So, it’s been a long winter and a chaotic spring and you’re probably itching to get out in the garden to start planting. Depending upon where you live, you may be seeing signs of spring already, with trees budding out and new life pushing up through the soil. If not, it’s coming! You’ve got your seeds, seedlings, and garden center transplants, and you’re ready to go.
Wait a second, though. Before you plant, there’s one thing you’ll need to do to make sure they thrive from the get-go.
Can you guess what priority number 1 is? If you’ve known us for a while, you know that:
It’s time to prep your soil!
This is THE most important part of having a thriving and successful garden. And it’s much easier (and wiser) to do this now, before you plant new plants, and before existing plants push their flush of spring growth.
Here’s how to soil prep like a pro.
First: Get Out of Your Own Way
Start by cleaning up. Remove any leftover or dead plants from last season. (If you let perennials and ornamental grasses stand to provide food and cover for wildlife, now’s the time to cut them back so they’re not in your way. Throw them in the compost pile.)
Then carefully lift up your drip irrigation and move it before you do any work in your soil. If you planted cover crops last fall, mow them to the ground and then let them sit and dry out for a a few days before turning them into your soil. Now you’ve got a clean slate to work with.
Next: Supercharge Your Soil
We’ll let you in on a secret to growing bigger veggies and more flowers than you’ve probably ever seen. The key? Biochar!
What is this mystery soil supplement? Biochar is a highly porous carbon that provides a home for nutrients and beneficial soil biology. It’s an ancient technology that’s basically the Superman of soil amendments. You don’t want to use “uncharged” biochar, though, because it will take up nutrients and microbes from your soil and hang on to them. Organic Mechanics® Biochar Blend is fully charged and includes ingredients like compost, worm castings, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, bone char and other minerals to feed your plants.
One note about biochar: While many Biochar products on the market require you to mix into soil up to 4 months ahead of time, the good news is Organic Mechanics® Biochar Blend is ready to use right out of the bag! We pre-innoculate with all the premium ingredients in this blend for peak performance.
For the best results, mix Organic Mechanics® Biochar Blend and any other soil amendments into your soil before planting in the garden. The application rate is 1cu. ft. of Biochar Blend covers 24 sq. ft. of garden bed area. Apply 0.5″ thick and dig to (1) shovel depth (approx. 6″). This gives you the maximum application rate for a lifetime. Biochar does not need to be applied at this rate more than once. Due to its incredible properties, it lasts longer than 100 years in soil, hence why we say it’s a “lifetime” soil amendment.
Continue: Revitalize Landscape Beds
Compost is always a great soil addition, but maybe you can’t or don’t want to make your own. That’s where our Organic Mechanics® Planting Mix Compost Blend comes in. It revitalizes your soil and helps retain moisture with its blend of compost, pine bark, coir, and worm castings.
Adding this soil amendment also helps to replenish nutrients within the soil by feeding the soil microbes that break down nutrients for plants to take up. For an extra-polished look, use the Planting Mix Compost Blend as a mulch or topdressing. You’ll get twice the bang for your buck!
Wrap it up: Feed While You Plant
Once all your garden beds are prepped and ready, you can feed plants as you plant them.
Growing veggies? For high performance veggie gardens use a well-balanced fertilizer. You’ll want to follow the application instructions on the label, but typically you’ll apply once at planting time, then every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
One great way to feed as you plant is to use a product like Organic Mechanics® Worm Castings — worm castings contain beneficial biology (microorganisms), which is what breaks down nutrients into components that plants can use. Throw ¼ cup into the planting hole, then continue planting as usual, or make a tea with worm castings and water your plants with it to give the soil a boost.
Not sure how to make a tea? In a large container, mix one pound of worm castings (Organic Mechanics® Worm Castings come in 1-lb and 5-lb bags) with one gallon of water. Place a lid on it and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds and wait for the castings to settle on the bottom of the container. Pour off a little bit of the liquid, making sure no castings pour out as well, and repeat the process until the tea turns a light brown color. Filter out any remaining castings (add them to your soil surface), and use this tea to water your plants.