How to Keep Your Soil Moist & Fertilized in a Vegetable Garden

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Part of the key to growing a successful vegetable garden is keeping your soil both moist and fertilized. Keep your soil moist and fertilized in a vegetable garden with help from a longtime gardener and blogger in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Berry Gardening, Fertilizers & Vegetables
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Amy from, and I'm here to talk just a little bit about how to keep your garden moist and fertilized. This particular garden actually was solid red hard grit clay before I started. When your garden is sand instead of clay, the particles of sand are like little balls, you know. And imagine if they were magnified, they'd be like beach balls in a big huge container and you pour water on there and it just goes right through. If you put enough organic matter in, it kind of blocks up the holes like with little sponges, so that even the water that would kind of go through, it gets held by that spongy matter part and that's really important. Now the clay soil instead of being like balls. It's like cards. They're flat. The pieces of clay are like flat cards and they go together like this and water doesn't go in very easily. It doesn't penetrate very easily but once it's in there, it doesn't leave very easily either so it's a soggy mess. And when you add enough organic matter it kind of props those pieces apart so that it also helps kind of moderate the moisture level of the garden. And this is a garden that this bed here is maybe four years old and I have worked really hard to make sure it has plenty of organic matter because I do not want to be out here watering every second of the day. And when it's 105 degrees like it was this summer, plants really run through the water. So keeping it moist is important. The organic matter also helps keep it fertilized. Because it helps kind of hold the fertilizer in the soil. It doesn't just wash out, like if you had clay soil, it would just run right through and you'd have to be fertilizing every five minutes. And it helps kind of keep it available in clay soils too because clay will actually kind of glob on to the fertilizer bits, the nutrients that you want, and not let them go, but if there's enough organic matter in there, then the organic matter will kind of help that fertilizer be released for plants to use. So the key is keeping it with organic matter. And by organic matter, basically that's composts of all kinds. Compost that you made in your backyard. If you've managed to come up with some composted cow manure or composted horse manure or composted mushroom stuff from the store. You can buy it in bags, you can borrow a pickup truck and take it and get it in bulk at a landscape supply store. Make sure you know what you're getting but organic matter is really the key. If you don't want to go out and buy stuff and you don't have enough compost in your own yard, you come up with from the leaves that are falling, you can also, over the winter grow cover crops like that would be winter rye or Austrian winter peas or hairy vetch. In my area, those are standard cover crops for the winter and then as spring comes, you dig those in. You turn those under so that they're all mushed down in to the soil and as they decompose, those are good organic matter for your garden. So that's another way to get that. It's really important to make sure that you keep the organic matter really keep adding it every time you plant because it disappears. As it gets warm in the summer it decomposes quickly and then it's not there anymore, so you have to keep adding it, which is a drag. But that's the key to keeping your soil for your vegetable garden moist and fertilized. So that's Amy telling you how to do it.


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