starting a small garden with plants - Knowledgebase Question

Philadelphia, PA (Zone 6B)
Question by wwwmelissas
April 29, 2005
i want to start a small garden with starter plants
i dont know what soil to use, or how do i know if my dirt is good or not.


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Answer from NGA
April 29, 2005

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Whenever you start a new garden it is a good idea to remove any existing grass or weeds, then loosen the soil going down at least six to ten inches. It is almost always better to work with the existing soil rather than import top soil. Mix in several inches of organic matter such as compost or old rotted leaves. If your soil is clay based - and your local county extension or nursery staff should be able to help you determine this -- also add some coarse builders sand (not the fine play sand) or fine grit and dig it in. This will provide a good environment for the roots to grow in. You might also run a soil test and see if the soil is extremely acidic. If so, you might also dig in some lime. Your county extension or nursery staff should also be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results. They may also have suggestions for improving the soil depending on what kind of plants you specifically intend to grow. I hope this helps.

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