The Q&A Archives: Soil Preparation

Question: I am planning to till my soil this weekend and wanted to know what I need to do to prepare the soil for planting a flower garden? Do I need to add extras like manure or compost or soil from the Home Improvement/Garden stores? I am a first time gardener.

Answer: Welcome to the team! I'm glad you asked about soil preparation. You know how they say the three important things in buying a house are location, location, and location? Well, the three most important parts of a successful garden are preparation, preparation and preparation! Let me ask you this first, have you had a soil test done? Since this is your first endeavor it is a good idea to have one performed to head off any problems you may have. Contact your local County Extension Office for details. Tests are usually offered for free or at a reasonable cost. When the results come back you will also receive suggestions on correcting any problems you may have. OK, now for the preparation. It is an absolutely great, terrific, wonderful plan to work in lots of organic matter into your planting area when you till this weekend. Things such as compost, leaf mould, or composted cow manure are perfect. This will not only improve your soil's composition, it will gently nourish the new plants you will install in the spring. Organic matter rules! You will be rewarded for the extra work in the great plants you grow. Feel free to post any questions you may have via the website, we love to "cultivate" new gardeners!

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