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South Central Gardening: Creating Good Soil

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Follow these tips to condition your soil and help your garden grow.


Gardens need three things to grow: sun, water and good soil. Place your garden where it gets adequate sunshine, at least six hours a day. My garden is on the east side of our log cabin to catch those early-morning rays.

In our neck of the woods, unless you plan to grow xeric plants, you will need supplemental water. Soaker hoses, sprinklers or a full irrigation system; choose the best option for your pocketbook and plants.

Much of Oklahoma’s soil is red clay, red sand or a mix of each. With raised beds you control your soil and improve drainage but you still need soil amendments. Personally I like shredded leaves, and since I live at the edge of the deciduous forest, I have plenty. Composted, shredded leaves are earthworm heaven, and everyone likes earthworms, don’t they?

Sandy soils have good drainage but are less fertile. Once again composted cottonseed hulls, homemade compost, shredded leaves, manure and other decayed matter are the keys to dark, crumbly soil.

This spring we’re crafting a new vegetable garden I’m calling my potager. It sits directly outside my kitchen window, where I can pop outside to snip off a bit of basil, or pluck a ripe tomato for our evening meal. With every garden we’ve built, we’ve learned more about what is essential for us. This time we crafted raised beds with edges wide enough to sit on while I garden. These are surrounded by level brick pathways to accommodate my garden cart.

This is a garden I’ll enjoy now and grow old in later. As I build it I’m trying to consider the future. What will you do differently this spring to prepare your garden?