Best Garden Soil Amendments for Spring and Fall

It’s smart to amend your garden soil in the off-season, and the best garden soil amendments that can really improve the soil and result in more productive yields are easy to find and mix into the garden. This is even easier in spring and fall, when vegetables will not be in the way. This year,┬áconsider improving your garden soil with one or more of these additives.

Adding Compost to a Garden

One of the best ways to get nutrient rich soil is to add compost to the garden. If you have a compost pile at home, this should certainly be on your annual garden checklist. This also works with kitchen compost, even if you just have a small mixing drum of compost to use. The results will be noticeable. An annual addition of compost rejuvenates the soil and help fruiting vegetables grow healthy and strong. If a compost pile is not handy, check your city yard waste site to see if free compost is available, or head to the nursery for a few bags of rich compost to add to your garden.

Leaves to Enrich Soil

Put some of your fall leaves to work in the garden.

Put some of your fall leaves to work in the garden.

Leaves are really just another form of compost, but many gardeners rake the leaves in fall and either burn them or bring them to the curb. In fact, these leaves will do wonders for your garden soil. Add some, but not too many, to the soil and till it in nicely. The leaves will break up and decompose quite quickly, making the soil rich and lighter. Leaf compost is a great idea for heavy soils like clay as they will make the soil easier to turn over time.Leaves

Coffee Grounds in the Garden

It has become popular to add used coffee grounds to garden soil. Be careful not to just add bags of ground to the soil and till it up, however, Coffee grounds tend to be acidic, so an abundance of this additive might have an impact that you didn’t count on. Keep it light and favor locations where acid-loving plants will grow, like blueberries, for maximum benefit.

Make Use of Sawdust

Sawdust is another example of something that might normally get tossed out that might do the garden good. Sawdust is wood, after all, and finely cut wood at that. Sawdust will decompose quickly and create a lighter soil. The main thing to be aware of is where the sawdust came from. You should think twice about adding the remains of treated lumber to the vegetable garden, since the chemicals will end up in your prized crops.

Add Grass Clippings to Garden Soil

That last mowing in fall should be one that gets the grass short so that critters like voles don’t have a comfortable home for winter. While you are winterizing the lawn, use some of those extra grass clippings to amend the garden soil. Like leaves, add grass clippings and then till the soil for the best effect. Make this part of your annual process, never adding too much at a time, and your garden soil will get better each year.

Even those with poor garden soil can improve it and create a healthy and nutrient-rich garden bed over time. Pick any of these garden soil amendments and add it to your spring or fall checklist just before you till the soil, and see what impact it has for you as the years roll on.

Image credit: joiseyshowaa via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

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