Now that you have decided on the type of garden you want to grow and have your tools ready it is time to begin deciding on the plants you want. Before going crazy in your local nursery or garden center buying everything you see, you should first check the soil in your garden to determine the kind of plants you can grow there. There are several ways you can determine the soil type. One way is to simply dig the dirt up to determine if it is clay like or sandy. You can also have a soil test performed to determine the pH level and the level of nutrients present. Taking either of these steps will help you determine the quality of the soil and what plants will thrive in your garden space.
Improving the Soil
Every plant benefits from soil that is packed with nutrients. Even if you have had a soil test done and determined your soil is perfect, you should still strive to improve the quality. The best way for a beginner to increase the soil quality is to mix compost into their soil using a fork or spade and digging down 8 to 12 inches. Over a few months time, the compost will begin breaking down and improving the soil, so the wintertime is the best time to add compost.
Another simple way to improve your soil quality may be easier for you if you prefer not to dig. This method takes longer, though, but if you have the time, this option may be the best for you. To improve your soil quality with this method, you first need to determine the garden area and use five layers of newspaper to cover the entire garden. Once this is done, add a layer of compost that is 2 to 3 inches deep and let it sit on top of the newspapers a minimum of four months. Throughout this process, the newspaper will begin to decompose and the compost will release its nutrients into the soil below.
Once your plants are chosen in your soil is improved, it is time to move on to the next stage.