With most of January feeling like the beginning of spring, and February likely to do the same, it’s not too early to start talking a little dirt. Planning a spring garden? HOA requires you to maintain a nice green lawn? Time to prepare.
The important thing isn’t what you plant, it’s what you plant it in – the soil you use. Tossing seeds in the ground and hoping they grow is one approach, but a better one is to follow the advice of the old gardeners’ adage – spend a dollar on the dirt, and a penny on the plant.
Dirty words you need to know:
- Tilth. The ability to support and sustain root growth.
- Friability. Texture and air space.
- Loft. Fluffiness. Fresh air and water get into soil
because of its loft.
A good soil specialist blends the elements of soil like a winemaker blends grapes, formulating them for high fertility, negligible shrinkage, abundant micro-nutrients, and years and years of tilth, friabity, and loft.
George Altgelt of Austin’s Geo Growers, the Mondavi of soil blending, creates custom blends for specific plants in the climate and terrain of Central Texas. His fave for flower and vegetable gardens, raised beds, and installation and top dressing of sod, turf, and grass is Thunder Soil.
He describes it as “very fertile, with our highest nutrient profile. It’s made from non-shrinking compost, composted rice hulls, granite sand, and gypsum.” It is, he says, a good overall blend that holds moisture but still drains well, and increases fertility and improves drainage of your lawn when it’s mixed with existing soils.
George never mixes shredded wood or pine bark mulch into his blends. Those are loft-destroyers that can cause massive shrinkage (never a good thing), leaving soil compacted instead of fluffy. Wood belongs on top of your soil, where it can keep it cool and moist.
To make sure his soils are balanced, George has them analyzed regularly at the premier soil-testing lab in Texas, and does outcalls – personal on-site consultations on the best methods and soils to increase soil fertility for your project.
Geo Growers soil blends are available in bulk, bag our own, or delivered. Geo offers organic fertilizers, pesticides, soil amendments, garden bedding plants, medicinal plants, culinary herbs, vegetable seed packets, and garden vegetables. Information or consultations: (512) 288-4405. www.GeoGrowers.net
February special: $5 off any purchase of $25 or more.