How to Gain Healthy Soil
In Colorado, soil is anything but rich — just put your bare hands in it for a while, and feel what it does to your skin. Does that statement mean that our soils are dirt cheap? Maybe.
But spending a little cash and effort to amend this dirt will pay dividends for at least as long as you own your lawn and garden. More than likely, for a long time thereafter for the owner you may sell to. The new owners will appreciate your investment just as much as you will. Higher resale? Sure, because your dirt isn't cheap any more. Instead, it's productive!
Because of our semi-arid climate, lack of moisture consistent moisture, and low-to-nothing humidity, our environment has not been conducive to thriving vegetation as are some areas of the country, where good topsoil can be 6 feet deep. As a result of that, plus a rather intense sunshine, the dirt we build on contains no healthy micronutrients from plant life. Instead, sand and clay and millions of seeds from weeds have been blowing around in our wind for eons.
Take a look at the Briargate area as an example. When it was a ranch, the topsoil was covered with native grasses and weeds. When scrapers and bulldozers came in to build the area into thousands of home sites and commercial venues, the true nature of the ranch was finally exposed. It is one big sand pit from east to west; from north to south. It demonstrates the results of perhaps a sea bed of long ago or of millions of years of gravel and sand blowing on the plains and over the Front Range Mountains to collect in that area. A genuine beach to grow lawns!
That area is not so uncharacteristic of others around El Paso, Teller, Huerfano and Elbert Counties, and points east and south. That's why it is so difficult to get a beautiful yard and or a fruitful vegetable garden, unless you start your gardening way before you purchase your plants, sod, or seed.
It doesn't matter if you seed or sod your new lawn or are applying new blankets of sod in distressed areas. You'll need to properly prepare the ground. Healthy soil, rich in nutrients, micro-nutrients, and water absorbing characteristics is crucial to allowing a lawn to establish a healthy root system. Plant root systems draw their strength and stamina from the soil in which they grow.
Here are some simple steps you need to take to prepare your plants growth medium:
Step 1. Visit Don's Garden Shop! Ask any of the staff about amending your soil. They know the answers, and will help you decide which amendment of their inventory will work best for you. They'll teach you how to apply it, how much you will need and what you can expect. These soil amendments are available by the bag for small areas and gardens or by the truckload, from Don's yard to yours. Be sure to come in with the measurements of your yard and/or garden area.
Remember, Don's has been producing organic soil amendments since 1952. They know make 15 different varieties for varying conditions and applications. They know what they are talking about!
Step 2. Spread the soil amendment over your garden area or lawn. Make sure that it is at least 1 to 1-1/4 inches deep.
Step 3. Rent a rototiller. This walk-behind machine will loosen the soils so that the root system can go deep. It is as necessary to rototill your soil as it is for a farmer to disc and till his fields before planting.
Step 4. Rototill to depths of 6 inches, going over all areas at least two times. The repetition assures uniform homogeneity.
Step 5. Now you are nearly ready to plant!.. nearly.