When it's time to plant, soil may not be the first thing on your mind. But once you dig a little deeper, it's easy to see why it's the key to having strong, thriving plants, and why simply planting in whatever soil you happen to have in the backyard isn't necessarily the best idea.
Good soil, whether you're talking about potting mix (used in containers) or garden soil (used in planting beds), is crucial for strong roots. Just like a plant's leaves need the right growing conditions, roots also need certain things in order to thrive. In an ideal rooting environment, water, nutrients (plant food), and air are mixed in with soil particles, with plenty of space for them to travel where they need to go. This combination allows roots to grow and become strongly anchored between soil particles to support the above-ground parts of the plant.
If garden soil is soggy, hard, rocky, or lacking in nutrients, roots won't be happy and plants won't thrive. But it's important to know that poor soil can be changed. By adding the right materials, soil texture and composition can shift from soggy to well-drained, from hard to light and fluffy, from nutrient-free to nutrient-rich.
To improve the soil in garden beds, incorporate 3 inches of Miracle-GroŽ All Purpose Garden Soil into the top 6 to 8 inches of existing soil. It contains ingredients, such as compost, that help aerate even the hardest, rockiest soil, and encourage sandy soil to hold water longer. It also contains plant food to nourish your plants.
With containers, creating an ideal rooting environment means using a potting mix like Miracle-GroŽ Potting Mix, which is lighter and fluffier than garden soil. Potting mix, sometimes called "potting soil," doesn't actually contain soil at all; instead, it contains sphagnum peat moss, bark, nutrients, and more to help plants flourish.
If your existing soil is too hard or rocky to dig, use raised beds to create an easy-growing garden space. Fill them with a 50-50 blend of garden soil and potting mix. for the ideal rooting environment.
Of course, in addition to planting them in good soil, you'll want to feed your plants regularly to ensure they get all the nutrition they need. Begin using Miracle-GroŽ Shake 'n FeedŽ All Purpose Plant Food a month after planting, following directions on the label.
Soil might not look like anything special, but it's the foundation for your garden's success. Take good care of it and your plants will certainly reward you! For more information on soil, plant food, and other growing tips, or to learn more about how Miracle-Gro can help you grow better, click on any of the links below.
Written by Julie Martens Forney