Healthy gardens start with healthy soil

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Each spring, we encourage gardeners to learn how to improve their soil because this knowledge has such an enormous impact on gardening success. The easiest way to create a superior growing medium for your plants is to add organic material to existing soil. The goal is to create a balance of sand, silt and clay that will provide easy penetration by roots, air and water.

For many Bay Area gardens, amending high clay content will help achieve a “loamy” soil balance. To break up heavy clay soils, Sloat Loam Builder can help. It contains a unique blend of chicken manure and composted mushroom soil (wheat straw, cottonseed hulls, Canadian peat moss, cottonseed meal and gypsum). This high-powered combination enhances bacterial action in the clay and loosens the soil to allow air, water and root penetration.

For soils that need moderate conditioning, use Sloat Organic Planting Mix. This mix contains fir bark, mushroom compost, perlite and gypsum and is ideal for improving the soil in flower and vegetable beds.

Mulching your soil with Sloat Forest Mulch Plus will also improve soil in several important ways. As a mulch it will help conserve moisture and its fir bark content will add long–lasting organic matter to the soil and help keep clay particles separated.
How much do you need? As a rule, use 1/3 soil amendment to 2/3 native soils. To provide a boost to existing beds, apply a 2-inch layer.

For mulching, blanket the soil with a ½ to 1 inch layer. Two cubic feet of mulch will cover 48 square feet of surface at ½ inch.

When crops are deprived of basic nutrients they suffer. Improve the quality of your soil this spring and watch your plants thrive.

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