil can be amended to make it more hospitable for your garden.

Your first step is to determine the pH level and “texture” of your soil. We have inexpensive kits at the nursery to find out what your soil has and what it needs to be good garden soil.

Once you determine what your soil’s made of, the next step is to amend it to adjust the pH (if needed), improve texture, and add nutrients. Our staff at Warner’s can help you choose the correct amendments to adjust your soil and give a solid foundation to your garden.

Here are a few other tips for good soil in northern Arizona:

  1. Whether it’s broccoli or begonias, it’s important to plant your garden organically.

  2. Reduce waste by composting and create a probiotic for your soil. Added benefit: it will reduce your household trash significantly.

  3. Grow cover and pulse crops such as buckwheat, beans, lentils and clover. They do double duty- enriching garden nutrients while controlling weeds.

These steps will give you healthy, happy and organically rich soil for your garden.

Happy Spring!