The Q&A Archives: Enhancing the Soil

Question: I am starting a garden. I have a 5x10 foot area in which I have put grass clippings, leaves, wood clippings and some top soil. I have turned the soil a few times. Is there something I could add to break down the ingredients faster?

Answer: The organic matter your have added to your soil will break down on its own, it's just a matter of time. Of course, the smaller the particle, the faster it will decompose. In the spring, when the soil is dry enough to work, turn it again before planting.<br><br>It might be easier for you if you started a separate compost pile and added the finished compost to your garden soil rather than trying to manage raw plant material in the garden bed. To start a compost pile, just heap grass clippings, leaves, green plant material and some soil somewhere near the garden and turn or mix it every few days. It will start cooking and decomposing from the center out. Keep turning and you'll see it magically become "black gold". Then add the finished compost to your garden or use as mulch around your plants to return nutrients and add bulk to your soil.

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