For many gardeners, it is easy to take a patch of soil for granted and assume it has all of the components necessary for healthy plant growth. After assuming the soil is good to grow, gardeners simply choose a kind of flower or vegetable crop they would like to grow, and then dig the hole, plant the crop, and hope for the best.

In the case of excellent soil, the flower might grow healthily and beautifully. However, after a long time of using the same soil, to gain the most optimal growing environment for the plants, actions to improve the soil must be taken. This is considered amending the soil.

How can you amend soil? The first essential step is to take a soil test to find out how quickly your soil drains. By doing this, you can find out exactly what your soil is lacking. Follow the steps in this article to learn how to do a soil drainage test, and for additional tips on improving the health of your soil.

Conduct a Soil Drainage Test

To conduct a soil test properly, the first thing you need to do is dig a few holes around your yard. It is recommended that these holes should be at least six inches wide and six inches deep.

The day before you take your actual test, you should saturate the holes with water, which will lead to a more accurate result. After all of the water has successfully drained, fill the holes with water again, making sure the bottoms of the holes are flat.

After an hour, simply measure the water levels in the holes using a tape measure. What you are attempting to find out with this test is how rapidly the soil absorbs the water.

  • If your soil absorbs less than a half of an inch water after an hour, your soil has a considerably poor quality of drainage.
  • If the water in the holes drains at a half inch after an hour, it means that your soil has a slow drainage; however, it is sufficient.
  • If the water drains from one to four inches in an hour, that is a good news for you because most kinds of plants and flowers can do well in this soil condition.
  • If the water drains at a rate of more than four inches within an hour, the soil is considered to be quick draining. It is recommended that the water level should be definitely drained out of the hole from four to six hours because this amount of water is ideal for your soil. However, if the drainage lasts more than eight hours, it is difficult to grow any different kinds of flowers or plants.

If your soil has poor drainage, it likely consists of a lot of clay or has too much sand mixed in. You'll be required to add more organic matter to the soil, or opt for a container garden instead if your soil is too far gone.

Creating a New Flower Bed

Once you've determined your soil is good enough for planting, the next step is to remove any existing vegetation (weeds or grass) from the soil. Most growers pull these out by hand, use a flat spade, or apply a glyphosate herbicide as a last resort. You can also smother the area prior to planting, which also kills off a lot of vegetation.

This step is essential because you have to be sure that there are no weeds or grasses growing where you tend to grow.

If you kill grasses or other existing vegetation with a glyphosate herbicide, you should till or spade the bed garden after one week. In fact, tillers are helpful for loosening soil to enable water to reach plant roots, fertilizer for soil, mixing in compost and turning soil.

The plants you sprayed should turn yellow, indicating that they are dead.

Soil Amendment

The best soil amendments to create the best environment for your plants consists of organic or inorganic fertilizers, as well as other soil amendment ingredients like compost. You should also learn about the three vital factors found in most chemical fertilizers, which are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N-P-K). Always pay attention to the N-P-K ratings on fertilizer packaging so as to get the proper combination in your soil.

Check out A Beginner's Guide to Reading Fertilizer Labels for more information on this important step.

Mulching

It is undeniable that mulching can bring many benefits for your garden. In reality, not only does it add an attractive perfect look to your garden or yard, but it also helps keep weeds at bay as well as retain moisture. One thing you have to make sure of is not to lay mulch too thick.

To sum up, in spite of the fact that you may not be lucky enough to have the most nutrient-rich or healthiest soil when you're starting out, you can follow the aforementioned principles in this article to better your garden.