If you are a new gardener or have recently moved to a new home, one of the best things you can do for the long-term health of your garden is to test its drainage. Soil drainage is absolutely critical to the health of your plants!
Ideally, the soil should hold moisture but also drain quickly — soaking wet soil will lead to rotten roots, while too-loose soil will not remain moist long enough for the roots to drink up the water they need.<p>
Here’s how to test your soil:
Dig a small hole, just a few inches deep.
Fill it with water.
Check the time.
If your soil drains less than 1/2 in. per hour, your drainage is pretty bad.
If it drains more than 2 in. per hour it may be a little too fast.
Once you know what the issue with your soil drainage is, fixing it is much easier. High-quality compost is the solution for both compacted (poorly draining) and sandy (too loose) soils. Begin composting as soon as you can, and continue throughout the season, applying fresh compost to areas that do NOT have plants in them yet. When winter arrives and your plants go dormant, you can heavily compost the entire garden.
If you check out Park’s tools and supplies, you’ll see that we offer good options for amending soil quickly, such as Espoma products for specific types of plants as well as a complete line of composters and starters. However, bear in mind that if you need to save money and have a little time, you really don’t have to spend a dime on improving soil drainage. Just set up a compost pile (or several — the more the merrier!) and begin “growing” your own great soil!
Happy gardening from your friends here at Park!