Natural Ways to Enhance Garden Soil for Free

Easy Solutions for Nutrient Rich Soil

 Whoever coined the phrase dirt cheap must not have shopped for garden soil. Garden soil carries a hefty price tag in stores. I never really considered this a problem because I only bought garden soil for small applications. Last year, I decided to purchase garden soil to fill several raised planting beds. I quickly realized this project would be more expensive than anticipated. I purchased top soil for a fraction of the cost, and through necessity and frugality, discovered natural ways to enrich my garden soil for free.

Try these tips to prepare your garden soil for a successful growing season.

Natural Ways to Enrich Garden Soil for Free: Freshwater Aquarium Water

The next time you drain your aquarium, use that water in the garden. It is a natural source of nitrogen and an easy way to conserve water.

Natural Ways to Enrich Garden Soil for Free: Cooking Water

Vegetables release nutrients into the cooking water when you boil or steam them. Allow the cooking water to cool and use it to fertilize your garden soil for free.

Natural Ways to Enrich Garden Soil for Free: Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and ideal for composting. You can also apply them directly to the soil depending on your soil composition. If you are not a brewed coffee drinker, ask for used coffee grounds at Starbucks. They recycle their coffee grounds by offering them to the public. Check out their website for details.

Natural Ways to Enrich Garden Soil for Free: Manure

I noticed some facilities, like the zoo, actually sell manure. However, there are still many sources of free manure as long as you scoop and bag it yourself. Check with local farmers and livestock owners because they usually have plenty to share. In past years, the circus advertised free manure for the taking. Designate an area for it to compost prior to application, otherwise it may kill your plants.

Natural Way to Enrich Garden Soil for Free: Dead Leaves

Fallen leaves break down and enrich the garden soil with organic materials. However, piles of dead leaves may mat together increasing the time required to decompose and possibly suffocating plants. One simple option is to use a lawn mower to chop the leaves into smaller pieces. Some lawn mowers come equipped with a bag to collect these pieces. Sprinkle these leaves around your plants or future garden site. Avoid leaves from the black walnut tree since they can be toxic to other plants.

Natural Ways to Enrich Garden Soil for Free: Grass Clippings

Carbon rich grass clippings decay and improve the soil. Be careful to use only grass clippings free of weeds and toxins. Apply them carefully since they are also prone to matting.

Natural Ways to Enrich Garden Soil for Free: Worms

Aeration keeps garden soil from compacting around plants and improves drainage. Worms provide aeration as they tunnel through the ground and their castings provide an excellent fertilizer. Add decaying organic matter, like leaves and grass clippings, to feed and attract worms.

Naturally rich dirt creates healthier plants without the need for chemical additives. Amend your soil regularly to replenish nutrients used by your plants.