The first part of making sure your garden is going to be successful, is ensuring that your soil is healthy and balanced to provide you with optimum vegetation. There are four main things that contribute to efficient soil:
- Inorganic material I.E. Sand, silt, clay, ect.
- Organic matter. I.E. Decaying plant and animal matter
One of the best ways to enhance your garden soil is to fertilize it. There are many types of fertilizer out there. I prefer to use an organic method. I have a compost pile. I throw yard clippings, scrap fruits and veggies, undyed paper, things that will break down. I threw a couple boxes of earth worms (I just got some from the fish bait shop and chunked them in. Inexpensive way to do it but, you could always just go the free way and dig some up out of your yard. A few other things you can use is blood or bone meal, fish emulsion, barnyard (Manure, animal poo. Gross, but effective.) It takes about 20 to 30 pounds per every 100 yards of garden soil, so be prepared to buy a lot if you don’t have your own cows, rabbits, chickens, goats, horses, ect. You want to make sure you know what the animals are eating.. Anything they eat will come out in their manure, and if that is going in to your soil, it is going in to your plants and you really want to be cautious with that. I also will sprinkle epsom salt around in my garden. It contains magnesium that is really good for your soil. Its also organic and water soluble. I personally prefer these organic methods for fertilizing. You CAN NOT burn up your plants with these organic methods. Whatever your plants do not need are either stored in the soil or discarded.
Other forms of fertilizing can be a little trickier. On the bottom of the you will see three numbers separated by a dash. These number represent the primary nutrients; nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The “Perfectly balanced” fertilizer will be 10-10-10. Some fertilizers will also be fortified with calcium to help prevent splitting and blossom end rot and try to help increase the amount of produce you get. You can get a kit and test your soil to see what the mineral content currently is. If you have a high phosphorous, content for example, and no potassium, you wouldn’t want a fertilizer with a high phosphorus content. You would probably go with a 10-0-20. The problem with fertilizers like this, is that if you get too much, or too little of something, it can burn up or kill your plants. So you have to be careful using these types of fertilizers. Some are instant fertilizers and some are time released. Food spikes for instance, are slow acting. You stick them in the ground and they slowly dissolve and fertilize the ground. Since I don’t use these types of fertilizers, I went to Wal-Mart and took a few pictures of some bags to show you a little example of what I have been talking about.
It doesn’t matter what method you use, as long as you are comfortable with it, and it is effective at giving you the best results in your garden! That is what is important. You may not get it all right 100% the first time. The key is to not give up. Trial and Error. Keep trying, change your methods, and always, always, know you can succeed. The best thing you can feed your family is organic, healthy fruits and veggies, and meat (if you’re comfortable with that sort of thing), straight from your own front/back yard. 😀