How to build a lovely garden out of a wasteland – follow the weeds
If you are starting to build a completely new garden, do not make a mistake by immediately pulling out everything that grows and lives there. A thorough survey of the terrain can tell you what type of soil you will be dealing with later.
You still need to adda new and fertile soil, but knowing the right type of soil you have can help you significantly. So, what should you look for when building a new garden?
What will a nettle or a dandelion tell you about the soil?
Take a good plant atlas for the first tour of your new garden. It could be very useful. For example, you can tell that you have an acidic soil if you see buttercup, horsetail, speedwell, or perhaps the wavy hair-grass. These are plants often found near the forest.
On the other hand, if you find field pennycress or clover (especially the white clover) in your garden, you will be dealing with rather alkaline soil, and if you see rumex (dock), dead-nettles, chickweed, or nettle, you know that your soil is high in nitrogen.
But there are other signs you should take into account as well. The soil may be too compacted for example. You can tell if you see many dandelions and broadleaf plantains, sometimes accompanied by silverweed. In that case, be prepared as you willbe spending more time on your new garden – working and cultivating the soil.
Another thing to watch for
Are you wondering if you have lighter or heavier soil in your garden? Well, here is an easy test. Take a fistful of the soil and give it a good squeeze. Heavy soil will remain in a compact lump. With heavy soil you don’t have to worry much about nutrientsbutyouwill have to plough your garden regularly in autumn and work and aerate the soil during summer quite frequently.
Light soil will crumble in your palm. You will not need to aerate the soil much, but be aware that light soil will hardly retain any nutrients or water.
So, if you inspected the soil and found plenty of weed, do not simply eliminate all the weeds. If you manage to cut weeds before it got the chance to flower, you can use it as a base for compost, because it has not yet been contaminated by seeds. But if you find any sick wooden plants,bushes or trees cut them and dispose of them. No mercy.
Preview photo: Pixabay
Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.