It’s easy to look at dirt as something dead and in infinite supply. But good topsoil is a living material. It’s full of living microorganisms, insects, worms, organic material, and more which all work symbiotically to create an excellent growing medium for plants. And just like all living things need to be fed, watered, and cared for, your soil will need maintenance to stay healthy and supportive for your plants.
As your plants grow, they take nutrients out of the soil to build their stems, roots, leaves, and flowers. These nutrients need to be replaced each year in the form of fertilizer, compost, or worm castings. At Soil Kings, we recommend the latter two because we firmly believe in the use of organic matter rather than synthetic fertilizers as the ideal amendment for soil.
Our aged compost can be directly blended into your garden and flower beds. Compost is best to add either in spring or fall before (or after) plants are growing, so you can till the compost thoroughly into the soil. We recommend tilling compost at about a depth of 2” into your existing soil. Use a ratio of 1 part compost to 5 parts soil to maximize nutrition without altering your loam’s pH.
Worm castings are another word for worm poop. Worms, like red wigglers and earthworms, are extremely important to healthy soil, and experts consider worm castings to be nature’s perfect plant food. These helpful worms eat bits of decaying compost, and the poop that comes out the other end is basically all organic, extra-powerful, non-acidic fertilizer. Worm castings are ten times more powerful than regular compost, and they can be tilled directly into the soil (like compost) before planting or spread on the top of garden beds and/or lawns to topdress distressed loam and plants. In addition to nutrition, worm castings boost the moisture-retaining capacity of the soil, aid in soil aeration, and introduce beneficial enzymes and microbes into your topsoil.
Once your soil is fed, it’s important to protect it from the elements. Calgary’s climate can be harsh. The sun can bake the soil leaving it cracked and parched. The temperature can fly high into the 30s and plunge to -40, sometimes in a matter of days. The blowing wind, glaring sun, and sudden temperature changes are hard on soil. To shield your topsoil from erosion, heat, and sudden temperature swings, a generous layer of mulch should be placed on top of flower and garden beds. Please note that mulch should not touch the stems or trunks of plants or trees.
Keeping your soil healthy isn’t challenging, but it does take some maintenance. Consider feeding your soil at least once a year (once in spring and again in fall is better) and annually refreshing mulch. Some Calgarians prefer to refresh mulch in spring — a thick layer of mulch effectively prevents weeds from growing, while others prefer to refresh mulch in the fall. Mulching can be easier in the cool weather, and the beautiful, freshened mulch beds help preserve curb appeal into the winter months.
Does your soil need help? At Soil Kings, you’ll find the best aged compost, worm castings, and mulch available in the Calgary area at a price that can’t be beaten. Order online today, and we’ll deliver tomorrow contact-free.