Having a great soil is one of the most important element to grow healthy vegetables & fruits. Without a great soil, you won’t be able to grow much. Many people thinking “I don’t have a green thumb” is often a result of planting in a bad soil. This is not because you have random soil in a window planter that everything will grow in it just by magic.
Think about the soil as the crucial element providing a healthy environment for your plants to grow. A great soil should breathe, it should be light and break in your hands. It should also have the perfect balance between retaining & draining water efficiently. And last but not least, it should welcome life at its heart.
SOIL IS AN ESSENTIAL INVESTMENT
By investment, I mean here the financial investment but also the time investment you should grant to maintain the quality of your soil.
My biggest advice : To start gardening, forget about cheap universal potting soil, choose a qualitative & most importantly an organic one. Whereas you can go low budget for most of your gardening equipment, soil is an investment I would always prioritise & never ever lower. If you start with the right soil, you will be able to keep it for a longer time!
Actually a new soil that you can buy contains the right nutrients for an average of 6 weeks only. To allow your plants to grow further, you need to enrich & feed your soil. And this is an important point here, you feed your soil, not your plants! When you will fertilize your soil, the nutrients need to be first absorbed & digested by microorganisms into your soil, before feeding the plant. A bad soil won't allow the development of this necessary invisible life.
STARTING WITH THE RIGHT SOIL & COMPONENTS
If this is your first year of gardening and that you want to have a great start, you will have below my recommendations - You will need 2 different soils & Clay Balls.
- The right soil for your seedlings : Starting your seedlings is the beginning of the growing adventure! It consists of planting the seeds indoor in small little cups with soil to make them germinate in a warm & light environment. It’s the first key growing cycle where the plant will start its early development. To allow your seeds to germinate and your plants to make a great start in this life, an adapted soil is more than necessary. I have tried many different soils and I always had the most satisfaction with the seedling & cutting soil from Plagron. Sincerely the best seedlings soil in my opinion, it is extremely well balanced.
- Clay Balls for the bottom of your outdoor pots : Clay balls should be placed as a bottom layer on your pots or containers. They will ensure a good water drainage & proper aeration in the pot. They will also avoid the roots of your plants to be in direct contact with the ground. Simply put a 3 cm layer at the bottom of your pot. I have been using the Euro Pebbles from Plagron, one bag of 50L was enough for more than one year of gardening. You can also choose to put rocks or reuse natural pebbles if you're lucky enough to live close to the beach!
- The right soil for your outdoor pots : The Allmix Fertilised from Plagron is an optimal organic potting mix and ready to use to start growing in pots and containers. It’s an organic mix powered with earthworm humus. It comes with Perlite which helps for water retention. If you want to start growing now with a prepared optimal soil, I would highly recommend this Allmix, it will give you rewarding results for your first year of gardening.
FEEDING YOUR SOIL ON THE LONG RUN
As said earlier, a new soil contains nutrients only for 6 weeks. Over this period, the soil needs to be fed & enriched.
A great sustainable way to feed your soil is home composting. Check out my dedicated article on "Reducing your organic waste by home composting" to get all the tips, you will see it’s easy! Your organic food waste instead of ending in a trash, can be turned into a natural fertilizer for your soil and your plants.
On top of composting, you can feed your soil with organic fertilizers which will be essential to accompany the following growth cycles of your plants. Have a look to the dedicated article "The Best Organic Fertilizers"
I hope this introduction to soil & these recommendations will lead you to amazing growing experiences & rewarding harvests!
To go further, you can check the article on Reducing your organic waste with bokashi home composting