Sunday, March 20, 2016

Improving the Soil

Recently, the youngest Gilbert Garden Girl (i.e., my 9 year old daughter) had a science assignment at school: come up with a hypothesis and test it. Her hypothesis was that darker soil has more nutrients for plants than lighter soil. (How proud am I that she chose something gardening related? Pretty darn proud!) To test her theory, we took two snapdragons, planted one in some light, unamended soil from the corner of my garden and planted the other in some dark potting soil from a bag. Then we treated them the same for a few weeks. Guess which one is which:


Hmm. 

The difference is a little shocking, isn't it? It really got me wondering if I'm doing enough to improve my soil. Granted, the light soil in this experiment came from a corner of the garden that was unamended. Still, I think I can be doing more.

Around the same time, I came across this video from Geoff Lawton on how to use lasagna gardening to improve your soil. What I like about it is that you can do it at the same time that you're planting in the same spot. You don't have to sit around and wait a season for things to get better. Woo hoo! Perfect for impatient people like me. I think I'll give it a try this year.

Check it out: 


Awesome, right?

One caveat: DON'T TRY THIS WITH BERMUDA GRASS. I know, I know. Everyone wants to try this with Bermuda grass. It seems like such a nice way to get rid of it, doesn't it? Like the evil villain in a bad movie, Bermuda grass will just laugh at your puny efforts to kill it with simple sheet mulching though. "You can't kill me that easily." It might say. Then it will light a cigarette and sneer at you. No, if you want to kill Bermuda grass, you're going to have to do something much more extreme like dig it out and solarize it. (Sorry to be a killbuzz.) 

1 comment:

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