The weather has been really nice the past few days so yesterday when it was bright and beaming I spent a perfect day setting up my pots and amending my 4 year old soil. Unlike a lot of other container gardeners I don’t throw my soil out after the season is up, I like to keep amending and feeding it with the nutrients it requires to grow healthy and thriving plants.
There are many ways of building up the health of your soil and you can even make the soil better than when you bought it. Its essentially providing your soil with all the essential nutrients it needs to bloom;like packing your kids off to school with the right tools.
I build up the health of my soil with various free resources from my city and from end of season garden sales. This is a very good way to save money on gardening;who says you need to spend a lot! I first started with the cheapest bag of soil I could find, A $2 bargain at Walmart that honestly did not have much nutrition in it. I fell in love with gardening at the end of that year so I started to provide for that same soil to allow it to feed me again the next year.
I actually had to do quite a bit of soil amending this year as I neglected my soil last season due to moving houses and getting a very late start. As a result of this I encountered a few issues and had to deal with a few more pests than usual-I lost the battle with a few of my plants and had to sacrifice them to avoid further damage and contamination. None the less I still had quite a reasonable harvest.
One of my favourite free resources to amend my soil with is leaf mould. It is wonderful at improving soil texture and fertility, however it lack nutrition so I tend to add other amendments such as compost;manure;rock dust and worm castings. Leaf mould is essentially a conditioner to help increase water retention and it improves your soil structure immensely. I once even grew a few veggies in just the mould with no other soil or amendments with surprising results (2013 veg greed), so trust me this stuff is great.
If you are in the Toronto area I will provide a link at the very bottom to where you can get free leaf mould for your garden or balcony.
So what did I put in my soil this year:
– Leaf mould
– Black earth top soil (Last end of season sale purchase roughly 5 bags $10+where I found my free red wigglers)
– Azomite rock dust
– Dosing my soil with compost tea made from worm castings + molasses
Just a quick note: Black earth top soil is usually a good blend of black earth, compost and manure. The brand I got was Presidents Choice, and even though I have never used this product before I know that it is good. Why? Because I found close to 200 healthy red wigglers inside one of the bags and very rich black soil-this is to me a good indication of the nutrition level. So lets see what happens!
Starbucks: Ask about grounds for gardeners (only some locations have it)