The Hampton GardenFarmhouse Landscape, Portland
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Soil AnalysisLearning about your soil can help you understand what will grow best in your garden. Testing for lead and other contaminants is especially important if you’re growing an edible garden, or if you have children who play in the yard.Three tests to consider:Soil type. Soil is made up of various amounts of sand, silt and clay; it’s key to learn how much of each is in your soil to know which plants will be most successful. To find out your soil type, you can do a simple DIY soil test.Lead. Lead contamination can come from nearby industry, old lead pipes or old paint that has peeled off a house, and it can stay in the soil for many years. Contact your county extension office to have your soil tested so you know where toxins occur in the soil and in what amounts.pH levels. Your soil’s pH can affect how plants absorb nutrients, In general, the western U.S. has alkaline soils, while areas with heavy rainfall, such as parts of the Southeast, New England and the Pacific Northwest, have more acidic soils. To test your soil, pick up a simple pH soil test at the hardware store.Resources:Get the Dirt on Your Garden’s SoilHow to Get Good Soil for Your Edible GardenGrow a Beautiful Garden in Alkaline SoilHow to Stop Worrying and Start Loving Clay Soil
“Resting raised cedar beds on gravel instead of soil is a smart move, because the gravel will drain water quickly away from the cedar and does not retain moisture.” — Falon MihalicThis article is full of great tips about which types of wood best resist rot when used in your outdoor projects. Bookmark it for when you get ready to build that new fence, replace the deck or start a container garden.Full story: 8 Rot-Resistant Woods for Your Outdoor Projects
Raised beds. Resting raised cedar beds on gravel instead of soil is a smart move, because the gravel will drain water quickly away from the cedar and does not retain moisture. For the interior of a raised bed, a geotextile or landscape fabric can separate the bedding soil from the wood to wick moisture away from the wood and preserve its longevity.
Water: Timing is everything. Cooler temperatures make early mornings and late afternoons the ideal times to work in the garden in July. Water plants early in the day when evaporation rates are low yet there’s plenty of time for foliage and mulch to dry out, reducing fungal-growth conditions.