A healthy productive garden starts with the soil. There are many things you can do to keep your soil healthy: adding organic matter (compost, well-rotted manure, grass clippings or shredded leaves) is by far the simplest and the best way to keep your soil healthy. Having a compost bin and tossing in kitchen scraps (peels, leaves, basically anything green) will provide you with lovely compost which will in turn add humus to the soil. Humus is wonderful because it helps improve your soil’s texture by binding some of the smaller particles together, which increases your soil’s aeration. It also improves your soil’s ability to both absorb and drain moisture. You will perhaps have heard gardeners speak about the texture of their soil, ideally you want a crumbly soil, one that holds it’s shape but not tightly.
Here’s an article on Soil and Composting SOIL AND COMPOST it will tell you everything you need to know about composting, including the various types of systems, you’ll find one that is right for you.
We encourage you to have a soil test done every few years. Here is a list of accredited labs in Ontario from OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs):
There is a fee for this service but it will give you all the information you need to assess your soil, including:
- Soil pH (buffer for pH<6.1)
- Total salts
- Organic matter
The results you’ll receive from the lab will include recommendations for you to improve, or correct the various attributes of your soil. Often, simly adding organic matter brings everything into balance.