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12 Natural Ways to Improve Soil Quality

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12 Natural Ways to Improve Soil Quality

Some gardeners are lucky enough to have healthy soil that works for them, but at times we’re stuck dealing with some sort of issue. From too much clay to too many stones, it’s not often we end up with the best soil quality right off the bat.

But in the long run, the success of your vegetable garden is entirely dependent on its soil. This is where gardening often becomes more complicated than we imagined at the beginning.

So how does one go about improving garden soil quality? Most people start by digging up some dirt, adding a little compost, and putting in plants.

Here’s how to improve soil quality naturally:

1. Feed Your Soil an Organic Diet

The best way to improve the soil for vegetables and other plants is to go organic.

The soil has a few basic requirements: water, nutrients, air, and organic matter [1]. Living organisms are crucial to improving soil health and quality.

Put nutrients back into the soil by adding compost, kitchen scraps, banana peels, or manure.

However, to improve clay soil quality, sawdust, peat moss, and composted leaves are other organic amendments you can use. As for heavy, compacted clay, pine bark and gypsum can help improve its structure.

Add the materials to the top few inches of the soil with a hoe, then cover it with mulch. This is also a simple way to make your soil more fertile naturally.

2. Use a Test Kit

When you’re starting your garden, buy a soil test kit and make sure to use it early on.

This will tell you if a vital nutrient is missing, which can help you take action before your garden plants suffer from nutrient deficiency.

Keep in mind that you should use test kits in the fall or early spring for the best results. Once you’ve taken the test, implement the solution in the recommendations section of your test.

3. Pay Attention to Nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of the essential plant nutrients for living plants, as it feeds the microorganisms living in the soil of vegetable gardens and flower beds.

Make sure you’re adding various nitrogen fertilizers each year. Fish emulsion, feather meal, and green grass clippings are natural nitrogen sources.

It’s vital to ensure that adequate nitrogen is added during the fall or spring before any new planting occurs.

4. Recycle Plant Scraps

Another way to replenish nutrients in the soil is to recycle plant scraps in your garden.

When it’s autumn, go outside and collect all of the fallen leaves and scraps from your garden and hedges.

These materials make excellent mulch. And when they’re still green, they provide a fantastic source of nitrogen for your plants.

5. Use Ashes From the Fire Pit

Do you have a wood stove or fire pit? If so, make sure you collect the ashes.

Using ashes from the fire is a great way to improve soil fertility. Additionally, wood ash can help reduce the acidity of overly acidic soil.

If you burn a variety of woods, you’re able to get a range of beneficial elements from the ashes, from potassium to phosphorus to magnesium.

6. Let Wet Soils Drain Slightly Before Planting

Before you try to plant anything, ensure your soil drains slightly. It should be damp but not too wet.

How do you know if it’s dry enough to plant? Grab a handful of garden soil and squeeze. If water drips out or if it easily forms into a ball, it’s too wet.

To dry out the soil so it’s ready for planting, provide it with more ventilation, drainage, or sunlight.

7. Stay on Top of Weeds

Staying on top of weeds can also turn poor soil into healthy soil.

Weeds can use up soil nutrients that your plants need to thrive. Therefore, before and after planting, make sure you get rid of weeds that will otherwise compete with your vegetables.

8. Avoid Digging Unless Absolutely Necessary

If you don’t need to dig, avoid it. This is a simple rule, but it’s often missed. Why should you avoid digging?

In the simplest terms, digging disrupts soil life and can damage soil structure. Additionally, it will disturb any dormant weed seeds lying beneath.

9. Cover Your Soil at All Times

Weeds will cover the soil if you don’t cover it yourself. Take precautionary measures and always keep it covered at all times. Mulch and cover crops are good options to cover your soil.

Organic mulches will enrich poor soil as they decompose. Use grass clippings, hay, wood shavings, and any other crop residues available to you.

Mulches can also help protect the soil in the winter.

10. Keep an Eye on Moisture Levels

Another strategy to improve soil conditions when farming is to avoid letting the soil get too dry.

As you know, plants need water to survive. This is especially true if you’re growing vegetables or fruits. If you don’t get much rain, keep an eye on moisture levels.

Additionally, as mentioned above, make sure you’re feeding your soil an organic diet. Why? The more organic matter, the greater the water-holding capacity of the soil [2].

11. Avoid Walking Too Much in Planting Area

If you have a large, expansive garden or lawn and you’re looking to revitalize the soil structure underneath, make sure you have adequate walking spaces that don’t disrupt it.

Create paths as needed to avoid walking in your plant beds. Walking on the wet soil can compact it. This presses out the oxygen, making it hard for the plants to breathe [3].

12. Keep Examining the Structure

Before you choose a place to plant, try to examine the planting spot.

Take your time to figure out the structure, pH level, and drainage qualities of the planting spot you’ll be using for your garden.

Be aware that various elements can alter the soil texture in different ways. Keep an eye on the wind, rain, sun, and other factors that may damage it.

Focus on adding more organic material to the soil to help hold onto some of its nutrients and make it drain better.

However, keep in mind that the soil is rarely perfect. Any improvements you’re looking to make will take time, effort, and hard work.


Follow the tips above on how to repair damaged soil, or turn “bad soil” into “good soil,” as some people would say. All the suggestions can help improve the soil for crops or your lawn.

It’s a time-consuming, delicate process, but once you follow these tips, you’ll likely be rewarded with healthy, vibrant plants or grass.

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

1 comment

  • Hi, Sasha!

    Thanks for sharing such descriptive information about Soil.

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