After the recent hard frosts, you’ll be cleaning up the garden debris and adding to the compost piles, perhaps putting a fall fertilizer treatment on your lawn (and watering it in!). Are you thinking ahead to spring? What will you plant in the veggie garden next year? Planning on adding some new shrubs? Or have you just moved into a new home that is bare-bones and are dreaming about the new landscaping you’ll install in May?
Here’s a tip you might want to take advantage of right now. Get your soil tested. Yes, that’s right, do it now when the winter is coming; that will give you time to research the recommended soil amendments, add compost, (always a good idea around these parts), and give those amendments get a chance to get into the soil to do some good in the spring.
Nitrogen fertilizers for the garden beds that are to be planted in the spring should not be added now. But, there’s no reason not to add things that adjust the pH, for example, or add calcium or sulfur. Adding green-sand or builder’s sand just to loosen the clay a bit is best done now, too.
Different areas of your yard should have different soils, depending on the types of plantings you have there. Lawn area is different from a rose bed is different from a vegetable garden is different from a planting of blueberry bushes. Soil under trees may be depleted of certain nutrients and therefore might not make the best flower beds, even if you have cut down the trees.
The testing does not have to be done on a yearly basis; every three years or so is adequate. You can even rotate your testing, doing a different area each year and concentrating on that year’s area until you have the effect you desire on that particular soil.
– Traveling Through the Seasons with the Murrysville Garden Club