Soil Based gardening
Growing in Soil
This is typically where people have most experience and it is the type of gardening most people are familiar with. If you want your plants healthy, the soil must be healthy too. There are not too many soils out there that are perfect for growing. But it is not hard to get the soil to the condition it should be at to produce as much as possible.
Test the soil. Basic soil tests can tell you whether or not you will need to apply lime or sulfur to adjust the acidity of your soil, and let you know whether your soil is high or low in the essential nutrients plants need most. If you plan to grow edible plants in an urban area (or near a building where lead-based paint chips may have contaminated soil), it’s important to test for contaminants.
Add organic matter. Whether you are trying to get a heavy clay soil to drain better, or light sandy soil to retain water and nutrients, one of the surest ways of improving your soil is to add organic matter. Spread 2 to 4 inches of compost or well-rotted manure, for example, and work it into the soil after you kill the vegetation. Make additional applications as often as you can. Grass clippings, leaves, organic mulches, peat moss, and topsoil are other good sources of organic matter. (Adding sand to clay soil will not make it drain better. When you mix sand and clay with water and then allow the mix to dry, the result closely resembles concrete.)