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Garden irrigation and soil preparation for beginners

Garden advice
Garden irrigation and soil preparation for beginners
Young plants, just breaking through the soil, being given a refreshing watering.Young plants, just breaking through the soil, being given a refreshing watering.
Garden Supplies
All Green
All Green
August 14, 2019
minute read

Your guide to preparing healthy, fertile garden soil

Living in Australia means a year-round battle for water. Our capital cities are built around freshwater courses for this very reason. If you plan on planting a flourishing garden, you’ll need to get your soil up to scratch first.

Nutrient-rich soil and a strong irrigation system are absolute musts for a stable and healthy garden. They’ll help your precious greens survive scorching heat, frigid cold, and torrential rain—and we all know Melbourne can cycle through all three extremes in a day.

This 5-minute guide will teach you the best practices for garden soil preparation and irrigation.

Once you’re done reading, check out our vast range of premium soils. We’ve got just the right blend for every purpose, from turf sand to veggie garden soil to budget blends and fill soil.

Gardening soil preparation for beginners

Testing, improving and maintaining your soil is an essential first step for any budding gardener. Getting this process right can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

How to test your soil quality before planting your garden

Healthy soil is the first building block of a flourishing garden. Soil feeds plants, provides stability to roots and absorbs excess water. Here’s how to check your soil's health.

  1. Dig a small hole and search for earthworms and other organisms. The more, the healthier your soil is.
  2. Check the compaction and structure of your soil. Round, loose soil allows water and food to move freely.
  3. The vigour and root development of existing plants are good indications of health.
  4. Heavily water your existing plants. If they seem overly thirsty, then your soil may not be healthy.

If your soil is unhealthy, the following methods may help it recover.

How to improve the quality of your garden soil

Different types of soil require different remedies, but this general process will put your garden on track to being healthier and more productive.

  1. Work at least 5-10cm of new organic matter into your soil, and 2.5cm every year after that.
  2. Add garden mulch around your plants to provide moisture, nutrients and temperature control.
  3. Avoid compacting your soil with excessive tilling and walking on garden beds.

Sometimes, particularly poor soil just can't be salvaged. It might be worth digging deep and starting a new foundation.

Adding new soil

If you've got a particular planting regime in mind, you might consider adding a brand new blend of soil to your garden.

  • When paired with quality mulch, premium garden blend soil is a good base for raising garden beds.
  • Lawn mix soil is excellent for natives, ferns, and palms, which require lower nutrient content.
  • Our All Green veggie garden soil, which we make ourselves, contains up to 40% organic matter and is ideal for flowering plants and vegetables.

Now that your soil is up to snuff, let’s talk about irrigation.

Rows of vegetable plants being watered by a spray irrigation system.

The basics of irrigating a garden

The best thing about modern irrigation systems is that you can design your own based on the shape and size of your garden, and provide the appropriate amount of water for your chosen flora.

Depending on what you're planting, you should consider two different methods of irrigation: drip and spray.

Garden drip irrigation

Closeup of a perforation on a drip irrigation pipe.

Drip irrigation is the most efficient type of system on the market. A water line with intermittent perforations is run along a garden bed, allowing for water to gradually drip into the garden. Drip irrigation systems are ideal for flowering garden beds that do not need constant saturation.

Garden spray watering

Closeup of a spray nodule in a garden.

Spray sprinklers are the classic method of watering a garden. Each spray spike covers a greater area than drip irrigation systems. Spray systems use more water than their drip counterparts, ensuring that thirsty plants are well watered at all times.

Useful products

Try plotting your garden on a piece of paper, where one centimetre on paper equals one metre of your garden. Then, measure hose lengths and where joins and components need to be.

Once you've chosen your method of irrigation, you will need a few essential items to get started:

  • Poly fittings like cross and elbow joints direct lines around your garden.
  • Joiners and ratchet clips connect lengths of hose together.
  • Directors connect hoses to other irrigation fittings.
  • Clamps secure lines to stakes, fences and other landmarks around the garden.
  • Risers keep your irrigation lines off the ground, ensuring that taller plants receive water as well.
  • Valves act as regulators, controlling the flow of water with a simple twist.
  • Filters stop the flow of harmful contaminants through your irrigation system.

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