When I moved into my house, the front yard was gray and lifeless. The previous owners, instead of landscaping, had put a layer of rocks over the entire front yard, which meant the ground below was devoid of all life. But over the years I managed to revive it, turning what was once gray and dead into a habitat capable of supporting trees and plants. Reviving dead land can take a bit of time, but there are some guiding principles that can help.
Make sure your soil has adequate moisture
An important aspect of revitalizing poor soil is making sure it has the right amount of moisture. Soil that is too wet leads to rot, while soil that is too dry will cause plants to die. What eHow suggests, the way to test the soil for moisture is to dig a hole about six to eight inches deep, scoop up the soil in the middle, and pack it into a ball. If the ball crumbles easily or doesn’t come together to form a ball, it’s too dry. If the soil sticks to your fingers when you touch it, then it’s too wet.
When it comes to fixing moisture levels in your soil, the answer to both problems is to add more organic material, which can be mulch, grass clippings, plant debris, shredded leaves, or manure.
as gardener joe write, “Organic matter is the most important ingredient to improve any soil. It can make heavy clay soil drain better, easier to dig, and not as hard and sticky. It can also help sandy soil hold together better and retain more moisture and nutrients.”
Get your soil tested
Testing the soil is a good way to develop a plan for your garden. Depending on the pH level of your soil and the type of plants you’re trying to grow, you may need to add some additional nutrients and soil amendments to give them what they need to thrive.
although you can test your floor at any timeIt is helpful to do this a few months before you start planting, as this will give you plenty of time to prepare for the growing season. Depending on the condition of your soil, you may need to test annually at first, but once you’re more established, every two years should be fine. For soil tests, it is helpful to contact your local agricultural extension office, as they can often offer high-quality tests at little or no cost.
Keep adding organic matter
Soil revitalization isn’t a one-time deal where you test the soil, add a bunch of organic material, and then forget about it all. It’s a process where you’ll need to regularly add more organic material and nutrients over time, until it reaches a point where it can maintain a healthy ecosystem on its own.
as gardener joe suggestsThere are several ways to periodically add organic matter throughout the year, including strategies such as adding grass clippings when mowing the lawn, shredded leaves during autumn leaf fall, or periodic applications of manure, compostor fertilizer throughout the year.