The Q&A Archives: Prepare My Soil For Spring (herbs, Vegetables, Bulbs)

Question: Could you please share some information about this part of Country. I just moved From Oakland, CA to Rochester NY and would like to prepare my soil for Spring and Summer before snow starts here. I have no experience how it will work here. I know that I should prepare my soil in Fall and Winter for Spring and Summer. I am a good Gardener (I think at least) and would understand your tips.

Answer: The first thing to do is to test your soil by running some basic tests to see how the pH is and how the major nutrients are. Then you will be able to judge how much lime (if any) needs to be added this fall and how much (if any) nutrients need to be added for the things you want to grow. You will also want to determine the type of soil such as if you have a clay-based soil or something else. Your county extension should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

Fall is a good time to prepare the planting area and begin working in ample quantities of organic matter such as compost, old rotted leaves, and so on. The organic matter will help with the soil structure and help provide a better growing environment for your plants over the long haul. The beginning stage of a garden is the best time to add it in large quantities. To some extent the fine tuning will depend on what you want to grow, but in general loosening the soil and adding organic matter is a great start that can certainly be performed in the fall. Onc ethat is done, you might want to mulch the area with an organic mulch to protect it from erosion over the winter as well. The mulch will continue the soil building by breaking down gradually over time, or can be either pulled aside (to be reused in the summer) or dug into the soil (as additional organic material) next spring. When you check with the county extension, ask them for suggestions as to which specific varieties do best in your local area and for any locally oriented publications they may have that would be helpful. Have fun with your new garden!

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