big plans for small gardens
by Sarah Goldstein |
continued from page 4
The experts will tell you that first, you've gotta figure out what's wrong with it. Sandy soil is kinda grey-looking, and any water you add to it runs straight through. Clay soil is usually red, and when you add water it doesn't drain at all. Hummus is chocolate-coloured organic matter (like broken-down compost) and has that earthy smell. To make your garden happy, your soil needs a mix of all three. So if your soil looks really sandy, add some clay and/or organic matter, or if it's clay you'll need to break it up with some sand and add hummus.
So do I actually do this? Not really. There's not exactly a plentiful supply of clay and sand in the city, and it's not like they're sold in handy little baggies. The main thing is being able to tell good quality soil from poor quality, without killing dozens of plants in the process.
The two fix-its I've found practical in the city are potting mix and moss. A decent potting mix is good-quality soil in a bag. It can get pretty expensive to plant everything in it, but you can mix it with lower-quality soil, moss and compost to create a nice fertile mixture. Moss is sold in blocks, which you re-hydrate with water and mix into your soil.