The Q&A Archives: Treating Soil

Question: I am planning on starting a new garden for the spring. I don't have any experience in gardening. My soil is a light-tan color, almost gray. But there's little patches of weeds sprouting up here and there. What can I do to treat the soil and make a aromatic garden (if anything)?

Answer: The first order of business is to have your soil tested by a local lab for pH, and to see what nutrients might be missing. This information will help you decide what kinds of soil amendments to incorporate prior to planting. If it were my garden site, I'd dig the weeds, roots and all, then spread 3"-4" of compost or other organic matter over the top and dig it in to a depth of 6"-8". Level the soil, then sow your seeds or set out your transplants. To discourage new weeds, and help slow evaporation, you can cover bare soil with a few inches of organic mulch.

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