Hello again Garden Friends-

Let’s discuss how to improve our local garden soil . Using a garden fork, lift soil and fold over. Do this procedure twice; then with a forked cultivator, break down soil folds; this might take several trys. Note-if you are working a larger area a rototiller might be needed. After soil has been fluffed up; it’s time, to rake up debris such as roots and stones. At this time, I like to incorporate gypsum, garden sulfur, landscape sand and organic matter. The more organic matter, the better. This method of improving garden soil will allow water to penetrate the soil, as well as oxygen.

Please remember from previous articles your landscape plants will survive and flourish with rich garden soil. I tell folks all the time, spend more money on improving your soil than on the plants. 

Once you have planted your perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees; it’s important to top dress the soil with a bark chip. The bark chip will hold moisture and keep the weeds down. Replenishing the bark chip will be needed as it will breakdown within time. 

With the wood chips breaking down this will enriched the soil with microbes. 

The garden Guru is always available if you have questions regarding your landscape. I have 38 years, in this wonderful field. landscape architecture, arborist, master gardener and landscape technician, are my specialties.

Mark Koehler

Mark Koehler of Los Banos is an arborist and master gardener, who has degrees in Landscape Architecture and Landscape Horticulture from UC Berkeley and Northeastern University.