Alert
Close

Tell your senator to end the gridlock and renew the Older Americans Act now. Learn more

Introducing RealPad

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

 

 

Contests and
Sweeps

 

 

 

 

Military and Veterans Discount

 

 

 

Popular Articles

Viewed

Gardening How-to

Dirt-Cheap Eats

Enjoy fresh food, fresh air, and a fatter wallet by growing your own vegetables

It's All About the Soil
 
The very best garden investment is a healthy, fertile soil that's the consistency of crumbly chocolate cake. It should be alive with worms, plant-nourishing bacteria, and other tiny microbes that help crops grow. You create soil like that by adding plenty of organic matter; the best and cheapest source is your own compost pile of dried leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Letting it all break down into nature's "black gold" takes time, though. To get your garden started, you'll probably need to buy some organic matter to improve fertility.

 

As soon as the soil is no longer soggy, till under any sod and incorporate a complete organic fertilizer ($5), two 40-pound bags of compost or manure ($15), and, if your soil is acidic, as most tend to be in moist climates, a bit of lime ($3 a bag). Get a simple soil test done through your state's cooperative extension service, or buy one at your garden center. If hand-tilling is too much effort, pay a landscaper a one-time fee to rototill the plot. Keep your beds soft and fluffy by not walking on them. In future years, if you keep the beds weeded, you can fork in compost shallowly and never have to till again.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits HomeServe

Members can protect their homes with comprehensive repair plans from HomeServe.

grocery coupon center member benefit aarp

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by Coupons.com.

Member Benefits Discounts Angie's List

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advertisement

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points