December 27, 2018
Every spring, people come into the store with a common problem. That problem is that things just don’t want to grow in their yard.
There are spots in the lawn where the grass doesn’t want to grow. The area where they have perennials growing will have some perennials growing well and other plants not growing so well. The area where the vegetable garden is just doesn’t give them the crop they want. All the areas get sufficient sun, the plants get watered, and the lawn and gardens are fertilized. They always ask, “What is the problem in my yard?” The answer: “It’s the soil.”
If you are growing a lawn or a garden bed, you need at least 6 inches of good-quality soil for your plants to grow. If your lawn doesn’t have at least 6 inches of good soil, it will be a battle to get it to grow. In a vegetable garden, you may need as much as a foot of good soil to raise a decent tomato crop. Annual flowers will need 6 inches of good soil. Perennials may need 6 inches of good soil. However, some perennials will grow in a poorer soil – and some even prefer a poorer soil.
One of the “hidden” problems is that you may have good soil in part of the lawn or garden and not-so-good soil in other parts of the lawn or garden. For things to grow successfully, you will need to fix the soil in those areas where the soil is not so good.
Lawns are the perfect example of needing to fix the soil. When people have a problem growing a lawn, I usually have them take a shovel, go out to the lawn and dig out a 6-inch-deep core of soil. They bring the soil into the store, and a quick look tells me all I need to know. If there isn’t 6 inches of quality loam, a quality lawn is not going to grow.
Almost every problem lawn has had an owner who has tried the quick fix. They will put an inch of good soil on top of the bad spots and seed the lawn, and, yes, they will get the grass to sprout and grow. It may even look good for a while, but then the summer comes and the lawn goes back to its old bad habits and the same spots die out again.
To fix a problem area with poor soil may require you to dig out the soil there and replace it with good-quality soil. In some cases, you may get away with adding soil or compost that is mixed into the top 6 inches of existing soil to make that existing soil a better soil.
Over the next few weeks, I will give you a lot more information on soil. There are different types of soil, and the type of soil you have can determine what you will need to do to it.
Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you all have a Happy New Year.
I’ll talk to you again next week.