Soil Preparation for an Arizona Garden
The spring and summer months in Arizona yield beautiful plants and flowers. Yet, there comes a point when it is time to turn your thoughts toward the fall.
Soil preparation takes time to carry out, and some types of treatment must be done early before the fall planting season starts.
As you begin to notice those first few cooler days, be sure to check your current landscaping plans to include these tips for getting the soil ready for cool season plants.
How to Prepare Soil for Planting
Break Up Compacted Soil
Arizona soil has a tendency to compact easily. This happens most often after a period of drought. It can also happen when large amounts of rain cause the ground to get packed down when you walk on it.
Start by using a shovel or rake to loosen the soil. Aeration may be necessary if the soil is severely compacted or if there is a large area to cover.
Get the Soil Tested
You also need to know what chemicals and nutrients the soil contains. This can change from one season to another.
Some plants strip the soil of certain nutrients if it is not replenished. The soil may also develop a different pH level than it had before depending upon the build up of salts in the dirt.
In some cases, there may also be chemicals in the soil that leached from other types of plant treatments. These need to be identified since they can interfere with plant growth.
Use Soil Amendments
Once you know more about the soil conditions, you will be ready to use amendments to prepare it for the types of plants that you are going to include in your garden.
The amendments you choose will depend upon the pH levels of the soil. Generally, you may need to add sulfur to make the earth more acidic, or lime can be used to increase its alkalinity.
In addition to these treatments, you may also want to add nutrients to the earth with compost. You can add compost that you create at home, or we can amend your soil with our specially prepared compost materials.
Fertilizer provides nutrients to the soil that the plants need to grow such as phosphorus and nitrogen. You can find fertilizer in granular or liquid forms.
For most fruit and vegetable gardens, granular works best because it slowly releases the nutrients over time. This prevents plants from being overloaded with nutrients that they cannot use.
During your first application of the season, you will add it to the soil and work it in to a depth of several inches. Later, you can add less fertilizer if the plants are growing well.
After your soil treatments, you want to water the ground thoroughly. This allows the amendments to penetrate to the soil where they can do their work.
As you water, be careful to avoid making the treatments run out of the garden. A slow soaker hose works great for making sure that the ground gets sufficient moisture.
A little preparation now goes a long way toward making this fall’s garden the best one yet. Make sure that the soil treatments are based upon the most recent tests so that the plants in your garden have the perfect conditions for optimal growth.